Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

It wasn’t all for me, I promise…

I am shattered. If it was down to me, I would go straight back on holidays right now. Today, for instance, my daughter was finishing school at 2.30 pm. How am I supposed to get anything done? I couldn’t help thinking that if you arrive late for school, you might bump into those who leave early. How do women work in this country? But miracles do happen: yesterday, I was invited by the lovely Charlotte of @LDNWalks for a secret pub tour. This was exactly what I needed: I met fellow bloggers, including my old friend Flora @AccidentalLDNr (old because we have known each other for more than two years, which is a long time in the blogging world. She is obviously very young and also very bright). I met other talented bloggers (and they were so young. Sigh), namely: @SquibbVicious @MissKatyEnglish  @whoismilly  and found an unexpected ally in gin. Who would have thought? After all, it is only berries, right? And as I am not a huge fan of beer, the girls made me discover gin. What a fantastic medicine ! And boy I loved it so much that I couldn’t be stopped…My head hurts today. 




I was a bit worried that we were going to walk a lot. There was no need to. We ended up drinking a lot, and frankly the walk was the least of my worries! We started the tour in Blackfriars, and Charlotte was waiting for us with pink balloons (I promise) at the station. She took us to five different pubs around the city, and I am ashamed to admit that I knew none of them. It looks like I have been far too reasonable. I don’t want to spoil the surprise if you take the tour, and I will only say that we went to an Art Deco one, a haunted one, the oldest in London, one that specialise in gin -of course-, and also a literary one. Each pub was a gem for different reasons. I think that I will return to each of them to spend a relaxed evening and grab a proper bite. Charlotte was very knowledgeable and explained lots of historical facts such as the origins of some street names and the colourful life of Henry the VIIIth. She even said that champagne was invented by an English scientist before the French claim they did, and although I was initially offended, after a couple of gin & tonic, who the hell cares? Champagne will always be champagne, but last night was a gin sort of night.

St Bride’s church: wedding bells anyone?



However, the real encounter of the evening was the one with London. I thought I knew it all. Well, I clearly didn’t. If you look closely enough, London is full if hidden treasures: old prisons in the basement of fancy pubs, churches with funny names (St Andrew by the wardrobe, anyone?), old buildings that look like they will crumble any minute next to brand new ones looking like swords, viaducts without rivers, old palaces where history was made. The list is endless. And I fell in love all over again with London. And with gin. 

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • I am surprised your longest Blogging friend wasn’t there but that very same night he was attending The London Bloggers Meetup in The George at the other end of Fleet Street. He may also be something of an authority on the 33 Wren churches still standing out of the 53 (including St. Paul’s) which he rebuilt after the Great Fire of London. He could, for instance, have told you that a parishioner of St. Andrew by-the-Wardrobe for 15 years was an early blogger called William Shakespeare. The unusual name came from a nearby building called The Royal Wardrobe where Edward III stored the “royal accouterments”, as you do!

    • You are such a fountain of knowledge. That said, Charlotte will be doing other tours for bloggers, you should go!

    • You know moi, I’m too shy ……

    • Do you want me to casually mention your interest to her?

  • Sounds fun!…except for the hangover. But I’m curious. What was the pub tour for? Was it purely pleasure or business? My introverted self has yet to find the guts to hang out with blogger friends IRL. Hoping it’ll happen sooner than later đŸ˜‰

    • It was just a nice way to catch up with Flora, and I wanted to know London a bit better (as you know, with kids and everything, I never have time to go out!).

  • Somebody will read the above comment and then read that Christopher Wren built 52 churches in the City of London. This is perfectly true but he built one, and only one church, outside the city. I have always loved his epitaph, written by his son and also an architect, Christopher Wren, on his tomb in St. Paul’s. I cannot think of a more perfect sign off.

    SUBTUS CONDITUR HUIUS ECCLESIÆ ET VRBIS CONDITOR CHRISTOPHORUS WREN, QUI VIXIT ANNOS ULTRA NONAGINTA, NON SIBI SED BONO PUBLICO. LECTOR SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS CIRCUMSPICE Obijt XXV Feb: An°: MDCCXXIII Æt: XCI. ”

    which translates from Latin as:

    “Here in its foundations lies the architect of this church and city, Christopher Wren, who lived beyond ninety years, not for his own profit but for the public good. Reader, if you seek his monument – look around you. Died 25 Feb. 1723, age 91.

    • I love all the anecdotes about London! Thanks for sharing, David!

  • I’m planning a trip next summer to London, after the success of the Paris, Loire Valley and Normandy trip this year.

    St Andrew by the Wardrobe?

    I haven’t had gin since the early years in college, when we used to sell recyclables (newspapers mostly) to collect enough for a bottle of gin and a bottle of lime cordial and drink all afternoon.

    I couldn’t do a pub crawl now. Half a drink is all I can take.

    • Same here. After one class I was wasted. But, between you and me, it was totally worth it. Totally…

  • Ah well it’s drinks nite tonite for me.. so perhaps I shall have that gin and tonic after all.. hope I can come to London someday … u make me want it so bad! đŸ˜‰

    • I really hope that you will have as much fun as I did!

  • Sounds like an interesting tour…
    Hopefully, should I go, the pubs will serve decent wine. (My recollection of London pubs is that they didn’t.)
    Gin, beer, scotch all leave me cold. Obviously, gin made you bold!

    • I didn’t know that I liked it, but, as it turns out, I really did! What a lovely night! Oh, and I am so sorry that gin doesn’t do it for you…

  • you should try sloe gin, it’s marvellous stuff

    • How come I didn’t know about this? Thanks for the tip!

  • So I feel a tiny but sorry (and responsible) for your headache, but it was such fun to have you with us! Let’s do some more gin soon please.

  • Sounds like a magical evening!

  • My mum swears by gin. You’re in good company. đŸ™‚ Pub crawl sounds fun.

    • I knew virtually nothing about gin. Where the hell have I been?

  • Sounds like a very fun night, for you and the UK. L’chaim!