Greg and Gari take a much deserved week off

Cor, so it’s been a little while since I made a personal post to my blog – mainly because I’ve been so busy recently!

Between Saturday 5th July and Saturday 11th July both Greg and I had a week off from work and decided to make the most of it. We had a lovely week, Greg came over and stayed at mine for the duration and we planned lots of fun things.

Saturday 5th

Greg’s 29th Birthday – whoop! It was also London Pride on this day too. Didn’t much fancy London Pride as it actually seems rather disunited and doesn’t have the community atmosphere that Manchester Pride has… well in my opinion anyway, I am slightly biased hehe!.

Greg had planned to have a birthday picnic in Regent’s Park, however due to the uncertainty over the weather, he postponed it until the Saturday after. Unfortunately/typically, the day turned out right nice (as we’d say up north) and so we should have stuck to the original plans really. Instead, Greg came over to mine a little earlier, we had lunch in ‘birthday park’ near me, and then Greg and I went to Ikea to pick me up some new pillows. I know it was hardly the best way to spend a birthday in the world, however with such short notice I couldn’t really arrange anything else :o(

I got Greg a few presents, including naming two stars after us (romantic really, see!), I had a Lichtenstein-style portrait made for Greg (with the tag “Will they still need me, will they still feed me, when I’m thirty-four?!”), I spent hours and hours making a set of 10 mix-CD’s for him (the personal present) and I also bought him tickets to go and see Wicked.

Going around Ikea was a lot of fun as always, and we even purchased a big bag of Swedish Meatballs, which we scoffed with chippy chips when we got back home.

Sunday 6th

Really lazy day – we basically planned what we were going to do in the week (on a geeky planner that I designed on Excel… well, I do work in accounting!). We also ordered some shopping to last the week from Tesco, to be delivered the next day.

Monday 7th

Shopping arrived – we’d ordered a little bit more for packed lunches than we’d planned to…

Oops! HEH!

Again, a bit of a lazy afternoon, in the main due to the rain that we had that afternoon. We figured that we’d be best indoors than outdoors splashing about.

In the evening we went off to The Dominion Theatre and went to see We Will Rock You (see earlier post).

Tuesday 7th

We had planned to spend the day in Southampton, and were fortunate that the weather held out for us. One of the reasons for us choosing Southampton had been due to their weather forecast! Alas, I really wish that we had not bothered. Greg and I found that we really really disliked the place! We arrived there at 14:10, and promptly left on the 16:10 train home. I was thinking “Titanic”; “Seafront”; “Harbour” and “Fish and Chips” – what we got was a deserted harbour area, a very thin strip of water, a tiny local museum which had a tiny Titanic area (we didn’t even bother going inside in the end – it looked better on the website!) and a city centre that frankly looked like a council estate. It was really weird, as the local estate agents had some gorgeous new build properties for ridiculously low prices… but yet the city centre was like Beirut! Apologies to anyone reading this who maybe lives there or likes the place, it just really wasn’t for me. Perhaps it’s one of these cities that is just a city and not really for visitors…

We did come across Martin’s Rubber though… apparently it humps for 320 yards…

… and the ‘Yummy Yummy’ Takeaway…

Wednesday 9th

We decided to go to the Vue cinema at the O2 Arena on Wednesday to watch the latest Indiana Jones movie; Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull. I have a two-for-one card and this was one of the films that I could watch at a time that fit in with our schedule. The screen was pretty much empty, there was just Greg and I in there, and later on we were joined by one other person – delightfully quiet! The film was really good (up to a point) I thought… the ending was a bit rubbish though… it just seemed to build up to a hype and then deflate all at once. Certainly watchable though.

After that we headed across to the Tate Modern on the South Bank in Southwark. By this point it was hammering it down with rain, which really wasn’t bestest. We managed to spend a few hours looking around the galleries and whatnot, though were frequently impeded by children and adults standing in the way of the picture/the tag and saying really loudly “I don’t even like this picture”. If you don’t even like it, then move the fuck outta the way so that people who do like it can appreciate it properly! The people viewing the art in the Tate seemed to have no manners or sense of purpose whatsoever. Not a place I’m going to be rushing back to unfortunately :o(

We also went to see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria – one of Greg’s birthday presents. As always, the show was amazing, and I must say, I think that the current cast is the best cast that I’ve seen thus far! Alexia Khadime makes an excellent Elphaba and really managed to deliver her songs incredibly well. Mr Greg loved the show as I knew he would do and so a successful night all round!

