Friday, 30 January 2015

London, December 1995

Hobbies tend to go in circles - I'm scanning old photos again at the moment and in the middle of doing some negatives of a holiday we took in London way back in December 1995. Nineteen and a bit years ago!

This was the first time we had stayed in London and the couple of day trips we had had previously can almost be discounted as we did little apart from faint at the cost of stuff. We were travelling by train (talking of fainting at cost of stuff...) and the holiday started to prove interesting even on the trip down.

We caught the 08:30 train from Preston to London on Monday 4 December. We had booked seats but at Crewe an old nun decided I was in her seat and was very ungracious when I saw on her ticket that she had caught the train an hour earlier than she should have done. She thought that the two of us should have moved for her anyway. She sat across the aisle and spent the journey muttering to herself much to the amusement of two young girls sitting opposite. Mind you, we all found it amusing when she locked herself in the loo and had to be freed by the guard... As she made her way (muttering) back down the train, an anonymous voice (but not unlike my own) murmured "Oh dear... what can the matter be..."

We got into London just before midday and booked in at the Kennedy Hotel nearby Euston Station. I think it became a Thistle hotel a few years later. On coming out of the hotel the first landmark to be seen was the Post Office Tower. London was dull and somewhat chilly. It was to become just downright freezing...

We had bought our tickets for Madame Tussaud's by post and were allowed to dodge the queue to go straight in. What a swiz when we realised the queue wasn't all that long anyway! I'm not going to post photos of anything that they are likely to still have on show but here's just a couple of tasters.

Miss Franny sandwiched between politician Roy Hattersley and miners' leader Arthur Scargill. They were on a balcony overlooking a garden party scene which featured then current top film stars Bob Hoskins and Hugh Grant shortly after his highly publicised and sadly interrupted dalliance with American prostitute Divine Brown.

Not yet 30, Kylie Minogue was at this point still much loved for her appearances in Australian soap, Neighbours, as much for her singing. The iconic hot pants of Spinning Around were still five years in the future. Chris Evans looked as though he had been modelled in the act of stooping to speak to her and there is lots I could say but won't about the suit...!

We enjoyed the rooms with past and present royalty and the tour finished with a short ride through a sort of steam punk London, probably before the term "steam punk" came in to being(?) We came out into winter and decided to walk down to the West End shops.

Our route took us through some uniform and rather unappealing streets though, behind some of these windows in Harley Street, people were making in that one afternoon more money than I would see in a year or three...

And so we reached Oxford Street. Routemaster buses were still to be seen in profusion, though equally in evidence were other more recent double decked buses. At least the horrendous far-too-long bendy buses had yet to infest the capital.

We had a look round a few of the larger shops, bright and seasonal with Christmas goods. This is John Lewis. Easily spotted, he is the one turning away from the camera behind the table on the top floor...

Coming down the escalators in Debenhams where some awesomely large Christmas baubles were hanging down the stairwell!

We walked the length of the street to Marble Arch and then came back down the other side of the street, starting to feel cold and a bit peckish as the sky got darker. The Christmas Lights came on and we decided to have a look at the posh end of the West End shops and find Bond Street. Which we shall, in the next entry, bumping into a rather well known face!

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