On train journeys and being trapped in Harrods

I took a trip to visit my oldest friend’s new home in Lahndahn Town. The train journey is just a smidge too long. I quite enjoy the first couple of hours. Two hours of peace with a book, music and the option to go for a wee on my own is rare treat as a mum of three. As it tips into hour three I get fidgety. The velour of the train seat is making my arse itch, and there is no dignified way to scratch oneself in public. I have eaten sweets right up to the teetering edge of nausea. My tired iPod’s battery has given in. The women in the seat behind is telling a tale of suburbia that is lacking enough sordid details to be of much interest. The tube encasing of train seems to be squeezing tighter. Still, only 45 minutes to go, less if I poke the boring lady in the eye with my pocket comb in order to stop her mid-dog-grooming saga.

I resist the urge to arrive in Central London via the means of police car under arrest for assault with a deadly hair styling weapon, and instead tick down the last minutes with my thumbs shoved in my ears, which serves the purpose of both drowning out the witter and stabilising the pressure in my ears after repeated tunnel time.

Speaking of tunnels, am I the only one, who if the tunnel lasts a bit longer than you expect, starts to wonder if reality stopped existing and your train is the only survivor, hurtling on through black nothingness?! Just me?! Shit.

Then hooray, Waterloo is here and once I have done the obligatory Abba chorus in my mind, I plunge into the chaos of commuters and fancy dress bestowed stag/hen people, find my mate and head off to start our plans for the day.

Our plans are not complex. Get cultured, get stuffed, get drunk. The three stalwarts of child free time. Our quest starts with a plan to visit the V&A to tick off the cultural thing.

We burst forth from the bowels of Kensington to find all the waters of the world falling from the sky, so decide to divert into the nearest place of shelter. This happens to be Harrods.

I have never been in there before. Not really my scene, but anything is better than drowning on the street. To begin with it was fun. Huge colourful rooms of chocolate, and toys, and weirdness. Then you discover you are trapped, there is no way out, there are no blue lines to guide you like in Ikea, no maps to plot your escape, just series upon series of rooms filled with bewilderment and under water scooters.

We found ourselves on the bizarre Egyptian Escalator, and half expecting to come across Nicholas Cage on a mission to solve an ancient riddle, we rode down past fake treasures. It felt like a queue at a theme park, I was hoping our final destination was to be a serpent roller coaster. Sadly the bottom of the escalator bore only a somewhat bizarre statue of Diana and Dodi in nymph like poses, and not even a speed bump of a thrill ride. Still, there was at least an exit into the real world, and for that we were grateful.

We scampered up the road only to find a lengthy queue weaving it’s way some distance from the doors of the museum. It did not take long at all to make the decision to skip culture and go directly to a pub. We did after all happen upon some modern art in Harrods, so our day had not been utterly devoid of the stuff, even if it was of questionable taste.

Pubs are good aren’t they. They have places to sit and they sell delicious pints and that. I like them, who wants to see a bunch of old wedding dresses anyway, not when the alternative is a nice pint of bitter shandy.




In search of food we tipped up at Ed’s diner, where we twirled on our bar stools at the counter, popped Elvis on the jukebox, ate burgers as big as our heads, and dreamed of simpler times while paradoxically instagraming our fun.

London is bloody knackering if you are from the sticks like me. The hours of my brain microprocessing the information required to manoeuvre my capacious arse through busy umbrella wielding streets meant I was ready for a bit of peace.

We headed back to my pals new pad in Ladywell (which is now my new favourite euphemism). It was my first visit and what a gorgeous new home, all white and tidy with lovely knick knacks and artworks adding colour and personality.

We drank rum and went through the lines of the play she has coming up. Her with a perfect American accent. Me with a dubious Spanish one. We have been friends for 25 years. More than half our lives. Through school and college and first boyfriends and first husbands and children and divorces and a lot of rum and a lot of cake. She is family. We slip into each other’s company so easily and it is always such fun, falling into our respective beds at 1 ish, lightly rum sozzled and tummies aching from giggling.

Sunday morning papers, croissants and coffee in a gorgeous patisserie, the type with a tumble of toys for small people, and people lounging with their newspapers while babies gnaw on corners of pain au chocolat. Cheeky toddlers making me yearn to see mine, less than 24 hours away and I am already missing my smallest chap. Parenting a young child is such a physical act, my body feels quite lost without the constant tugs, hugs and carries. Still, time is ticking and soon I will be speeding my way down the tracks, back to my children and my beloved, refreshed by a break and truly eager to see them all.

I am writing this on the train. England’s greenest flashing past my windows. I have run out of sweets, finished my book, scoffed the baguette purchased hurriedly at the station. I am typing away on my phone which misinterprets every key my fat fingers jab at, meaning by the time this ends up on the blog it may have evolved to be somewhat different to the unexpurgated version tripping direct from brain to screen now . I will have to figure out what ‘bumping pus’ was an autocorrect of for example. Still. The gist will remain, I had a lovely weekend, and I hope you did too.


Love Miss Cisco XXX

I am delighted to be shortlisted in the Laugh category in the BiB awards, if I have occasionally made you smile with my moaning and sarcasm thenย I would love a voteย here!



  1. Pingback: On train journeys and being trapped in Harrods
  2. May 12, 2014 / 9:24 am

    Haha this really made me giggle! I also have to sing Abba whenever I see a sign for Waterloo! It gets kinda annoying! I can’t say I do the tunnel thing though but I bet next time I am in one it will pop to mind!