Thursday 10th

Our Thursday morning was spent outside the Shaftesbury Theatre in the queue to pick up day tickets for that evenings performance of Hairspray. Having seen it numerous times previously, I knew that Greg just had to see this show! Day ticketing at the Shaftesbury costs £25 per ticket for that afternoon/evening’s performance, and you’re normally able to pick up tickets for the front row. Despite being right at the front, you still get a really good view of the stage, and the leg-room isn’t too limited (especially if you’re only between 5’8 and 5’10). We got there around 9am and there were already a few people in front of us, although they were largely queuing for matinee tickets.

After purchasing our tickets, Greg and I embarked upon our planned day at a few of London’s museums. The bulk of our time was spent at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. I really enjoyed visiting the museum (and took an abundance of photo’s – honestly, I don’t think anyone will ever need to visit there in person again hehe) although I hear that a lot of the ‘better’ and more eye-catching exhibits were no longer there. We also briefly popped into the Science Museum and had a play around on some of the interactive bits and pieces for an hour or so (I also purchased some cool flying plane things), before heading back to Covent Garden for a spot of tea and then onwards to the theatre.

Whilst waiting outside the theatre, a gentleman was walking past me when his whole foot just fell off right in the middle of the pavement! Quite surreal – it was a prosthetic foot (obviously) though it was a bit weird handing it back to its owner!

I was also rather dismayed to find that Ben James-Ellis was not in my performance of Hairspray once we’d gotten into the theatre however, apart from that minor set-back, I enjoyed myself so much at Hairspray that I am already planning to go again (my fifth time) for my birthday in a few weeks. Greg absolutely loved it (surprisingly more than Wicked which I didn’t think he’d say as he loves Wicked) and has rated it his second favourite musical (after The Lion King). A whole heap of fun (I stand by my previous reviews completely!) and I sincerely can’t wait to go back!

Friday 11th

Friday was a bit of a wind-down day as we were coming to the end of our week. We went down to the London Aquarium (soon to be re-branded as a Sea Life Centre) on the South Bank, Waterloo and spent a good few hours in there, wandering around and whatnot. I was a good chap and only sang “Under The Sea” once… there may or may not have been some camp “Under The Sea dancing” which accompanied this…. Hehe! :oP Again, a huge number of photos were taken from the Aquarium – managed to get quite a few nice ones I think – hurrah! The Starfish which thinks it is Marilyn Monroe is my favourite (although it is digesting a crab – ugh!) along with the awesome picture of the Jelly Fish that I managed to take.

Saturday 12th

Due to the risk of rain, Greg unfortunately had to cancel the birthday picnic that he’d rescheduled from the previous week. Typically, and once again, the weather turned out nice. Grrr @ the weather man. Felt really bad that Greg hadn’t been able to celebrate his birthday properly – gah! I bought him a proper birthday cake on the way to make him feel a bit better though!

We decided to poke around the historic “City of London” and so passed the Stock Exchange, The Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey on the way to St Paul’s Cathedral. St Paul’s itself wasn’t too busy given that we had gone on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the summer and I for one really enjoyed looking around the place – the main dome is absolutely stunning! We were even brave and ascended the stairs up to the interior gallery, though once we got up there and saw how high up we were we quickly ran back down again after having spent about 60 seconds on the balcony hehe!

I finally managed to get to the Knight’s Templar pub on Chancery Lane at a time when it was actually open on the Saturday too. I’ve been trying for months to manage to get there for a meal, though usually without success. Unfortunately, the food wasn’t stunning and the atmosphere was non-existent and so it was a little bit of a let-down I thought, as I had built it up to Greg when describing how fab it is (you have GOT to see the ladies toilets at this venue [a few of my friends have pictures of them on Flickr]– they are the best that I’ve ever seen!). Still, we had a free meal out of it (I had some vouchers that their Head Office had sent me) and the peace and quiet was rather nice!

So there you have it, a rather action packed week spread into one blog post. I really enjoyed myself and it was really awesome to have Greg to myself for a whole week!

There are plenty of pictures of my week that I have posted to Facebook (far too many to post here – we’re talking around 600 pictures!) and so feel free to visit my profile and have a nosy through the galleries if you fancy it.

Thanks for reading xx

About Gari

Northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

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