london diaries – week three

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December 27, 2012 by leighnewlands

Gee, it feels like forever since I last wrote here, however, it’s only been a week – let’s not get dramatic.

FRIDAY: Where I ended off, we went open air ice-skating at South Kensington. We were accompanied by literally a whole school of children that evening all ready to skate with us in that session. Fortunately, as soon as they touched the ice, realised they couldn’t skate and all had to move into the mini ice rink. YES MAN! Regardless of them being in a seperate rink, there were so many people falling left, right and centre and the worst fear you can have is someone (if not yourself) falling and another riding over your fingers therefore potentially slicing them off.



Besides the minions falling, there was a very cute moment where a man proposed to his girlfriend on the ice – he got down on one knee and all. It was really so beautiful. Did cause a bit of traffic though as everyone was moving in a fast circular motion when suddenly these two people stopped right in the middle of it all. But who were we to ruin that happy moment. I realised after this session, my part-time job to public relations will be an ice-skating official. It’s the coolest thing, just being on the ice all day, gliding.


SATURDAY: The worst thing you can do, to try and shop the weekend before christmas. We thought it would be pretty simple however, knowing exactly where we needed to go and what to get. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. We tried to hunt down a South African shop supposedly in Covent Garden – it was Australian. So we moved onto the Marks & Spencer down the road to get our next present, wine glasses and 4x christmas cards – sounds easy, right? Completely the opposite. This M&S was pathetic. Not big enough and too many people scrambling around to buy christmas turkeys! Left that shop empty handed – actually left Covent Garden completely empty handed. Went all the way to Oxford Street to the mega M&S where we had a guarantee of getting what we needed. We managed to get it all there but when we tried to find our way back to the entrance of the tube station, it was non-existant. We walked in circles until we found a map and realised the station entrance had been in front of us all along. Oxford Street being the crème de la crème shopping streets, EVERYONE was there.


Last stop, London Brdige tube station where apparently there was a SA shop in hiding. First went to Nandos however as neither of us had eaten today and it was already 3:30pm. We thought we’d try it out, see if it’s any good compared to back home and give us a sense of home in general. Well, discovered we have to sit down, decide what we want to eat then go up to the till and order it then go sit down and they’ll bring it to you – which is fine, until the cashier gave me two empty glasses to take back with me. empty. I didn’t want to sound like a fool so i subtly just confirmed with her that i’m taking these glasses with me. She nodded and said “next”. So i walked back to my table with a till slip and two empty glasses. Only once I went to the bathroom did I discover that of a soda machine – a ‘help yourself’ system. Still wondering if it’s bottomless or not cause no one seemed to be monitoring how much you have.6

We then proceeded to London Bridge, found the SA shop and our eyes just lit up. The goodies we were buying from the shop were for our family down in the counrtyside where we were going to spend christmas. Thought they could do with some SA nom noms for christmas. So we bought some biltong, Mrs. Balls chutney and a 6-pack of Castle Lager. As we were about to pay however, the guy behind the counter decided to ask for ID – I looked at him, was honoured he thought I was younger than 18 but also pissed off because i don’t have an ID with me! The only form of ID was my passport and I don’t carry it around with me in case, heaven forbid, it was to be lost or stolen – I’d never make it back home then!


So off we go home, still nothing from the SA shop. Get inside, grab my passport and go back on my own mission to this shop, racing against the time before they close, showed them that I am in fact 21 and get the goodies. Conclusion: A day that was all planned out became the worst planned day EVER.

SUNDAY: Candi and Wayne left for Wayne’s Dad in Birmingham. Chloe and I went to Spitalfields market which is basically just LOVE. Everything you could want and more. We then decided as it was Chloe’s last day in London, we’d go and do the tourist photos before she heads home. Unfortunately, due to the annoying short days and darkness at 4pm, we were again, rushing against the clock. Stopped off at Gourmet Burger first for some nom nom avo and bacon burgers and coca-colas. Very similar to that of Hudsons back home. We then went to Tower Bridge, with the light fading away in the background, we managed to get pretty cool pics with the bridge being lit up at night, Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and the iconic telephone booths.


 Westfields in the evening which is a big mall like Canal Walk, to watch the movie Pitch Perfect. They have the standard popcorn and coke deals but then also on offer are hot dogs, pick and mix sweets and even alcohol to take into the movie house. cray cray! OH, but the price of a movie here – WOWZERS. It’s £11 so IF you were to convert it, back home it’s about R150 for one movie ticket, excluding the nom noms. AND then if you want to sit more in the middle and higher up, you pay an extra £2 known as VIP seats but back home, it’s just the general movie house seats you pay one price for.


MONDAY: Headed into work for a half day, like I was supposed to only to discover that there were 3 people in the whole office and it was silly of me to come in on christmas eve so was sent home.

Not complaining! Got my sister up and we went of to see the Emirates stadium in Arsenal. This was the closest soccer stadium to us and was amazing and beautiful – just so unreal to always see it on TV and once there, you just got a feel of the vibe that goes on around there. Took the necessary photos as one does and headed back home where we had to pack as we were heading to the countryside for christmas. Our train was at 3:18 so we made a dash for Paddington station where everyone was there with their wheely bags, going away for christmas. We hoped onto the Grand Western train, plugged in our ipods and enjoyed an hour of watching the UK countryside pass us by.


Finally we arrived at Newbury train station where my Uncle and cousin greeted us and took us home. They live in a little village known as Ramsbury in Wiltshire. It was so beautiful and quiet. We arrived to our other cousin and my aunt.


TUESDAY: We spent christmas taking their dog, Amy, for a walk where we got to see the greenery and quiet town. It was such a nice change from the bustling town of London. It was just as cold if not colder though and the weather didn’t play nice later on with rain coming down.

Still, we awoke to salmon and cream cheese on toast, coffee and opening of presents then the big turkey lunch/dinner and a well needed nap later on. It was simple but perfect. I did however miss my family back home very much!


WEDNESDAY: Headed back to London and in particular, Heathrow Airport. This airport is faaar too big. you have to drive to get to different terminals. EISH! No trains or tubes were running that day as they decided that it would be the perfect day to go on strike so after we dropped my sister off at Heathrow, I had to sit and wait for the Picadilly Line which was arriving every 20 minutes instead of every 2 minutes now. Got on and because there were so few tubes running, each carriage was PACKED. so packed that I missed my stop to get off and ended up walking, in the dark, with my luggage, getting on and off buses, trying to find my way home. 3 hours later, I managed. The rest of the evening, I had KFC and tea to keep me company as Candi was still away in Birmingham. I fell asleep in an empty flat with the christmas lights keeping me safe. 




THURSDAY: Back to work with a whole 5 people in today. I’m going to see if I can sneak off a little early and make use of the boxing day sales that begun yesterday. Going to tackle Oxford Street most porbably. Looking for a nice, short, navy blue coat, plain silver ring and possibly an ipad mini. possibly.

And i’ve just been informed my sister has arrived safely in SA but has managed to drop her phone in the toilet at the airport. That has made me laugh. Shame, but really.



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