Happy New Year folks, sorry It’s took me so long to let you know about our last trip in “Cis”. We went down to London and stayed over New Year at Abbey Wood Caravan Club site with the intention of seeing the fireworks on New Years Eve.
We traveled down on the 30th December arriving at lunchtime and spent the rest of the day and most of the next day just chilling with a bit of a walk around Abbey Wood.
On New Years Eve, having got ready in our finery, we headed into London on the train at around 4.30 to meet up with Jane’s brother Glen, sister in law Polly and Nephew Daniel and four of their friends. We met up at Waterloo station and walked down to Festival pier at the back of the South Bank Centre.
We had booked to spend the evening on a party boat on the Thames. The trip was to include a few trips up and down the river and mooring up later to see the fireworks. It also included dancing on board to a disco, Hot Buffet and included drinks. At £190 it was quite expensive but we thought as a special occasion it would be worth it ( Oh how wrong we were !! )
Polly & Glen who live in Australia now had done a similar trip last year in Sydney having a lovely boat, cooked dinner, drinks and mooring up for a superb view of the Opera and Bridge. It being down under was of course about 30 degrees warmer than what it was in London.
We arrived at about 5.45 and began queuing to get through the barriers to even get anywhere near the pier. About 45 minutes later we were let through the barriers and arrived at the pier where we waited another hour and a quarter before we could board the boat, which from the outside looked basic but functional. By this time we were quite chilled although it was about 8 degrees Centigrade and it could have been freezing or even raining ( Count our blessings ! )
Having got on the boat we were given some cheap fizzy stuff passed off as Champagne and parked our butts on the table nearest the bar. Luckily we were at the front of the queue and not at the back as many people had to stand up all night.
So, now settled we ventured to the bar. The only draft beer was Carling Larger which as you will know is not my tipple and we had to make do with cans of John Smiths Bitter which was at least chilled ( probably been stored outside ! ). The Ladies fared worse as the ( chilled ? ) Red wine could be used to remove the barnacles off this rust-bucket which we were now risking our lives in. The White wine was only marginally better but at least was expected to be chilled.
So kicking off the nights entertainment, the DJ cranked up the Bass and thumped away incessantly for the next few hours. Glen was heard to say “What the *%+@# is this he’s playing ?” (not Glens style of music !, I knew none of the songs either )
We sailed up to Greenwich and down to Southwark Bridge a few times and partook in a few of the meager libations before the Hot Buffet was served. I use the term Hot Buffet very loosely as we were given a cardboard box with some lukewarm items which may well have passed for food in a former Soviet Gullag but defied any resemblance to what we were expecting.
Each box had thrown in it as quickly as humanly possible by the two servers the following items in no particular order: one very small mince pie, one small sausage roll, one pig in blanket ( tough ! ), one cajun chicken piece ( a strange orange looking, dry, tastless enigma ! ) a chicken skewer ( could be used as brake linings on an intercity express ! ) one dry bread roll with unspreadable butter, a small quiche ( flavour unknown ! )
On seeing what Culinary delights were on offer, Glen sensibly refrained from indulging. ( got a Hot Dog later, good move Glen ) The rest of us attempted to eat some of what was in the box in an attempt to lessen the effects of any alcohol imbibed.
Having dined, the boat moored up around 11.00 and so some of us made our way out onto the miniscule standing area at the front of the boat ( room for about 30 at a push ! ) and awaited the start of the countdown and the fireworks. The boat, unfortunately moored up sideways onto the London Eye and against the South bank behind several other boats, thus giving us a very restricted view of the show. Jane had the best view as she left it too late to venture outside and watched it on the TV inside the boat after giving the bar staff an ear bashing about not being moored across the river so people could watch the show through the windows.
Some of the guests on board, the VIP’s had paid £520 for the privilege of not queuing, and sitting on the upper deck. They had the same poxy food and the same crap view as the rest of us. We felt ripped off at what we paid, God knows how they must have felt !
After the fireworks the boat returned to Festival Pier where we disembarked and headed for our train at Waterloo. on arrival, we found the station fenced off and we were herded about a mile away from Waterloo before the barriers and Police allowed people to head back towards the station. Polly and Glen had also walked that way and instead of taking about 10 minutes to walk over Waterloo bridge they took about 1 1/2 hours to finally reach their hotel.
Jane and I decided to continue walking East as we could now see the Shard very near, where London Bridge station was and where we could catch our train back to Abbey Wood. We finally arrived back about 3.00 AM and hit the sack without a lot of rocking to send us off to sleep.
The next day we got up leisurely and met up with Polly and Glen in Greenwich for a few drinks and some decent food to eat. Unfortunately it was hammering it down all day and we tried our best to avoid most of the rain by nipping quickly between pubs.
At tea time having eaten, we said our fond farewells to Polly & Glen and they returned to their hotel and back to Australia whilst we returned to “Cis” for the rest of the evening and then drove steadily back to Nottingham the next day.
We had a great New Year despite the problems as we were with good company and we hope your New Year was without hitch and enjoyable. It seems so long ago now.
Our next trip is planned for March as we are going to Tenerife ( Yea, Sunshine !! ) in February and I am working in Liverpool so won’t get chance to take “Cis” for a run before then
catch us then
P & J xx