Visiting the home of the enemy!

As we know football is a very important game and in London we have several major rival teams. Mine is Tottenham, known as the Spurs and their rivals are Arsenal, known as the Gunners (when we are being polite). The grounds are close together but I’ve never been to Arsenal’s, neither their old ground nor their new one called the Emirates thanks to the power of sponsorship. So, when Visit London said they were holding a business seminar there I jumped at the chance and must admit that it’s a very impressive stadium. It did feel odd being in the home of the enemy and luckily the photo is too small to see that they have all of their achievements inscribed on the second tier hoarding and they do have rather a lot of cups and championships.

We are still beset by rain but it is not constant and I went to the South Bank to meet a colleague in the wonderful British Film Institute (BFI) cafe. I love film and walking around there you just want to spend the rest of your life in the cinema catching up on old films. It was a beautiful day and the river Thames was at its best so here’s a photo showing the river, the boats, St Pauls, Tower 42 and the ‘Gherkin’ and the classic double decker red bus on the bridge.
While on the South Bank, I popped into the Royal Festival Hall to get a sneak preview of the Press Photographers exhibition which was showing wonderful, haunting photographs of some of this year’s dreadful events. Faces stare back in suffering and again many from Afghanistan but also from the Chinese earthquakes and Kenya. I think I’ll go back as they had not finished displaying them all and these images deserve my full attention.
London is great for shopping and a visiting friend had 2 requests – ballet tights for men and a tartan beret with a built in ginger wig – well of course! He’s in a play is his excuse and he’s sticking to it. No problem in London, so we found a ballet shop near Baker Street who had a good selection of manly tights and then we headed off to Portobello Market. The Scottish hat was more of a challenge but a party shop delivered and I was very tempted by the full length blonde Abba wig but just held out. Portobello was buzzing as always and although I live very nearby, I never tire of it as it’s so full of life.
It was the last Bookslam event of the year at the Tabernacle with Lionel Shriver, author of ‘We need to talk about Kevin fame’, Paul Lyalls a performance poet, Robin Ince was comparing, and music came from the Great West Singers and Andreya Triana. Paul was the star for us – funny, entertaining and great poetry.
Restaurant and bar update: I went back to the Oak which houses my new favourite local bar and this time managed to get into the restaurant. They don’t take bookings so we chanced it on a Monday as it’s a bit hit and miss later in the week but the food was wonderful and I’ll be back. I think I missed out mentioning a neighbour of the Oak, a Mexican restaurant called Crazy Homies which serves proper Mexican food surrounded by Mexican artifacts, so skeletons and pinatas everywhere, in a lively fun atmosphere. It’s run by Tom Conran who has a few places in the area, all of good quality. A return visit to Albertines wine bar in Shepherds Bush was as cosy as ever on a rainy evening.
The next blog will be in December so watch out for tales and photos of Christmas lights as there are some good ones around already!
Bye for now,
Sue Hillman

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