Last weekend was the much awaited trip down to London to see McFly at the Royal Albert Hall with my best friend. I classed this as another birthday treat as my friend had very kindly given me the ticket for free. For weeks now I’d been getting more and more excited as the date loomed ever nearer. I’d even go so far as to say I was more excited for this than my birthday – after all we get older every year, but it’s a rare treat indeed to go see McFly’s 10th anniversary show at the RAH! I got the morning train down to London Kings Cross from Newcastle. I much prefer getting an East Coast train when I travel because their customer service is excellent. Needless to say it was a quick, relaxing trip down. It’s amazing what a good playlist and brilliant book can do to pass the time.
Now I’ve been to London a handful of times, but it’s always been as part of a group such as guides or school. Trying to navigate around lunchtime London traffic on your own is not easy. There was construction work going on at Kings Cross when we pulled in, so I ended up following the wrong set of directions to the tube. After ten minutes of walking in the wrong direction, I eventually managed to locate the correct tube station for those of us travelling without an Oyster card. My friend had already texted me the instructions on which ticket to buy from the man in the booth and how to get to Victoria station. I clearly had ‘tourist’ stamped on my forehead because I was both awed and disgusted by the attitude of the locals I witnessed. Whenever I travel, I always try to blend in as much as possible, but my goodness how loud, abrupt and crowded does London want to be?! It probably didn’t help that I got slightly lost again when I got off the tube at Victoria, as I’d misread my text and went looking for a Costa in the bus station, rather than staying in Victoria train station. Nevertheless, I did find my friend and from there it was a quite stop at M&S for lunch whilst we decided where to wander.
In the end we opted to be typical tourists and check out Buckingham Palace because it was within walking distance and I’d never been before. We decided to just admire the outside of it though as it would have been £17 each to go inside. That was the student price as well! Again I felt like a right tourist, but this time in a good way as it looked lovely in the sunlight and the water fountain was pretty. Shame they were busy draining the water away when we were there. We took a couple of photos, including one of the patrolling guard. From there it was another short walk to Hyde Park. It’s a good job we didn’t rely on our phone sat navs to get us there as the route we walked took about half the projected mobile route. The wonders of technology eh?
We thought we went past the Marble Arch, but that wasn’t until later on that we saw it. Instead we took some pictures of a prettier arch which was also made of marble. I was really looking forward to wandering around Hyde Park, especially along the Serpentine, as it features a fair bit in certain historical romance series that I read. Yes I’m that sad, but it lived up the imagination. We decided to pay £12 each to use a pedalo out on the Serpentine for an hour. Something a little bit different, but definitely worth the money as we had such a laugh. It got us in such a good mood for the concert. When we were back on dry land, we bought proper ’99s’ (for £2.10!) with monkey’s blood (strawberry sauce for you weird folk) because it was too sunny not to really. As we were walking back, a squirrel came right up to us and sniffed my hand! I’m use to wild red squirrels that hide from people rather than this bold little critter. We were so startled that we were a little late in getting a photo. From Hyde Park we walked to Oxford Street because what trip to London would be complete without a bit of window shopping? We past the proper Marble Arch and then absorbed the fashions and passions of Oxford Street. We went to Hamley’s as well – it’s the one place were everyone is a kid! The toys were just… wow. Although the singing alarm cloud was a bit out of tune when it was programmed for my name. I’m sure my housemates would have greatly appreciated that in the mornings.
We ended up at ASK Italian near the RAH for tea as I had a voucher from VoucherCodes – a website/app that I highly recommend for restaurant deals. The voucher was for two course for £10.95 each. Now given that my main alone was that price, it was a very good deal. We shared a bottle of rose with our meal and the whole thing was delicious. I’ll definitely go back to an ASK branch. While we were waiting for our bill, we got chatting to the ladies on the table next to us as they were also going to see McFly. We walked from the restaurant to the RAH – it was certainly a day of leg work!
