Empty Car Park

Our night is planned we are spending it with Michael Palin.  I’d love to tell you it is just Lyn, Micheal and myself enjoying a meal at the German Gymnasium, but I’d be lying AND dreaming. Fact is 1,152 other people would’ve joining us, and German Gymnasium turned down that reservation…

But it is still date night and the evening before we plan on getting the 11.26 train from West Malling into London, visit a couple of museums, their bookshops, other bookshops, the British Library and an, as yet unknown amount of coffee shops through out the day.

‘That car park looks empty.’ I surmise correctly and at exactly the same time Lyn spots the sign. 

There are no trains today. Yet another TFL train strike and once again I am targeted. This claim is valid. In the last year and a half I have needed the train half a dozen times and every time. EVERY. TIME. TFL decide it’s me who has to suffer.

Lyn swings the car around. Abbey Wood, we decide, is our best option so up the M20 we head while I ask Google where I should park.

Less than half a mile to our turn off and Greenwich is suggested by my sister, who for a lot of things is a better option than a Google search. Now Lyn and I LOVE Greenwich. It’s  our kind of place. So with a mild panic having already entered the M25 turn off we now exit it (very brave of Lyn) and continue our journey towards the home of the Cutty Sark.

Novotel offers us a parking spot for a mere twenty five quid but we care not. It’s Greenwich, we park and within fifty meters we, well, I am enjoying coffee number one coincidently from the best coffee shop in Greenwich. Naked Coffee is a tiny kiosk along side a ???? Store offering everything from books, to writing desks, to posters, bone china and a huge pair of knickers! I kid you not they’re right there as you enter.

Naked Coffee never disappoints and with my Macchiato in hand we wander towards the centre. 

I feel naked myself as I left the house this morning without my trusted pen and pad so we decide to stop at the first appropriate looking establishment and find THE GREATEST PADS EVER!!!

I read somewhere that there is never any need for more than one exclamation mark. Since then I have adhered to this rule but rules are meant to be broken or at least excepted and besides, THESE ARE THE GREATEST PADS EVER.

Separating as we enter with me heading for pads and Lyn heading for the interesting looking art adorning the hundreds of cards for sale it takes me a minute to find these pads. First, a tiny one lined with a picture of an octopus is priced up before being discarded when I spot a Moleskin pad but who in their right minds spends more than twenty quid on paper? Turning I spot a bunch of pads bound together made from recycled coffee cups. MADE. FROM. RECYCLED. COFFEE. CUPS.  I look at the price. Fiftenn quid! Who in their right mind spe- MADE FROM RECYCLED COFFEE CUPS. I buy a packet of three and immediately wish I’d bought more.

I start to worry if this day has already peaked.

We are both hungry and the choice of where to eat is often a source of angst. Not today. It’s Greenwich so it was only ever going to be Goddard’s Of Greenwich.

I am treating my girlfriend to pie and mash. I know.  I know. 

For those keeping score, it’s one great coffee, three already cherished pads and now pie and mash. It’s barely midday and one wonders if three peaks can be surpassed throughout the afternoon.

Easily, it turns out, when we meander the Maritime Museum bookshop, cutting through the Old Royal Naval Collage towards my beloved Cutty Sark!

I have loved this old clipper for as log as I can remember. May 20th 2007 I drove from my place in New Eltham to SE10 for no other reason than to walk around admiring it from every angle. It’s true I didn’t remember the exact date just then as I typed but it was easy to find out because the top story on the morning news May 21st was about the Cutty Sark being destroyed by fire. 

True, that the above isn’t a peak more so a tangent from my original thought but it wouldn’t be a Classic Adams blog without a distraction or two from the author.

The peak I was heading towards was the realisation that we can stop worrying about possible issues from transport involving rails by using the boat. The Thames Clipper to be precise. 

Coffee. Pads. Pie&Mash. Clipper. Another Clipper.

I am loving today.

We love London but both agree as beautiful as it is to visit and explore we neither feel the urge to make it permanent.

Off the ferry we grab a selfie with The Globe and naturally a quick stop around their shop before we find a funky gallery and look at paintings we can not afford before we walk across Blackfriars Bridge to The Blackfriar, a traditional pub with Henry Poole’s Art Nouveau reliefs reflecting the friary that once stood here. Seeing as neither one of us is a massive drinker we move on quickly finding somewhere for coffee with a table big enough for us to unravel the travel backgammon set and enjoy a few games. 

Lyn reads these blogs and always offers an even mix of encouragement and criticism. On this occasion she deems it important that you know we played six games, she won four and points wise it was seven three. 

And right there was the first non peak of my day.

With no words being spoken we decided to use the maps around London to navigate our way to The Barbican Centre which is handy as you can’t walk around St Paul’s too many times ever.

One more Macchiato from a coffee shop I forgot to note the name of down and we find ourselves at our destination early but as luck would have it there is a library here and it’s open. Better yet there is a lovely looking kid’s section and Lyn sets up home there for a while as I walk around tutting at people talking on their phones. 

We’ve had a fabulous day. It’s been a day full of things we both enjoy and smiling, hand in hand we wander to our seats wondering if Mr Palin can finish our day off with anything close to another peak.

Easy. Again. On our seat is a free copy of his latest book My Great Uncle Harry.

Coffee. Pads. Pie&Mash. Clipper. Another Clipper. The Globe. A Library. And a free book.

It’s a Classic Adams (& Thurston) day.


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