  3. May 12, 2014 / 10:09 am

    I know what you mean, every time we visit London I get so exhausted and feel I actually have to recover for a day or two, which is kinda weird for someone who grew up and worked in a city that’s even more manic than London! ๐Ÿ™‚ x
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  4. May 12, 2014 / 10:30 am

    It sounds like a hectic weekend! Not surprised you were happy to find a pub after getting lost in Harrods!

  5. May 12, 2014 / 10:53 am

    I too was a bit bemused by Harrods and did wonder if my sister and I would ever get out but if you’re going to get trapped with anyone I guess an old friend is the way to go.
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  6. May 12, 2014 / 11:17 am

    Cracking post – so much to chuckle at. I am going to have a meal in the food hall at Harrods next time we go to London because my son and his girlfriend did that a couple of weeks ago. Husband and I had found a sandwich somewhere but the teens were living the high life!
    Trish recently posted…Go Native Hyde Park – live like a local in a serviced apartmentMy Profile

  7. May 12, 2014 / 11:28 am

    Sounds like it was a lovely trip – I always get lost when I go to Selfridges…I don’t think I’ve ever made it up past the ground floor!!
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  8. May 12, 2014 / 12:31 pm

    Oh nice! Time away is always good and though you get the tug on the heartstrings when you see other little ones (only cute well behaved kids do it though, see one in full blown paddy mode and you end up feeling smug), you end up going home full of a new lease of life!
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  9. May 12, 2014 / 12:46 pm

    Another one here who needs “recovery time” after a day in London – but then I do take kids with me and it’s usually a hospital trip so I guess that might be why!
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  10. May 12, 2014 / 2:39 pm

    This has made me giggle. Definitely the only option to retreat to the pub before anything else went amiss. Old friends are the best to catch up with. Glad you had a good weekend.
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  11. May 12, 2014 / 4:24 pm

    ahah soo funny, I have not been to london since i was about 11 years old a very long time would love to go againx

  12. May 12, 2014 / 5:19 pm

    And what a lovely weekend you had…. love how you got trapped in Harrods, sounded quite weirdly scary though, like an over the top ghost train ride. Sounded so nice spending time with such a good friend! X
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  13. May 12, 2014 / 5:25 pm

    Sounds like a fun weekend. Harrods is weird, always jam packed, never anything to buy and I can never find my way out either. It would be fab with the IKEA blue lines, you should suggest it to them x
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  14. May 12, 2014 / 7:05 pm

    I admit now, i laughed all the way through this post (and now i have waterloo in my head!!!) ๐Ÿ˜‰ I haven’t been in london in years and i am so desperate for a visit! I am hoping to plan one in the next month or so x

  15. May 12, 2014 / 7:41 pm

    Well that long train journey was obviously good for your blogging then as that post is brill. I have never been to Harrods but once went into a similar place in Paris and genuinely thought that I might be there for life. It sounds like you had a lovely time with your friend and you deserved some child free time, but I know what you mean, as much as you yearn for some time to yourself, you just miss them all too much
    Nikki Thomas recently posted…What are your favourite family meals?My Profile

  16. May 12, 2014 / 8:26 pm

    Great post!! I actually really like the bizarreness of Harrods — it’s another world! I haven’t seen the Dodi and Diana statue before though so must remember to check that out next time! It sounds like a great weekend though – lovely to come home refreshed and ready for home!
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  17. May 12, 2014 / 8:30 pm

    great post – just what i needed to make me giggle this evening!
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  18. May 12, 2014 / 9:57 pm

    What a brilliant weekend, I love your plans ‘get cultured, get stuffed, get drunk’ – sound like a perfect way to spend a couple of child free days to me! Fab post ๐Ÿ™‚
    LearnerMother recently posted…Right here, right now – my biggest boyMy Profile

  19. May 12, 2014 / 10:14 pm

    I love your prose style, it does make me giggle (in a good way). I think I have Harrods on the brain today as have just been talking about Harrods. Maybe I’m going to inherit the Al Fayed fortune due to some unknown family connection… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Glad you were not arrested for assault with a hot curler, and had fun with rum and pastries. Sounds like you had a blast!
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  20. May 13, 2014 / 3:06 am

    What a lovely memory of the weekend, sounds like a very special friendship. Lol maybe you should contact Harrods and suggest that they get some blue lines like IKEA.

  21. May 13, 2014 / 3:11 am

    Ahh, I love this post so much. It really takes me right into central London. Like you. I never quite got the hang of it – London’s fun but it’s nice to get back on a train to somewhere a bit quieter too. I never knew that Harrods was so bonkers, but love the sound of your diner – yum! x
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  22. May 13, 2014 / 6:57 am

    Sounds like you had an amazing time, always wondered what a child free train journey feels like lol (heads off singing Waterloo)
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  23. May 13, 2014 / 7:00 am

    Fabulous post. You paint such a vivid picture. I can imagine typing that on the train on the return would have made the journey go a lot faster than the first one. I’ve never been to Harrods, but it sounds pretty horrific.
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  24. May 13, 2014 / 7:43 am

    I love a long train journey, because no one can make me do 15 other jobs at the same time! Sounds like you had the best of times; and I’ll be singing Waterloo all day!

  25. May 13, 2014 / 2:04 pm

    Oh Harrods. I have good and bad memories related to the shop! How i wish i was there right now! Funny writing Sonya!
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  26. May 13, 2014 / 5:45 pm

    Ha ha I love your humor. I’ve been to London quite a few times and although I do enjoy it when I’m there I don’t enjoy the train journey either and if it’s by bus it’s 100x worse!
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