Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A Saturday in London

One of the aspects of being an expat is that your circle shrinks dramatically.  In South Africa my life was drastically different to life in London and I was a very social person.  There were the frequent dinner parties at my house, nights out with school and university friends, picnics in the sun, lunches with family and of course, the frequent braais.  Now it is just Stephen and I, occasionally my mum or brother and every once in a while I see some of my old South African friends.  The purpose of this little insight into how sad my social life has become is to explain how it was that Stephen and I found ourselves fighting on Friday night.  It is usually just the two of us and our four animals and we do get cabin fever sometimes.

As we are both stubborn Taureans, we were naturally still fighting on Saturday morning.  Eager to avoid another night on the sofa, Stephen eventually conceded defeat and decided to take me to the centre of London to see New Moon. 

We arrived in London an hour before the show and decided to take a walk around Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street.

The Three Graces by Rudy Weller atop the Criterion Building
'The Three Graces' by Rudy Weller atop the Criterion Building

The Lights at Piccadilly CircusLights at Piccadilly Circus  

Naturally, we had to take a look at the famous lights at Piccadilly Circus.  It was at this point that Stephen looked at me and said, “you know, you’re just like a bloody tourist!” which was met by me blinking rapidly at him.  (He certainly got The Look).  “What?” he said.  “You do know that the tagline on my blog is ‘The Adventures of an Eternal Tourist Living and Working in London’?”, I retorted.  Rather than admit that he never actually reads my blog, he uttered a small “oh” and didn’t complain about my photo taking for the rest of the day. 

A Christmas Carol - Regents StreetI was quite excited to see some Christmas lights even if they were sponsored by the Disney film A Christmas Carol.  

Lights in Regent Street

I love the grand old buildings of regent Street and I quite liked the huge snowflakes.  (You can just see it there stretched between the buildings).  They must look great all lit up at night!  I did have one concern about the snowflake lights though – where would the Doctor land his Tardis?  I mean, realistically, he could need to land it anywhere, right?  (Oh, ignore me, I’ve gone Doctor Who crazy lately).

Regent Street

As mentioned, Stephen was paying some serious penance for fighting with me earlier in the day so he had to take me to see New Moon (which I reviewed over at Emm Media) and the Cranes concert later that evening.  Thankfully, there was a shining beacon of hope and non-torture during the middle of the day for him as we happened upon the Ferrari store on Regent Street. 

Ferrari Store Regent Street London

In case you’re trying to find it, it is across the road from the world’s most amazing toy store, Hamleys.

Hamleys Regent Street London

Stephen bought a nice red Ferrari windbreaker but they wouldn’t let me take a photograph of it.  Our sweet-as-pie sales assistant turned into a demon when I did try to take a photo and I thought we were going to get kicked out of the store!!!  They did let me take a photo of the Ferrari F1 car in the entrance though and I was somewhat mollified.

FerrariAnd I sneaked a photo of a very happy Stephen before we hurried back to the London Trocadero to watch the film.  You can tell he was trying to please me that day – he even wore the FDNY shirt I bought him in New York.  I have a bit of a thing for men in uniform, especially firemen and policemen!

Stephen So that is all for my Saturday afternoon in London.  What did you get up to?

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18 comments

  1. Emm my dear girl, twas Charles Dickens not Disney who penned a Christmas Carol.

    Bah Humbug!

    Love the photographs.

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  2. Ahh, I was on regent's street last week as well buying proper winter boots at Clark's! It's so Chaotic, although I do like the Christmas lights.
    Unfortunatly, most of my weekends are spent doing school work.
    I love reading your blog though for getting ideas of things to do in London- little breaks I can take in between revising and writing papers!

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  3. I know exactly what you mean about shrinking social circles and cabin fever! I have found it really hard to make friends over here compared to back home. Slowly but surely though...

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  4. Oh...I echo you and Lost...I imagined moving to a big city would mean having a (bigger?) circle of friends...but then London is just TOO big. So far I haven't had cabin fever that much, but i can feel my boyfriend started to get a bit antsy (and he's only been here 2 months ;)) - he's mentioned it a couple of times that it would be great if we could meet more people - but how on earth do you go round doing THAT in this big city?

