Sunday, 20 March 2016

Part 1: Keeping up with the Sadashain's

There are many things that have happened in the last...ahem...6 months that I haven't written about because, well, I've just been so busy doing said things that I haven't had a chance to write about them!

This is now going to be a brief round up of all the interesting things that have happened in the last 6 months over a couple of blog posts.

Historic adventures

Underground Steam Tube
Before the tube was the tube as you know it, steam trains used to run the length of many of the underground lines (which would have been particularly smokey). They were replaced with the streamlined ones you see today. A few of the old vintage trains are still in working order, so on this day Dion, Dan and I rode on the Metropolitan line in a vintage locomotive and wooden individual carriages.

It was a lovely day out - I didn't understand the terminology flying over my head, although the small boy in our 8 person carriage made me smile with his Sunday Best white shirt and tie, expensive camera, miniature tripod and a head buzzing with questions and acronyms.

Thames Cruise
Before it started to get really cold for winter, Dan and I went on a paddle steamer excursion out to WWII Maunsel Forts. The Tower Bridge had to open to let us under as we were so tall, and we waved at all the people on the top!

Not every one can say that the Tower Bridge had to raise for them. Along the way we saw many different parts of London as we snaked up the Thames out to the open sea, stopping particularly for a look at the Forts. They were used in WWII to help defend the UK and look like strange War Of The World metal creatures in the middle of the water. On the way back, the Greenwich Mean Line laser was shining bright, as we passed back and forth across the time zones!

Bonfire night
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot! 
Guy Fawkes night is a big deal in London, with many parks and counties organising fireworks and a bonfire. Dan and I went to the one at Wimbledon as it was convenient (and I went to the Ally Pally one the previous year). The ground was a complete muddy mess, but the sky was clear.

We watched through the fence the fireworks for the kids show, and then entered for the adults show - so effectively got two shows for the price of one! Once inside the grounds, we discovered that there was no alcohol at the event - and we had been looking forward to something warming us up! We did stumble across one small stall selling mulled wine, and their line was ridiculously long. We grabbed a couple of wines over the evening from there, but it was largely a dry event.

The bonfire was lit and its glow enormous - my face was legitimately burning. Afterwards, the fireworks lit up the sky to current pop music, and so Guy Fawkes was celebrated.

Aldwych Station
A ghost tube station that is no longer in use and, while used up until the 1990's, had been barely modified since it was built in the 1890's. The lifts were still original turn of the 20th century, and we learnt how the station was used in both World Wars as bunkers.

These days it is open occasionally to the public for tours, but mostly used in movies and TV shows when they need to depict the London Underground


Rugby World Cup
The final two teams in the World Cup were New Zealand and Australia, the children of the Commonwealth. The Brits were pretty unimpressed that all of their various countries had been knocked out, and now it was down to the rowdiest two.

Tickets to the grand final were of course impossible to get. Dan and I and a few friends found someplace that was screening it - for £5 you received entry and two drink tokens, so we figured if the atmosphere was crappy then at least we could take the beers and leave! It ended up being a pretty decent atmosphere, and of course the Kiwi's won, but Australia put up a good fight to make it quite a tense game.

I say all of this like I knew what was going on. Dan spent the game giving me a crash course in what the hell was happening on the big screen. Thank you!

One of my London bucket list items was to see a football game. I became increasingly aware that it was difficult to get tickets to games, especially anyone big. I really wanted tickets to Arsenal, naturally, the most difficult of them all.

As fate would have it, Dan's brother Jeremy is quite a fan of Arsenal and has been to almost every game since he's been living in London (in the suburb of Arsenal, of course). He managed to get us tickets and, donning my borrowed Arsenal t-shirt and scarf, we made our way into the stadium with 60k other fans.

It was a sunny day, but freezing cold and we had an excellent view of the field. I thought it was a good game as it was close and edge-of-your seat, but apparently Arsenal were playing pretty poorly. None-the-less, they won! 2-1 (thank god). And there was much rejoicing. Jeremy kept us up to date on which player was who and what they were good at, so I feel I received quite a rounded education.

Returning to the station afterwards was slow progress as 60,000 people piled back onto the streets and onto the tube stations. We weren't in a rush, so we just trundled along with the crowd.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of Keeping up with the Sadashian's: Shows, small trips and culture!