As you can guess from the title, there has been a birthday. Not mine obviously as that was in September; this was my daughters, who turned 23 at the beginning of this week. All weekend (and most of last week actually!), she kept commenting she couldn’t “believe I am 23 next week!!”. Thanks for that darling, as if I need any more reminders of my own aging.
Saturday night we went for drinks round the town where she lives. That honestly sounds more exciting than it is, it’s a small town and the choice of half decent pubs is somewhat limited to say the least. That said, we managed to find two with great atmosphere’s and had plenty to drink.
The second pub is closer to being a ‘dive’ but they had a band on which turned out to be pretty good. All the guys playing must have been in their late 50’s but their selection of music was admirable, ranging from Snow Patrol Chasing Cars, to Bohemnian Rhapsody with a wide mix of 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s tracks in between.
The dance floor, such as it was, was occupied most of the evening by a small group of women who were just letting rip on a saturday night in their local, clearly having a whale of a time, dancing their hearts out. That didn’t stop the rest of the pub having a good old boogie, ourselves included but staying in our chairs as we were fairly drunk, singing at the tops of our voices (hers good, mine definitely less so but who cares eh?). Good fun was had by all.
Unfortunately sunday was spent at work for me at least but as it was my last day in that job for that company, to say I was sporting an apathetic attitude was putting it mildly 😉
Monday we met with her friends for breakfast at her workplace, it being a bistro cafe, to exhange presents etc and have a good old girlie natter. She and I eventually troddled off into town for a shopping excursion as my daughter was in the mood to spend money. We rounded off the day with a lovely meal out in another local pub that does very good food.
Tuesday was meeting a friend and her son at Sea Life in london. Now, living where we do, in the back of beyond, getting anywhere out of here requires a mammoth effort. So, up at 5am, bus into Taunton at 6am and then the Berry’s Superfast Coach to the big smoke.
Why not the train you may ask? Good question. Because it would have cost me £146 return!! That’s half term prices for you, utterly shameful taking advantage of the school hols. Normal train fares to london are half that price or less. I refuse to pay that when the coach is £25 return.
It was a full coach too, obviously lots of families taking their children to london for days out. Normally the journey takes 3hrs 45mins give or take the traffic. Unfortunately though, on tuesday there was a fuel spill on a major route into the centre causing us, and all the other traffic, to be diverted. We ended up being on board for just over 5 hours!!! Can’t tell you how stiff and fed up we all were but there was nothing to be done about it, you just had to suck it up.
The only problem being that I had booked us timed entrance tickets at Sea Life which we missed by quite a margin. However, they let us in straight away which was good as our friend and her little boy (aged 1) had been waiting for us since 11am.
I have never been to Sea Life before so had no idea what to expect except of course seeing fishes. It was packed as one might imagine, and there was certainly quite a lot to see, most of which few visitors will ever see up close and personal in their natural habitats ever. That said, and taking into account any breeding/rescue programmes they might have, I was left feeling rather saddened by the whole thing.
There were sharks, turtles, very very large fishes of all kinds, a croc (all on its own) and penguins, all in temperature controlled tanks but no where near big enough and I have to say, all the sharks and rays looked ‘bored’, trapped. None of the fish looked really happy, if one can say that about a fish, because none of their tanks were a suitable size for them IMHO. Not that I am a marine conservationist or zoologist etc
Don’t get me wrong, it is amazing that so many people can see these sea creatures so close but make it bigger. It felt like the location was chosen to attract the crowds rather than provide the most suitable home for them.
We pootled round the south bank for a while afterwards, not that our late arrival left us much time to do anything really and particularly not with the crowds, took photos of the Houses of Parliament as one must do on such occasions, then all headed back to the tube station to go our separate ways.
We finally arrived home nearing 11pm utterly exhausted from such a long day. I did take photos but they have turned out rubbish I’m afraid. Trying to squeeze between the crowds to get a glimpse of fish swimming, holding my phone still long enough to focus before being shoved out the way meant crappy pictures. But you all know what a shark and a clown fish look like, don’t you?