Now I have always wanted to visit the RAH and I especially wish to see the Doctor Who Prom there. However getting to see McFly there was pretty spectacular. The building is absolutely stunning. We arrived early to buy some merchandise – we both bought tour t-shirts and I bought the poster for my uni room while my friend bought the programme. It was then to find out just how close to the front we were. Oh my days we were eight rows from the stage! Given that we were in the stalls, I was expecting the view to be a bit limited but they were the best seats I’ve ever been in! We could’ve walked on the stage we were that close! I honestly don’t think I can convey just how excited we were. McFly were amazing. They did a great mix of their usual numbers as well as the ones on the albums. Dougie even did Transylvania on the organ! Ahh it was just superb. The boys were then joined on stage by the members of Busted that matter (Matt and James) which was like my childhood on stage. I love Busted and to hear them with McFly was just amazing. Tom played a hilarious song he’d composed called ‘McFly the Musical’ summing up the past ten years. It needs to be on the next album! Galaxy Defenders (McFly fans) are by far the best behaved fans because they respect the boys and are genuinely happy when one of them gets engaged/married, and you got that atmosphere at the event. Yes we screamed/sang/danced etc but nobody attempted to storm the stage and everyone was just very happy to be there and taking part in the event. It was such a fantastic evening, by fat the best concert I’ve ever been to, and well worth the trip down the country. Some fans had travelled from around the world, just to see McFly. Now that is true dedication.
After all the excitement, it was time to travel to Oxford to crash at our best friends uni place. We had to get the tube to Victoria then wait a bit for the Oxford Tube. The Oxford Tube is in fact a bus, and from what I’ve gathered, has always been a bus. That is just crazy Southern logic really. It’s quite a swish bus mind – plush seats, free WiFi and sockets to charge your stuff while you travel. That’s better facilities than most train services! It took us nearly two hours, but eventually we arrived at our friends accommodation. It was literally a case of ‘Hello, lovely to see you, thanks for letting us crash here and for putting our bedding out’ then sleep. It was nearly two am by that point so I think it was allowed.
I eventually woke up around 11.20, which was rather late for me, but I was shattered. We had brunch at Costa – pulled pork wrap, chocolate orange window and hot chocolate – such a healthy way to start the day! We spent the day wandering Oxford, mainly window shopping, although I did buy a giraffe scarf. Oxford is a lovely historic town, like a more expensive version of York, with even more tourists and weirdly loads of kids wandering about in their uniforms. On a Saturday. Apparently they were from a local private school, but we never quite got to the bottom of why they were doing it. We ended up heading back to our friends as we were still fairly tired. Our friend met us just after five as she had been in training for her uni job. After a little chit chat, she took us on a guided tour of her collage and then Oxford as we walked to the train station.
It had all been going really well and we’d had a lovely trip, until our train pulled in at Birmingham New Street and all the drunken football fans piled into our carriage. The seat reservation signs were off so they got a little arsey with some customers who had reserved their seat, but the rest of the carriage told them to pack it in. We were then subjected to their singing/chanting, swearing, shouting… it was just obscene. They had no respect for the rest of the carriage and instead seemed to think it was their right to behave in such a manner. It was 7.30pm and there were children in our carriage! I don’t care what other people think, there is no need or excuse for such disgusting behaviour. I even said so to one of the women who seemed to think the fact that they were football fans was acceptable. The police got on the train to sort them out as someone complained to the conductor about them. One fan in particular became aggressive towards them and we had to wait another hour for them to be escorted off the train, even though we had two stops between the police boarding and leaving. The woman I spoke to started to make her voice heard after the aggressive fan was tackled at the platform for trying to attack a policeman. Again there’s no excuse for behaving so ridiculous and if he’s going to try to harm a policeman, he deserved his treatment. That woman then got into a heated debate with the elderly gentleman who made a formal complaint/statement to the police. After a few minutes it died down and we thought everything was back to normality. Unfortunately we weren’t destined for a quiet five hours. A woman at the back, again rather drunk, began singing Disney songs full belt. At least it was child friendly, but still. We just wanted her shut up and to get home. Then the two girls opposite us began a rather deep philosophical conversation about languages and religion. They’d only just met as well! I focused on my book and playlists instead. Then at Durham we were greeted by some drunk students making their way to Town for night out. Needless to say they weren’t particular quiet either, our nerves were rather frayed and we simply wanted our beds. When we did arrived, we were greeted by our respective parents and taken home to recover from the whole experience. It was such a fantastic trip and despite the train home from hell, it was a cracking weekend away. Shame I had to go back to work for my last ever shift the next day.