Thursday, 17 September 2009

A visit to the South Bank / NFT / RFH

My mother in law, tot and myself went into town today to have lunch with the hubby and walk around the South Bank which is one of my favourite parts of London.
We took the train into Cannon Street where some lovely railway men helped us take the push chair into a lift, even pressed the button for us and when we got out told us the trolley friendly way to go. So nice, so unexpected.
Walking down Thames Path, we passed a cafe where to my great surprise I saw an old colleague who I last saw 8 years ago. The remarkable thing is he lives in Edinburgh and was just down for the day on business. What are the odds? So we had a quick chat before having to rush off to meet hubby under the one wibbly wobbly Millennium bridge.
We had a nice lunch in the Salvation Army cafe just by the bridge where the food is not cordon bleu but edible and in a great open space. This is the first time I've gone in to meet hubby for lunch and it was such a enjoyable experience that I think I'll do it again.
He then had to go back to the office and we three girls continued our tour of the South Bank. Crossed the bridge, went "Oooo" at the view, took pictures then ambled into the Tate Modern. I was a bit cross at the all the young folk waiting at the lifts and kept muttering rather loudly that the lazy sods should take the stairs. I love the turbine hall and with great excitement took my MIL there. Only it's empty as there is an exhibition under construction. As we didn't fancy taking tot around the galleries we made our way to my ultimate fave place - the NFT passing Gabriel's Wharft and the National Theatre which is currently decked out in lurid orange.

I love the NFT. That isn't an statement in the style of Americans who seem to lurve everything but a truly expressed emotion for a wonderful place which is dear to my heart and holds many memories for me. I enjoy seeing films here as there are no adverts, no food and no rude buggers talking the whole way through. It means more to me as it's the first place I saw hubby face to face. We met on the Internet and after a few months agreed to meet there as we both enjoy film. That night we watched the terrifying, disturbing performance by Robert Mitchum in "The Night of the Hunter".
Currently, there is season of Japanese Oshima films on but I've either missed "In the Realm of the Senses" or they aren't showing it. It's a very sexually explicit film and changed the way I viewed eggs forever. I have never managed to watch it to the end as it horrified me. Japanese films have a real power to horrify - if you don't believe me just watch Audition or the original Ring. I would prefer to wait for Kamui, a ninja story, which is part of the London Film Festival - World Cinema offering.
I was a bit sad the benches at the front of the cafe have been replaced by tables. Those benches encouraged conversation with strangers and I have spent many a pleasant time there sipping beer whilst watching people browse the book stalls that are always in front. Today, I decided to forgive Louis de Bernieres for 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' and bought his 'A Partisan's Daughter'.

We then proceeded to Royal Festival Hall and the South Bank Centre. The central bar at the Centre seems to be a haven for mothers as I saw many there including one breastfeeding (yippee for public breastfeeding). We met another baby called many Charlies in the world.
The day ended with a stroll across Hungerford Bridge into Charing Cross and a train journey/bus ride back to the Common. My tot's squealed in delight the whole day whenever she spotted a train and was in 7th heaven on the journeys both to and from old London town.


Anonymous said...

I love outings in London. I know that sounds a bit random as technically I do live and work in London but it is still so rare for me to get time to potter about like a tourist. We drove through London the other night on the way back from a weekend and although we sat in traffic for ever I was all excited at seeing my favourite London landmarks! Sad. but true!
My favourite thing in the entire world is open top bus tours. I drag my husband on them whatever city we are in that has them!
It's Open House weekend this weekend so I think we are going to go and have a nosey...Also more locally I think Severndroog Castle opens up for Open House weekend.

Plummy Mummy said...

We got excited about going to Eltham Palace but I don't think the actual house is open at the weekend, just the ruins.
On buses, I am always tempted to sing "The Wheels on the Bus" loudly. I could be seen as a nutter