After our uplifting experiences we headed off into the long weekend traffic to Sandhurst and traffic it was, with blockages every few miles , flowing then stalling, double lanes then single lanes, totally crazy system of A roads and when we got close to Stonehenge…stalled but we got through the it and arrived at St Anne’s Manor Wokingham at the same time as Mitch was dropping off Beth & Drew. It was great to see them and congratulate them on their Engagement.
Tonight was Ice Hockey night at the Bracknell Ice rink with all the Steads and where Will & Harvey were playing against each other in a charity match so it was not a full on heavy hitting match up, they had a bit of fun egging each other especially when Will scored the first goal against Harvey’s defence.
The game is so fast paced and such high skilled it was a great experience to be part of. Dinner out with Mitch and girls and boys at the Loch Fyfe an up market pub was delicious and great to catch up on everything.
Sunday was garden party day but before we prepared for party mode we went into Wokingham to the Ship inn for Drew to experience a traditional English Pub meal and as soon as he walked in the first door was a good 6 inches short as was the next and the next. Lunch was good fun and then with intermittent rain outside the garden part of the party was looking dubious.
But as unpredictable as English weather can be the sun came out and off to the party we went.
We met at Janet’s place and walked around to Matt & Deb’s to a lovely garden setting under gazebos out the back and as the guests filled in the garden filled up to a very atmospheric Occasion where the pig on the spit provided plenty of interest and filled many a tummy.
The weather behaved well and new friends were made before the Mr & Mrs balloons were tied together and let go to the heavens in celebration of the Union of Amy & Tim.
The next morning, Beth & Drew were off early to Paris and our day was spent out in the countryside at a park which was lovely being part of what the locals did on the holiday long weekend before enjoying a lovely dinner at Janet’s with Amy, Tim, Deb, Matt , Mitch & Melissa.
Off on the train from Reading to Paddington station and a cab to the Trafalgar Hilton hotel and once checked in we met up with Amy & Tim for a scrumptious lunch at a very fancy Indian restaurant, Zaika in Kensington followed by a stroll to the Albert Hall before wishing them well on their way for a fabulous Honeymoon.
We wandered on through the back streets to Harrods where John bought a tie for our night at The Ritz coming up,but tonight was a night at the Proms at The Royal Albert hall, another wish realised and it did not disappoint with an fantastic 110 strong Symphony Youth Orchestra doing an amazing Bruckner symphony job that was both uplifting and intriguing for us novices.
It was the Houses of Parliament next and once through security it was into the grand hall and grand it was indeed being over 900 years old and in constant use as a court, coronation and sentencing place as well as where monarchs are placed for mourning before burial. This led into the St Stephens hall and onto the House of Lords and House of Commons with all the chambers along the sides . Such a small place it’s no wonder they need an upgrade but amazing a nd full of fascination at every turn.
After exploring we ended up at the reconstructed Globe theatre and walked over the millennium bridge to St Pauls cathedral and then onto the embankment back to charring cross and Trafalgar Square.
That night we ate up on the roof of our hotel at a funky bar with great views.
Buckingham palace next and despite some stupidity re ticketing printing issues we found someone who was prepared to help us out and we got through the mews where we saw Manly Boy Jim Frecklightons amazing Royal carriages and then onto the amazing Palace itself which certainly ranks up there with the best we have seen and as it is still a working Palace it was all the more interesting and full of both past and current history ( no photos allowed )
we had booked into a 90 min massage up near the British museum so after the massage we grabbed a nice French lunch near Russell Square and then spent a couple of hours in the museum mainly in the Assyrian , Egyptian and medieval sections before heading back to get ready for putting on the Ritz..
Despite thinking John could get away with my walking shoes and fancy jeans he was rejected at the Ritz and had to go to the cloakroom to borrow trousers and shoes ha ha and then was allowed to the enter the Palm Court where Ann was enjoying watching the passing parade of guests of the hotel, from the table for High tea ( at 7.30pm ) .
It was a fabulous experience with beautiful sandwiches ,scones and cakes together with copious quantities of tea and a few champagnes as well.
The chamber orchestra and baritone really added to the atmosphere so it was an experience well worth having, and one to tick off Ann’s bucket list. We strolled through the Mayfair/St James district back to the hotel and packed for our next adventure..Paris .