Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire

Christmas has well and truly begun!! Saturday I went on a brief but interesting sortie into Folkestone via the High Speed link.

Now, overall, the outward journey was only a few minutes shorter than going via the main line as I had to take a half hour journey on the DLR to Stratford Regional and allowed myself some extra time because I didn't know what to expect. It was actually really rather easy, getting off the DLR and then heading through the well signposted subway to Platform 11. Walk to the end of that and you find a bus (where tickets can be purchased for the Southeastern High Speed services). This whisks you to Stratford International (there's no pedestrian access at the moment!). There was only two of us on the bus which was also a bonus!

Stratford International puts me in mind of some of the newer TGV stations like Valence. It's big, modern and lacking charm. Not in an awful way, it is just a means to an end after all.

The train arrived, looking all sparkly and new and FAST, and upon boarding I found there was plenty of space and leg room (something I was NOT expecting). The journey was smooth, fast and the conductor was nice.

Kent was covered in snow! After moaning for so long about having no snow I was very happy to see it, even if it was at a high speed blur!

Arriving in Folkestone felt like coming home. Nothing better and I grabbed a taxi outside Folkestone Central and headed to the East Cliff Pavilion for Three Valley Waters Christmas do. Saw loads of old faces, felt more comfortable than last time and Stacey Lady was there which is, as ever, the best thing about TVW dos. Mere hours later I got a taxi back to Folkestone Central and headed back to Greenwich. Now without my added extra time for safety's sack the journey is a good 20-30 minutes shorter on the way back than it would be on the main line. Getting home I settled in at the pub for a cheeky midnight pint with Jim before sleep.

Sunday. Jim went to see his children which left me at a loss as to what to do. Hmm... Christmas. Jae is alone. Time for... Christmas movie day! I watched A Nightmare Before Christmas, Home Alone 2, Gremlins and Miracle on 34th Street. All very Christmassy and it was a very nice lazy day.

Monday... work. Yuck! But things brightened up at 4.40pm when there was an unexpected snow shower. Not just a little one either. By 5pm it was time to go home and I got to trudge (I repeat... TRUDGE, don't you love that word Dear Constant Reader?) through the snow to the tube station. All was going swimmingly until I arrived at Cannon Street. The station was closed and a huge crowd was gathered outside being marshalled around from the road by police. I made an executive decision and returned to the tube and made my way to the DLR at Bank. Here was crowded too (as not everyone is London is a total idiot) but there were two Lewisham trains due, a minute apart. I knew what that meant.

I settled down and watched the ensuring fights and squeezing that occurred when the first train arrived. Then once it had been departed I strolled up to the platform edge (behind the yellow line of course) and lo and behold the second train arrived and I sauntered on in comfort and calm, confident that the train in front would keep on clearing the platforms at every station ahead allowing me a no hassle journey home. Bliss.

Got off the train and headed straight for the local for twas the night of Christmas caroling! Whilst the Christmas Carolers when off around the Triangle (as we call the area here in Greenwich) demanding money with menances and threats of singing, the remaining men of the pub gathered around an open fire, roasting chestnuts and doing those oh so stereotypical "men around a fire" things. the Carolers returned and more songs were sung (not by me for both ideological and concerns for other people's ears reasons) before we had a dinner of jacket potato, beans and sausages from the BBQ round the back. Snow made the scenes even more Christmassy. There was a quiz but as Jim had written it, we didn't take part and then most of the Carolers left... except one. Oh, she was a little worse for wear and after telling Denis how hot and sexy he was she then decided Jim and I didn't look gay, began matching up other men in the pub who weren't gay and then went back to telling Denis how hot and sexy he was. Repeat for two hours. Hilarious!

A very good night indeed ended with a brief early morning snowball fight. Perfect.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:45 pm

    Ah, London, isn't it wonderful? so civilized, so sophisticated...and it is always cloudy and rainy...cold even in summer...at least it is for me, and I am a tropical boy.
    good story...it brings memories. All in all, if it was up to me, I would live half of the time in London and the other half in Paris. (I am not a total Anglophile) I do love the French and the language.