    HMM! Anyone has an answer?

    Last weekend however was filled more than enough for us! Family was visiting :D

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  5. Your photos make me very London-homesick! I have some of similar CHristmas decorations from last year...when I was THERE!!! (I still have trouble believing that I really was there and it wasn't all a wonderful dream.)

    BTW, my husband doesn't always read my blog either. (they don't know what they're missing 8-) ).

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  6. @ Mike: Hahaha. I know that! But neither Dickens nor his estate sponsored the lights, Disney did!!!

    @ Jen K: Although I intend to go back to school eventually, I am not sure I could cope with studying in late November / December. That was summer holiday time in South Africa!!!

    @ Lost (Neal): Hey! Thanks for stopping by! I know you guys are also expats but where are you from originally?? Australia?

    @ Annuca: It is not easy!! I go out occasionally to Meetup.com events but that is it! Perhaps I should arrange a little something one day...

    @ Kathy: Despite having over 500 photographs and blogging about it for [counts on fingers] 5 months, it absolutely feels like New York and DC were nothing but fantastic dreams too. I so agree with you - it almost hurts physically in my chest when I see photos of Manhattan and Central Park.

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  7. If I lived where you do, I'd also be an eternal tourist. What beautiful sights to see. I'd never get tired of exploring.
    I'm glad you got out and had a nice day. I so understand about cabin fever. Squabbles just happen some times.

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  8. OMG, London has always been my dream place to visit. I love when you post photographs of the city, it's just sooo beautiful! I love this post! ;)

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  9. sounds like u had a lovely outing :-)

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  10. Hi Emm,
    Ypou've stolen my youth in this post. I used to hang aroudn these parts more often than you have had hot diunner. Never used to shop, far too expensive. Hamley was my favourite, I just used to visit each floor and pine for the toys there.

    London is one of the loneliest places on Earth. Hope your fights end with a loving make up.

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  11. Hey, I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a guest post on my blog - maybe about South African cuulture in London or just your experiences in London generally... Let me know (littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk)
    x

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  12. What a wonderful afternoon!
    I love the photo you sneaked your Stephen, I also could feel his happiness on that moment. I really like the snowflakes light betweenthe old buoldings of regent Street. Look forward to visit London one day. BTW, first, You would share much more photos you visited there to guide me! HAHAHA!!

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  13. It seems entirely normal to be an "eternal tourist" in London; especially at Christmas time!

    I've been trying to talk both of my girls into seeing New Moon with me. Now I'm off to read your review.

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  14. Hey Em, New Zealand originally. But spent 12 months in Australia before travelling over. Love it over here, family & friends are just so far away!

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  15. @ Mountain Woman: Oh wow - would you like to swap?? I'd just love to live in the mountains for a season!!! Preferably a warm season though...

    @ Lilian: Well then, I shall try post more of London just for you! :)

    @ Ash: It was indeed a good outing!

    @ Martin: I feel that way about the centre of Johannesburg! We also used to hang around all the shops but hardly bought anything.

    @ Steph: I'll email you! Will have to think of something exciting to say - your blog is so lovely!

    @ Chen Yin Tzu: I would love to act as your tour guide too!

    @ Bee: Your girls need talking into????? Surely they are mad about Edward or Jacob or Alec (my personal favourite Volturi).

    @ Lost: It must have been interesting in Australia for you - so similar yet different in many ways?

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  16. Walking around central London is a real buzz, I never get fed up doing that.

    Unfortunately I'm going to get dragged kicking and screaming to see New Moon sometime soon. I just hope it isn’t as bad as think it is.

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  17. Ein ganz toller und schöner Blog !!!!!!
    Aber , sorry , London ist keine Reise wert !
    ;-)

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  18. @ William: Ha ha! I can just imagine you won't be too happy in the movie!!! It is a real corn-fest.

    @ Rennschnecke: "A completely mad and beautiful blog!!!!!! But, sorry, London is not worth a journey!" I love that you called my blog mad and beautiful!!! But I disagree with your second sentence - every city on Earth is worth a visit and that is why I have this blog! I want to see the world as a tourist, no matter where I am!

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