To me, London in the rain is the perfect way to see the City. The stereotypical London scenes of grey, rainy days that so many black and white movies depict. I would love to stand in a corner with a nice cup of tea and just watch, just like sitting at home with a good old movie on the screen. The red buses burst into the monochrome and noise levels are high, but to me, this is home. This is my comfort zone and one that I need to occasionally retreat to from recent rural life. Maybe I'm a bit topsy turvy and people think I am strange for needing this, but I do notice I need this retreat when my tolerance levels start to take a dive. After an hour of sitting on the train, stepping onto the platform and joining the hustle and bustle to the ticket barriers, I am back in a happy place and life is good.
Today was going to be a bit touristy, but also with a specific purpose for me. Selfridge & Co! I haven't been there for years and with the fantastic drama that has been on TV lately, Mr Selfridge, I thought I owed it to myself to take a look at the place again and also to take Miss Teen and her friend Miss B for lunch there. Our trip for the day was to go to Covent Garden to see the street entertainers, and then onto Oxford Street/Regent Street and finish off at Piccadilly Circus, however with writing this post, I think I will start with the reason we came... Selfridges!
To the left of Bond Street Tube Station stands this majestic building. It has been added to over the years, but Harry Gordon Selfridge turned this neglected end of Oxford Street into a shopping paradise with incredible insight.
There are lots of entrances but the main one in the middle with the revolving doors and wood paneling was the one we were going to enter.
Standing above the entrance was the elegant Queen of Time.
And the intricate panelling above our heads at the entrance.
We didn't take photos inside even though we could have, but it really is a typical department store - but on the high end of the spectrum and huge! The shop assistants are all very smart and well turned out, some of the male assistants even had the Harry Selfridge beard and moustache (and looked amazing with it). For such an amazing store, none of the assistants were snooty but instead chatty and happy. I wanted to take the girls for lunch so we visited the top floor's food hall where the choice and taste was exquisite, delicious and again, staff were very friendly and views from the windows were amazing. Selfridges in my eyes can never do it wrong.
Bond Street Tube Station is a short walk from Selfridges as I have already written, but I just had to show you this dapper chap who has a small stand and acts as an information point for Oxford Street.
We carried along Oxford Street and joined the crowds, it is never quiet! and then joined Regent Street.
The shops continued but we had one shop in mind... Hamleys!!
Seven floors of sheer toy story delight with assistants not just serving but demonstrating and playing with the merchandise, enticing the children to plead with their parents to buy the latest gadget or must have toy. As usual the place was packed to the rafters with shoppers and outside was just as busy.
However, I wanted to go around the corner to this place...
The infamous Carnaby Street, a bright and vibrant place.
Full of boutique shops with incredible wares and colourful buildings (even in the rain!)
One art shop looked amazing but I am afraid that I did not take a photo due to the naked man inside who was posing with a painting for some press photographs! Instead you can have this great sign which is all sparkly!
And of course, the quintessential pub on the corner!
We went back on Regent Street and then onto Piccadilly Circus with its incredibly bright screens depicting all sorts of ever changing advertising.
But, how did the day start? Well, it started very early and our first stop off was the famous Covent Garden to see if we could watch any street entertainment.
Straight away we could hear an opera singer inside this amazing building with people rushing here and there, but stopping for a brief moment.
Stopping to hear this beautiful voice fill the air.
Walking around, there were various stalls and markets taking place.
But we wanted to go to the North Hall and watch some street entertainers. I thought that this would be a perfect introduction for the girls into the wonder of Covent Garden, and this chappy gave thirty five minutes of the best entertainment I have seen in a long time.
Yes, those are meat cleavers he was juggling, but that was just the start! He pulled a man from the audience who would be a major part of his show, but the comedy was brilliant and how he drew the crowds in. We all had to clap and cheer as loud as possible, with him in the audience, so basically clapping and cheering 'nothing', he then said 'because all the 'stupid' people will come and see what is going on'. He was right, they started rushing along to his area and stayed to see the show!
He juggled the meat cleavers down the length of the
victim's volunteer's body and then started to prepare for his bed of nails finale. This meant he needed to strip down to his boxers and socks, now ladies, a bit of flag flying for you!
Yes, those are birthday parcel rosettes to hide his modesty! Spiky as he is known professionally, explained that he was going to become sandwiched by two beds of nails, with the volunteer standing on him for ten seconds. Those nails were fixed and not retractable... trust me, we touched them.
For ten seconds we counted down as the nails pressed against his skin.
And I am pleased to say that he was fine. There was a lot of marks on him, some with a tiny bit of blood, but for what he had done, he certainly earned every single coin that was given to him afterwards. A thoroughly entertaining man - more on the street entertainers, including Spiky can be found here.
And so, with another trip to my lovely London town been and gone, it was time to head back to Kings Cross Station and head back to Lincolnshire.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
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