I would like to proffer formal apologies for my non-attendance at Saturday's Inaugural Staff Meeting but, factoring in the time difference and all, I have a reasonable excuse - I read the memo too late and was already booked to go into Central London.
Getting off the train at Waterloo I took the Tube to Regent's Park. A mistake on my part but the walk down Great Portland Street onto Portland Place resulted in me ending up in front of my life's soundtrack - Broadcasting House.
I spotted the 'Bobbi Brown' counter and meandered over hoping they would give me a whole new look. Nothing. So I looked at the woman behind the Benefit counter meaningfully. She sat me down and proceeded to apply her products. It was only once my chin was being twisted in her firm grip that I took a proper look at her. A Yemeni drag queen with an obvious passion for turquoise eye shadow and Nefertiti eye liner applying a make-up line created by a company in San Francisco. This did not bode well. I made the decision to stay clear of Soho when I was out walking again.
By the time I escaped her potions, lotions and puce talons it was 12:30 and my meeting with my aunt was scheduled for 2pm. Turning left into Oxford Street I headed toward the first mandatory stop in any visit I make to the Big Smoke - Liberty of London then across Regent Street and down Savile Row and onto Old Bond Street for a look through the windows of all the flash jewellers. Heading onto Piccadilly I went past the Ritz and into Park Place to meet my very aged aunt at the Royal Overseas League Club.
Given that she is a few weeks off 81 and had spent the previous four days hitting the highlights of London - two theatre trips, visits to Patisserie Valery, walks around the galleries and just that morning a trip to get her hair done - I declined her offer to walk around Green Park and we sat and had tea in the gardens at the 'Club'.
Having exchanged all our news over a couple of hours I left to head back to Waterloo to get my train. Once back onto Piccadilly there was nothing for it but to head straight to Fortnums where the concierge of the China department tempted me to a weekend in London by telling me about the special Burleigh event happening in-store on Monday. I stayed strong and resisted but it was hard.
A tree grows even in Central London on this corner of Albemarle Street & Piccadilly.
Moving through London is a bit tricksy any day at 5:00 but on a warm(ish) Spring Friday the people were everywhere so rather than squeeze onto public transport I decided to walk across town.
In search of a present for destructoBoy I stared death in the eye and entered Lillywhites. Five floors of sporting goods and equipment. With my prize claimed and good mother staus assured I continued on, crossing Pall Mall and passing the Athenaeum Club I walked down onto The Mall.
(that tiny speck at the end is Buckingham Palace -honest)
Turning the other way I could see Big Ben at the far end of Whitehall.
With an hour and a half until departure I decided to walk up The Strand and cross the Thames up near Fleet Street.
Looking up the river The Palace of Westminster and The London Eye were silhouetted by the Constable-like clouds.
And then rounding the Imax I was at Waterloo Station with just enough time for a restorative drink before heading off into the sunset on my trusty Great Western steed.