Thursday, 23 August 2012

A day out

On Tuesday The Gardener took me to the nearest town blessed with a station, where I took a train and went to London for the day. Thank goodness for a Seniors' Railcard - a rare advantage of getting older - which made this almost affordable.

I met up with the Lovely Son, who is going away for 5 weeks, and whose birthday I will miss. He is growing a beard and moustache. A triumph of hope over experience, we agreed; he says it will soon turn gingery, and will have to be shaved off. Not being a natural beardie, he seemed rather pleased with himself for having got this far, as well as resigned to its likely short-livedness.

He was also very pleased with his early birthday present, a small digital camera (Panasonic Lumix for those who are interested) and we sat outdoors in the muggy air for a while while he played with it. I took cheesy touristy snapshots.

The pigeon controller was there, looking fierce.

And his own controller, a cheerful-looking man with a big gauntlet and a bag of titbits, dealing patiently with tourists asking questions, while his sharp-eyed charge observed us all. There were no pigeons in sight.

Then we braved the furnace Tube and travelled to the South Bank. More snapshots.

We didn't do much; we wanted to spend time together, rather than visit galleries or exhibitions, and time was short.

We did visit here (no not just the cafe!), becoming embroiled in some interactive art (I think that was what it was; yes, I know I'm a Philistine) that seemed to be a horde of people walking - then running - up and down the vast space with an unusual air of determination, some of them peeling off from the group to talk intently to members of the public before rejoining the group without warning. We obliged, listening and er... interacting. They continued their walking/running, then sat, talked, sang; we came away none the wiser.

We wandered around, giving the Munch exhibition a miss (too little time, too expensive) and the LS took photos. The birthday present seems to have been a success.

We drank tea in the cafe, and I looked longingly at other people's very appealing lunches. But The Lovely Son was intent on introducing me to real Mexican food, as opposed to the rather poor Tex-Mex stuff that had so underwhelmed me years ago. 

And so we ambled along to the latest Wahaca, a colourful temporary structure built from containers, staffed by whizzy, cheerful, efficient young people, and ordered a light lunch.

Which kept on coming.

And coming.

Note: IMO, cactus looks and tastes much like courgette. Not interesting except as a first-time experience. 

Everything else was delicious, and redressed the problem of my anti-Mex-food sentiments very nicely.

And eventually, full to the gunwhales, we managed to stagger away and walk again in the now-freshening air, taking yet more touristy snapshots, before braving the Tube, having another pot of tea, and reaching the 5 pm train in good time.

The Lovely Son and I parted yet again. How many times in his life have I said goodbye/travel safely/stay in touch to him before he set off abroad? Too many to count.

I sat in the quiet comfortable train for two hours, finishing the Kindle book I was reading with great enjoyment, and ignored my blistered toes, oddly-striped from where my sandals had leached dye into my feet.

The Gardener was waiting on the platform, smiling, to take me home, and I was pleased to get there, 12.5 hours after leaving the cottage in the morning.

It will take the Lovely Son less time to fly to Mexico City on Friday to spend some weeks with girlfriend and family, a joyous event that I hope will be fully documented by his birthday camera, and relayed home to his vicarious-traveller mother. He can practise his Spanish, which seems to consist chiefly of menu-related nouns, and he can make critical decisions about that beard. Goodbye, Lovely Son-about-to-turn-41, travel safely, and stay in touch.


Desiree said...

A lovely day out, and how nice to have someone waiting for you at home!

Lucille said...

Ah yes the repeated farewells, so much a feature of parenting grown up children. I approve of your choice of camera. I've never seen that pigeon controller before. I will make a point of looking for him and Wahaca next time I'm up there.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful day out with the Lovely Son (what is it with these boys, my LS is sporting a beard too!) I wish I could have been there to share that fabulous meal (but I would have passed on the "art"). We do things the other way round - it is the LS who waves us off to far-flung destinations!!

judy in ky said...

I'm glad you had the Gardener to meet you, after you had to say goodbye to the Lovely Son.
By the way, I love my little Panasonic Lumix

Arthur Ransome said...

Thanks for this trip round London. I used to be there round about this time every year so it was lovely to see it with you. That view of St. Paul's from the south bank is very familiar to me. I heard all about the Tate Modern interactive thingy on Front Row weeks ago. It was interesting to hear what you thought of it. I hope that LS sends you lots of photos.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

A working vocabulary of food related nouns will enable LS to sail through his trip to Mexico . And that dashing beard is guaranteed to win over all Girlfriend's female relations !

Dartford Warbler said...

What a special day out with your son. Your London photos seem very uncrowded, compared with the tourist filled London of the summers when I was there.

We wondered about a trip up to see the Munch Exhibition.....

I can imagine the relief in arriving home to meet The Gardener and picking up your new life again.

Hope Lovely Son enjoys his travels, and his new camera!

Noelle the dreamer said...

It is never easy to say to loved ones:'Goodbye/Farewell/God speed etc...As Mums, it gets harder as we grow older! Daughter just turned 35 and not being together was sad!
If LS is as handy as his Mum with a camera, we can expect some good shots from M?
I could imagine your sigh when you were met at the station! Home becomes a real haven after traveling 12.5 hours, right?
Hugs to Flossie!

Jen said...

What a lovely day with your son! I think the camera was a great gift.

annie hoff said...

A perfect day - apart from the cactus maybe?! What lovely post. I enjoyed your day and I love that part of London - and your son's camera, and your pictures too. I hate saying goodbye to children, no matter how old they are, but how comforting to go home to the gardener.

gilliecoco said...

How funny! We were probably sitting next to each other at WAHACA! I was there too enjoying practically the same food as you two except I had the Churros and chocolate for pud that were just out of this world. The Southbank was buzzing that day - a really lovely atmosphere and a fab place to spend time with Lovely Son.

the veg artist said...

I'm thinking about a trip to London in the autumn, but lethargy is creeping in after such a miserable summer. Nice that you can do it in a day, even if it was only for a few hours.
LS will be back before you know it. Make a cake anyway!

Lucille said...

Oh yes and the elder Lovely Son has a beard too. The Eddie Izzard sort!

mountainear said...

We've done a fair bit of 'Goodbye, travel safely, go carefully, see you when you get back.' Goes with motherhood/parenthood perhaps.

The camera is a great present - I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to help you see what he is up to - perhaps the g.f. Could be persuaded to turn it on him once or twice?

Toffeeapple said...

London eh? You were brave. Good to know that you saw your son before his trip.

Annie (Lady M) x said...

That looks like a great day out, and there are some marvellous pictures. Blimey, I didn't think your lovely son was 41, he looks much younger!

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