I like to joke that little boys who tell fibs grow up to be marketeers or weathermen.***
In this case though, the English weatherman said Saturday would be lousy, and he was right. It teemed down. It was just as well we had gone on our jaunt down the Thames the day before!
So we set aside Saturday as a shopping day. I had long had in mind to buy a S(h)alwar Kameez – the loose, pyjama style tunic worn in many parts of South-East Asia. We set off down Tooting high street, going into one Indian or Pakistani shop after the other. Along the way, I learned that what I really wanted was an Anarkali suit, similar in style to this photograph. However, I wanted casual cotton day wear, not the party dress shown here. Eventually I came away empty handed – but uplifted in one sense: for the first time in my life I had found something that was too tight in the bust instead of in the hips.
The rain had mostly washed itself out by Sunday morning, but we didn’t want to go too far. It was the ultimate day of our long European travail. We are needed back down under, and had to cut several weeks off our original plan. So today we had come to the end of our road, and by nightfall we would be flying out of Heathrow, more or less three calendar months since we left Australia. Thirteen weeks of being on the go – ninety sleeps in strange beds, with even stranger pillows. We couldn’t muster the required amount of energy or enthusiasm to throw ourselves into the thick of London.
Besides – why ignore what was right on the doorstep? So off we went to take a closer look at Richmond………….
Our home for the previous three nights was a comfortable one-bedroom flat with a delightful balcony, a couple of floors above one of the many cosmopolitan restaurants of this street.
Across the road two pubs stand side by side, the Hope and the Shaftesbury. We had enjoyed a few drinks there on the Friday night. We managed to resist diving straight in one of them and drinking away the last of our English pounds …..
Richmond lies around fifteen miles south-west of London central. It is a well-to-do suburb with many examples of fine architecture. As we walked along the main street away from the railway station, we came across a charming art deco style cinema. Down the road, Bill’s restaurant was doing a roaring trade.
Before long, we were back down on the river. It is so pretty around here:
On the way back up the road, we came across a local Sunday market.
Then we continued along parallel to the river, following a path that led to an extremely large park, which I assume was Richmond Park. We only peeked inside, as we were conscious of time marching on, and besides, we were getting hungry and thirsty. As we turned back in the general direction of the main street, I noticed this sign that appealed to my warped sense of humour. Do any others see the irony in a “dry” street having a signpost to the local pub? Anyway, I can vouch that the pub definitely serves alcohol. I was ready for a refreshing cider (and a loo stop :-))
There were one or two other things that caught my eye – a flash car for example —— is that a Morgan? Really? We overheard someone remark it was a kit. A kit? Is that like assembling model planes in your bedroom?
Then there was a lovely row of terrace houses ……….. and does that number plate read SNOWCAT? The things you see ……..
So that is the official end of our travel story, except that I never did manage to say all I wished to about Prague, and I may come back to that at some stage.
I have confused a number of people, because I fell so behind with the diary that in the end it is really the tenth of September as I write this. By a strange co-incidence, Jay and Waddy have just arrived home today (our travel companions who inspired the theme of “55 days with Gwen”, see link below).
I guess we will have cause to relive our adventures over and over again. Better go chill a bottle of wine. Mmmmmm – might have to order a few more cases 🙂
(*** “little boys who fib…” – It’s a joke! Please don’t hammer me.)
Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th August 2013, Garrulous Gwendoline, Richmond upon Thames, England