Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Monday, 4 April 2011

That was the week that was....

...The end of a busy two weeks that has kept us away from our boat. This weekend saw us visit London again to catch up with our daughter, who flew in from her job in India for a flying visit to meet her new born nephew Ethan, and also a trip for us to the O2 arena, <Click> to see Peter Kay in The tour that doesn't tour - tour, in Manchester, London! We finished off with Sunday tea with Margaret's sister and her husband at their home near Reading. This is how it went.....

I don't much like driving to London these days,
with the congestion on the M6 and around the
capital city itself. However, this time it wasn't that
bad. We set off from home at about 4.30pm, Friday,
and had a clear run all the way, arriving at our
daughter's apartment, at around 8.30pm. I wonder
if the current high cost of fuel is starting to keep
traffic off the roads?
She owns her own apartment in a pleasant location which is a couple of miles outside the town centre of Wimbledon and only a few minutes walk to an underground tube station which gives access to Central London within 30 minutes. The street is made up of what were once affluent Victorian town houses, but most have now been converted into multi-occupancy apartment buildings except for a very few, owned by families who still have the means to own this type of property in such close proximity to London. On arrival, we opened up, got ourselves settled in and then ate at one of the many food outlets down on the main road towards Central London.

The next morning, the flight from India landed a little late, but we were now together once again for the first time since Christmas. After lunch the two of them went shopping in Colliers Wood, while I remained at home with the dog watching Time Team on TV. Shopping isn't my thing. At around 6.00pm Margaret and I set off to go to the O2 Arena at Greenwich.

I also don't much like travelling across London, and sometimes it is impossible by car. By far the most convenient means of travel is the Underground. Often busy and always bustling, it makes life at least bearable for travellers wanting quick access to work or entertainment in the city.
Our route tonight was Northern Line, via Bank, to London Bridge, change to Jubilee Line to North Greenwich. On exiting the station there, The O2 is facing you. The journey is approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
We arrived in plenty of time for the start of the show.

When you come out into the outside world again there is a shopping plaza with the arena itself in front of you. It is great to see that good use has finally been made of what could have been a very expensive white elephant when the Millennium Dome was constructed by the (then) government to celebrate the new century. Unfortunately, not much thought went into what purpose the structure was going to serve once built. I have no idea how much it has cost to get it where it is now, but it seems to be a vibrant place with shops, restaurants and of course the venue for entertainment and sport.

The area is host to many buildings of an unusual design, and the central business district of Canary Wharf is just across the way. This is the normal location of our daughter's work, when she is home.
Canary Wharf is served by the underground station just prior to North Greenwich, and the business district is then accessed by the Docklands Light Railway from there.

After entering the "dome", there are shops and restaurants on the perimeter.
Here is a little O2 trivia from their own website:

  • The O2 has an overall diameter of 365 metres, an internal diameter of 320 metres, a circumference of a kilometre and is 50 metres high at its central point
  • The twelve steel masts are 100 metres high
  • If you turned The O2 upside down, it would take Niagara Falls 15 minutes to fill it
  • Alternatively, you could fill it with 3.8 billion pints of beer or the contents of 1100 Olympic-sized swimming pools
  • The volume of The O2 is equal to thirteen Albert Halls ten St Paul’s Cathedrals or two old Wembley Stadiums
  • 18,000 double-decker buses could fit into The O2
  • The O2 is as high as Nelson’s Column
  • The Eiffel Tower could fit inside The O2 lying on its side
  • 12 football pitches or 72 tennis courts could fit in The O2
  • Entertainment Avenue is the same length & breadth as New Bond Street

There is parking space available for 2,200 private cars, and a seating capacity of up to 23,000. For Saturday night's show, which was an end stage event, I would estimate an audience of around half that, but every seat was taken. The arena will be known as The North Greenwich Arena for the purpose of the 2012 Olympics.

To the show itself. Peter Kay is a Bolton Comedian who has hit the big time, and for good reason. His humour is observational, and everybody who lives north of the Midlands can relate directly to the everyday anecdotes he so brilliantly conveys, from getting the "posh" Imperial Leather soap out for special occasions, to relating his Nan's views of 21st. century Northern life, with talk of "thighpods", "Facetube" and driving "erotically". And according to Peter, Sky TV is up there with running water and electricity in his life.
The encore was not to be missed. The O2 has been host to many high tech. rock concerts, and copes with that well. But, it needs to with the finishing act of the show which sees Peter leap onto the stage with his air guitar in the form of a garden shovel, to get the audience in a complete frenzy with his renditions from the Quo and Queen, complete with flame throwers, ticker tape explosions and pyrotechnics. The audience loved it, and it was a show not to be missed. This is a short clip of the audience during the interval, from our seats, which were right at the front. Couldn't have been better!

Sunday was a quiet day, and around lunch time we all left by car to travel to Reading for Sunday tea, before setting off home around 5.30pm.
Next week it's back to the peace and quiet of the boat!

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