My first wedding anniversary weekend - even talking about "my anniversary," makes me feel like an old married lady, but in a good way.
After work on Friday, we met at a pub called The Castle near Faringdon. In hindsight, I should have taken the five minute tube ride because I was soaked after the ten minute walk. Wet and bedraggled, a run in my stockings, make up slightly smeared, and wearing purple sneakers with my business clothes, and that leaves out the bit about being 40 and deemed obese by the Wii Fit on a daily basis. I am legendarily ridiculous, but this did not stop us from having a pint and some dinner in the city.
Saturday morning we packed up our bags and went back into town for our London anniversary weekend. We stayed at Charring Cross Hotel, which is trying to be a nice place despite the fact that Charring Cross Underground is the most pee smelling station in London. Given the circumstances, I think the hotel is doing very well - nice rooms, bathrobes and slippers. I don't think they will make it though, because they are selling themselves as an Executive Hotel and if you want the business trade but don't quite have enough hot water to go around on a Sunday morning, you'll never make it.
We spent some of the afternoon wandering around Trafalgar Square, and had a nice visit with the Caravaggio's and VanGogh's in National Gallery. The square itself was blocked off for some kind of dance event, and we saw loads of people with colorful dots on their shirts but never could figure out what was happening when. Which is like most Olympic experiences.
In the evening we had a not very fancy but fairly delicious barbecue dinner are Garfunkles, which may be the UK equivalent of Applebees. There is a weird shortage of barbecue sauce here, and they seem to only lightly shake the bottle over top of your plate, instead of coating things in it. This is odd because given the chance they will slather anything with mayonnaise so it's not like they do not enjoy their sauces.
And then for our very special treat, we went to see "Singing in the Rain." It was lovely. Most of the London Theater is basically ridiculous -- it's all musical versions of the Lion King and then shows made out of pop songs like Mama Mia. At least "Singing in the Rain" has the advantage of 70 years of dignity built in.
In line at intermission, a lady from California struck up a conversation. It's always slightly awkward to have random conversations with other Americans. You feel like you should instantly hit it off, but not all Americans were meant to be magical best friends. There's also a pretty big divide between Americans on holiday, and Americans who live here. It goes something like,
"You live here, that's amazing, you must be so happy!" "Nope, the weather has been horrible, I miss my parents, the commute is atrocious, and Target is the best store in the Universe. This place sucks and I'm miserable at least 20% of the time." "Oh."
Should I just start lying? It is getting better, but I cannot say that I love living here when most of my clothes are starting to smell like mildew because, like most people, we don't have dryer and it takes three days for them to dry.
After the show, we Walked in the Rain to the Savoy, and had massively overpriced and delicious drinks at The American Bar. I now want to buy silver cups and learn to make Mint Juleps.
Yesterday, finding ourselves in Central London on day with limited rain, we thought we ought to take a look around the place. We took a Big Bus Tour, which turned out to be mostly terrible as I think Kristjan and I could have done a better job than the prerecorded commentary which was mostly music. How can that even happen? They ran out of random things to say about London? But it was good to ride around the city. We saw the Olympic rings hanging from Tower Bridge, and the Olympic Road lanes which pop up without warning and cut off the flow of traffic.
We got off the bus and took a walk near Hyde Park, and could hear the booming speakers for blocks. They've been having concerts there -- Kylie was canceled for mud, but Bruce Springsteen was there Saturday night, and Madonna is some night this week. I understand the park has been turned into a mud pit, and given how load the Sunday afternoon test was, the neighbors must be well and truly annoyed. All that aside, our walk intentionally took us by the US Embassy, and I was very happy to see my flag.
After that jam packed weekend, there was nothing left to do but rush home so that we could get a dehumidifier from Argos. It has to stand upright for a day before you can use it, but we are very excited to start extracting water from our damp flat.
For the record, it has rained for at least a week and a day. Yesterday was mostly dry but I heard rain late last night, and it is raining this morning. 8 Days of rain and counting. Tomorrow should be dry, but this has been the weather all summer -- rain for a week, on dry day, rain for ten days, and one dry day.