The continuing adventures of a young boy trapped in an adults body.
This episode: Day trip to London!
On Wednesday the 8th, I finally fulfilled plans to hang out with Seanan in London. (We’d originally planned on doing this between her appearances at LonCon3 and FilkCONtinental – but I came down with a cough and cancelled. (I was NOT going to ruin anyone’s FilkCONtinental by making Seanan sick!)
Fortuitously I had managed to get the day off work (which I planned on using to attend her signing at Forbidden Planet) and Seanan wanted to visit a proprietor of Cheese. So we made fluid plans to meet up in London before her signing to explore and hang out.
So I got up early (well earlier than I otherwise would have done) and caught a train down to London from York. Upon arriving I took a couple of minutes to visit the little Waitrose at the station to obtain a little something for Seanan, then I began my descent into the dark labyrinth that is the tube. I queued up to top up my almost empty Oyster Card, and then dived into the dark.
I got to Leicester Square first, there I took time to visit a quiet Costa (Yes, there is indeed a quiet Costa by Leicester Sq. – In a nearby hotel), buy a bottle of drink and use their loo. Then I sat in the sun watching all the crazy that is Leicester Square during full on tourist silliness. I got to watch tourists from around the world take selfies with and near various interpretations of Royal Look a-likes, Spiderman, Yoda and what I think was a Muppet. I saw an insane street performer who’s act was to balance on top of an unsupported ladder, wearing a kilt and jacket – he then proceeded to juggle some very big, very sharp looking knives (They probably weren’t that sharp). Through the course of his performance he ‘accidentally’ sliced off his clothing with the knives to strip down (whilst still juggling, still on top of the ladder!) to a pair of spotty boxer-shorts. It was very entertaining, although I’m not sure the interest shown from a policeman towards the end was intentional.
Just after 1pm I wandered back to Leicester Sq. Tube Station and picked a spot visible from both Northern Line and Piccadilly Line exits, then I started people watching. Only a short time later a Seanan appeared, and we were off.
First on our agenda was food, we were both hungry. We started walking and found a quiet pub just off Leicester Sq. (Quiet? I know, right!) It was a little pricey, but it was quiet and the wait time for food wasn’t too bad. This pub had a ‘Pumpkin & Thyme’ Burger on its menu, this just sounded wrong on every level – So Fish and Chips were ordered instead.
After discussing Pokémon and eating, we walked around London. We wandered from Leicester Square to Covent Garden to Trafalgar Square to Oxford Circus to Leicester Square to Covent Garden and then to Forbidden Planet on Shaftsbury Avenue. That Seanan sure can WALK!
In the course of this migration, we discovered a Comic shop, various retailers of Cheese (but not good enough to be cream of the crop),A specialist bookshop with a snooty unhelpful employee, The worlds smallest Disney Store (apparently that honour goes to the Covent Garden branch), A pattiserie that as well as some scrumptious looking cakes does a really nice Lemon Cheesecake and Lemon Sorbet and finally Seanan’s favourite London Cheese Shop.
At Forbidden Planet we made sure that someone knew Seanan was there, then we shopped. (It was around this point that I developed book induced tunnel vision) I lost track of time filling a basket full of various books that just ‘wanted’ to come home with me. Shortly after 6pm I realised I had lost track of time and made my way to the signing area where Seanan was in full Author Mode. Here I got to meet (again, we first met at Eastercon) and actually chat and get to know Emily and Anna. Finally after the signing was done, the four of us made a bee-line for an Italian place that served ‘Seanan Approved’ Spaghetti. The food was excellent, the company was better, but eventually we had to part ways.
We said our goodbyes and parted, I made my way back to Kings Cross for my train home back to York and left London behind me once again.
Never to return ever again… (That’s an obvious lie, I’m going back to Forbidden Planet in a couple of weeks to attend the signing of Peter Newman’s The Vagrant!)