After our Day That Almost Was, we managed to reschedule the two experiences that never happened and on Friday we headed off to London once again in search of thrills and excitement! First stop was Blackfriars station for the start of a Shakespeare in the City tour, this time with plenty of time to spare... enough spare time to sneak in a little coffee and pastry too as it happens!
We were the only two people booked on the tour, but our initial reservations that it could be a bit awkward were soon dispelled once our knowledgeable guide Declan took us off on our own personal guided walk around the City streets. We visited little known alleys and squares, hidden churches and the sites of two of Shakespeare's houses as well as the Blackfriars Theatre, discovering more about the man and his writing. Declan, a former actor, also treated us to excerpts from some of Shakespeare's speeches which brought the tour alive. Despite the increasingly persistent rain the time passed quickly as were kept entertained and informed. I can appreciate that these type of tours are probably aimed at foreign tourists but as a Londoner I found it a fascinating way to learn more about my home city and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
By the end of the tour we were cold, damp and ready for lunch, so on Declan's recommendation we headed back to The Blackfriar pub, a small, wedge shaped Art Nouveau building that stands on the site of a Dominican friary. Outside the building is adorned with mosaics and metalwork signs.
We ventured in from the almost deserted streets to find the pub packed full with people, no surprise really considering the fabulous atmosphere, friendly service and amazing decor of mosaic, sculpture and light hearted reliefs designed by several artists including Henry Poole, a committed member of the Arts and Crafts movement.
And what's more the lunch was to be recommended too!
Eventually we had to leave the warm convivial atmosphere and venture back out into London's rain soaked streets, where not only was the rain getting heavier but the wind was picking up too! Next stop was Embankment pier... for a high speed Thames RIB experience.
When we were last booked on this, on a clear bright afternoon, it was cancelled the previous day as there were only two of us booked. On Friday, however, in the most appalling weather conditions the tour went ahead with... you've guessed it, only two of us booked. But we are hardy souls so duly got kitted up in the heavy duty waterproofs that were provided.
And then it was all aboard our RIB. Should I have been worried about the name of the boat?
The trip started sedately enough with a tour of riverside sights as we headed first of all up past Parliament and then downstream but once we were beyond Tower Bridge, the engine was revved up and we were treated to a thrilling high speed ride around the docklands area to the accompaniment of Don't Stop Me Now... travelling at the speed of light! (Might be a slight exaggeration!)
We got absolutely soaked, shaken up and rattled about but it was brilliant fun and I loved it!
Aterwards, in search of some warmth we quickly got out of the rain and spent an hour or so wandering around the National Portrait Gallery enjoying the portraits while we dried off before heading home. So our day that never happened, did happen after all and I've ticked off another couple of sixty by sixty experiences, although with still ten more to go before July I think I'm running out of time. All suggestions for cheap new experiences are most welcome!
The rest of the weekend so far has been low key and quiet but with regular top ups of chocolate.
I hope your Easter weekend has been good too.