This weekend, Frank and I went to London, primarily to see Ron Pope on Saturday night, but also to have a walk round and see all the touristy places as he’d never really been to London before.
I’d booked a hotel in Kenton, mainly because it was cheap (£64 for two of us for two nights). When we went to check-in, he couldn’t find any record of our booking, and eventually found out that the booking had been declined because apparently my card was invalid. Pretty weird, as I’d received a successful booking email, and also an email 3 days before our stay to say they were looking forward to seeing us. There was a big wedding in the hotel that weekend, so we were really lucky to get the last room available. Luckily for us, it was a premium room and we were upgraded free of charge, although I’m not sure exactly what made it premium. You get what you pay for I suppose, and it was nothing special. I’d probably stay there again though, it was only half a mile from the tube station which made it very convenient.
Frank’s first trip on the tube turned out to be quite entertaining too. We were waiting at the tube station for a tube that was due in 3 minutes, and two dogs came hurtling down the stairs and ran straight onto the track. Thankfully, the station staff managed to stop the tubes in both directions so the dogs didn’t get mowed down, but although they managed to get one dog off the line, the other just settled down under the front of one of the trains and made no signs of moving. After about half an hour, someone obviously made the decision that the tubes couldn’t stay there forever, so the one that we needed to be on edged really slowly past the dog, which just laid there totally oblivious. Unfortunately, because of this delay, we only got to spend about half an hour at the Imperial War Museum.
Saturday night was Ron Pope at The Garage (Upstairs) near Highbury and Islington tube station. It was a great venue, and we got there early enough to get right to the front of the stage. Unfortunately they had bag checks at this venue, so we lost all the food and drink that we had been carrying round London and saving for our dinner after the gig.
The gig was opened by Caggie Dunlop. I was unsure at the start of the first song as she seemed really nervous, but she soon picked it up and she was really good. She did a fantastic cover of Do it Like a Dude by Jessie J, and also sang some songs that she had written herself – there was a really good one called You Changed the Rules. I googled her after the gig to see if she had a CD, but all I found out was that she is on the reality TV show called Made in Chelsea.
Ron Pope was awesome!! He sang most of my favourite songs, and he seemed genuinely surprised when people knew all the words and were singing along. He got up from his piano during A Drop in the Ocean just to listen to us sing the song at him, and said that’s the first time he’s ever had a crowd sing along as loud. He was also really surprised that people knew about his band (The District), and joked that he should have come to the UK earlier (I totally agree)!
The only bad thing about that gig was that it was a 14+ gig, so there were a lot of screaming teenagers, including one that started crying when he came out on stage. Frank was also a little bit concerned by the teenagers, there was one girl that was stood really close in front of him, and kept moving further and further back until he was pressed into the wall as far as he could, he couldn’t wait to get out of there!
On Sunday morning, Frank wanted to go visit Horse Guards Parade and see the changing of the guard, which was actually quite cool. The horses are HUGE, but we learnt from the museum that they are all specially bred on a farm in Ireland. After horse guards, we walked through the park down to Buckingham Palace, and were lucky enough to see the guards marching from the palace down the Mall to Horse Guards.
On Monday after we checked out of the hotel, we drove 15 minutes to the RAF Museum in Hendon. It was free to get in, and free to park due to a technical fault. It was a huge museum, with a lot of planes to see, and lots of interesting information. They had a cinema room where we watched a film about Air Traffic Control, and also a 3D film about the Eurofighter Typhoon (including some pretty cool onboard shots)! After we had finished looking round here, it was a long drive home, with Frank sleeping most of the way – I think the huge ice cream sundae at Little Chef must have tired him out!
I think we would like to go to London again later this year and spend more time in the Imperial War Museum, and walk around some of the places we didn’t get to see, like the Natural History Museum. We picked a bad weekend to go as it was the end of half term, but it was still a great weekend!