I’ve just been up to London for my hen party. I flew up from Newquay (cheaper to fly than train) and got to London Victoria and had to buy hand sanitiser (no offense Londoners, but I hadn’t seen so many people in ages). So slow…….. it took me about 20 mins to get my ticket for the tube. I rode the DLR round to Greenwich which is always fun – but arrived in a fluster,which was eased by stuffing sushi into my face. It was so good, I was becalmed and realised I was back in London and everything was ok. That’s how good Ajiichiban is. We ate salmon nigiri and sashimi, spicy tuna rolls, prawn tempura rolls and crispy duck rolls. We drank sparkling sake and Asahi beers. Then we ordered the whole lot again. It was frikken amazing.
So anyway, after a Fire Tree in the pub (lit rum being poured down stacked glasses and a rum bottle) and several pints we retired, full of excitement for the next day when I would get to see all my wonderful friends and go out to play in the big city.
We began with a West Cornwall Pasty sitting outside London Bridge station, followed by a trip up the Shard. We flew up to the 69th floor and drank champagne overlooking the city. It was amazing, it made the Eye look teeny tiny and I loved it. The sky was grey, the city was grey, and the sun was making stripes through the clouds. The poppies outside the Tower of London were so bright, I could have stayed up there for ages just looking. I couldn’t spot my beloved Hampstead Heath but I know it was out there somewhere. We had to get on, so dropped down out of the sky and had a mini pep talk from the stern security man about marriage, life and health on the way out. He beamed at me and my ‘Bride to Be’ badge. It was a lovely start to the day.
We’d had a call from my sister while we were Sharding, which was very distorted but sounded like she was surrounded by hooligans… turns out the pub we’d chosen to meet at had about 500 chanting football fans and scores of police outside. Standing just next to them was my bewildered looking sister… we rescued her, collected everyone else, and made our way to the London Bridge Experience. The London Bridge Experience is a historical journey through 2000 years of life in the area. This isn’t really true but I can’t really say too much without giving away the surprise of how terrifying the experience is. We were in there for about an hour or so, and my face hurt from laughing and being terrified the whole way round. I was so, so sweaty.
Onward to the Thames Clipper boat, which sailed us down to beautiful Greenwich. Some of the girls hadn’t sailed on the boat before – or been to Greenwich so it was really special.
My friend is an incredibly clever and talented cake maker (she is also making my wedding cake so details on that will follow later), and she’d sorted us out with some snacks and cups of tea, and then taught us how to decorate cupcakes!
There were a few willies but very delicate ones which suited our very demure and ladylike celebrations.
We ate the beautiful cake, drank prosecco and got ready for our amazingly delicious meal in the Crows’ Nest at the Cutty Sark pub. Walking along the river to the pub was gorgeous – I think it’s the bit that sticks in my mind the most, it was the calm in the eye of the storm… I was just so happy strolling along with my friends in the still London air.
I had a huge burger for dinner which was tasty but I wasn’t really concentrating on the food, I was too busy talking. Everyone else loved their food, and the house red wine was really good too.
We finished our night with drinks in the garden at the Pelton Arms, having just missed their live music. It was an awesome night, it was so great to see everyone and it was brilliant that my oldest boy-mate turned up to collect his good lady wife so I got to see him too.
The next day I was introduced to proper pie and mash for the very first time. Two home made pies with mince inside, with beautiful pastry, perfect smooth mashed potato and liquor, which is like parsley sauce: the perfect hangover cure. We went to Goddards which has been around since 1890, and had prices from then too (double pie, mash and liquor for about £4.50). The trick with pie and mash (I learned) is the seasoning – you’ve got to be generous with the salt, pepper and chilli vinegar to get the best out of it. I felt a million times better after my lunch.
After a nap in the afternoon, I set out to west London to visit my godmother (she’s in her 80s, she may not have enjoyed the proper hen bit!) and we went to her local pub the Havelock Tavern for a lovely supper to round off my hen weekend: the most delicious, light kedgeree with a soft boiled egg nestled on top, with a few small drips of sweet chilli sauce.
I had a lovely weekend. I was in love with London again. On my way back to Cornwall my wheelie bag got in someone’s way at the tube station, so I said ‘sorry’ and tried to smile at him. The man snapped “F*** OFF” at me. Ha. I was trying to!
When I came out of the plane door at Newquay I was slapped in the face by stinging sideways rain and I wanted to cry with happiness that I was home, and sadness that the weekend was over. The next time I’ll see everyone will be at the wedding in 5 weeks’ time. Better get my shit together, eh?