A short stay in London
I’ve always felt right at home in the big Smoke. Don’t know if it’s the anonymity, or the fact I feel the city is far less judgy than rural North Wales (that is of course my own opinion! Home is also filled with absolutely wonderfully diverse people). So a weekend away in London and away from the kids is for me, always an opportunity too good to pass up.
Last time I visited properly was actually when I was training and working down in Wimbledon. I worked out of Hammersmith and studied in Wimbledon itself so I’m a relative stranger to North East London. I did pay the area a few visits during the 2012 Olympics as cheap seats for the weightlifting and Hockey games were too good to pass down and at the end of the day it might not happen again in my lifetime! When my friend Sarah booked us in to see the Foo Fighters in the Olympic Park I knew we were in for an awesome adventure.
Why London feels so far from North Wales
Not only does London sometimes feel inaccessible from our rural outcrop of North Wales but public transport to get down there can be a bit of a nightmare. Trains from Bangor directly to Euston require you to remortgage your mansion on the Menai. Book your ticket late like we did and you can expect to spend seven hours stopping in Every train station between Rugby and Euston. Driving down takes five hours if you drive like I do – more if you’re bringing the family.
Flying is a viable option and a number of cheaper flights are available from John Lennon airport, which you could taxi or drive depending on your budget.
It always makes me very envious when I get to London how accessible everything is. There’s a tube in each direction every couple of minutes, buses galore, bikes if you’re feeling frisky and you’re never too far to walk from anywhere. I love it. If I want a bottle of wine I don’t need to hop in the car and avoid rampant sheep in the road or play dodge the bunny.
Even Glasgow to London is cheaper and quicker than North Wales to London. Sometimes it feels like we reside in the forgotten corner of the Country and aren’t quite important enough for main public transport links. Caernarfon doesn’t even have a direct train link any more – we are off the beaten track!
Staying in London
Now comes the fun bit. I use AirBnB for finding flats, rooms and houses. I’ve always used it because the prices are amazing, the hosts are usually fabulous and you can find a place that isn’t a hotel room devoid of personality and colour. Well this time I found Sarah and I a corker. I’d previously booked a room but booked the wrong date. I cancelled and got my money back almost instantaneously. Honestly AirBnB is the way to go!
I found a snug room in an artists pad that was ten minutes walk from the Olympic Stadium. The place was AMAZING. Totally a home from home, is home we’re pink and filled with bunnies. It was also home to Marie, the host, and her husband and one of the nicest most down to earth people I’ve ever met. Made a new friend, want to stay in touch ❤️
I loved every single second of staying at Marie’s home it was safe, clean, and the atmosphere was just buzzing! Couple that to the fact that both of us stayed here for £52 and we were literally next to the train station – win-win situation!
Seeing the Foo Fighters
I’ve been a huge fan of the Foo’s since 1997 and saw them for the first time when I was in Liverpool. This was back when the Foo’s were just another band trying to make it big. They actually cracked the UK before making it big in the USA although Dave Grohl was the drummer in Nirvana. So I may have overdosed on the Foo’s when I was a student because the tickets were cheap and getting there was by foot and easy. I’ve moshed and head-banged my way through many nights with the Foo’s in my youth.
Every Album produced since the nineties has thrown amazing songs at me which have signified memories and significant events in my life. The Foo’s have given me music to be joyful to, lyrics to cry with, reasons to dance and hope when things were looking black. And they must speak volumes to a vast number of the population. Age ranges at this gig were 4 to 64. Children danced on the stalls and adults moshed on the pitch.
Now the Olympic stadium is massive with a capacity of 80,000. Last night it was full. Now you would think someone like me with social anxiety would be absolutely petrified standing in the middle of a crowd of rockers throwing beer and jumping about like maniacs. Quite the opposite. The atmosphere was unlike like anything I can coin in a sentence. Like seeing all the old faces in Liverpool Grand again. All on the same page. There for the music and alive with singing and movement.
I woke up this morning voiceless – think that tells you all what sort of a night was had. I sang all of the songs. There wasn’t a bum note played last night. All my old and new favourites were covered. Learn to fly,Everlong, Monkey Wrench, My Hero, Times like these, all the ones I know the words to coupled with newer songs Dirty Water and Wheels. Great mix!
Dave (first name terms because I’m basically his Mrs) has lost none of his charisma, and it is obvious when he’s talking to the crowd he’s humbled by hearing us singing his songs back to him. I have to add here the drummer, Taylor Hawkins is a mind blowing artist. Think of Animal from the muppets crossed with Freddy Mercury. Serious talent vocally and his solo set just blew me away and vibrated my stomach in all the right ways!
I’d always recommend seeing the Foo’s. Five times I’ve tried since 1999. I always got pregnant, couldn’t leave the kids, last we actually had tickets and the train booked and he broke his damn leg (but I was six months preggers with G) . If you have kids I’d always recommend music – because it soothes their soul. Word of warning though for younger kids the f word is used at some points. If you’re sensitive about this tell them he’s saying fudge…
Hand on heart we laughed, we cried, we moshed, we got covered in beer and I danced like I was 18 again. Not bad for a Rheumatoid Arthritic forty something! And on the way home we had an obligatory burger but this one was extra special with pineapple hot sauce – check out the Wick Burger Hub.
Can I go again soon please?
It’s lovely going to London without going to work. I love just being a tourist! I think it was about time to have a night away from the kids too. You just need to step away sometimes and be yourself. Not that you don’t love them, but it’s for the sake of your sanity.
We had our breakfast in the local cafe The Pearl in Hackney Wick and it was awesome food. We had a big brunch which cost £10 but was rammed with food. There were a range of vegetarian and vegan options and the atmosphere is just amazing. Before long it was time for the return leg of our journey. Time flies when you’re having fun. And fun was definitely had! Roll on the next visit.
London I LOVE YOU!