One of the moderators on the main Ravelry machineknitting group (Ozlorna) has a daughter in London who is getting married this week, and she suggested we all met for a meal whilst she was here. Lots of discussion back and forth and we established we'd meet at Wagamamas in Leicester Square. Wagamamas was chosen because some of our party have food intolerances. The original plan was to meet by the Charlie Chaplin statue, but it turned out he's no longer there, and the Swiss building is also unrecognisable due to 2012 Olympic revamping.
I've had a stressful few weeks health-wise, thanks to gastro-enteritis and then a frozen shoulder, and I was suddenly sent to Holland last week, which always wrecks my sleeping patterns. So I was rather jittery about making sure we didn't miss anybody. London is a big place, full of strange-looking people, so we agreed I'd pack Flat Eric and some loud acrylic yarn so people could find us. This was based on my experience of the Birmingham Wagamamas, which is always packed. I've not been to London for two years, and didn't realise that in the Leicester Square area you are spoilt for choice restaurant-wise, so the Leics Sq one is a lot less rammed.
As it turned out, Saturday dawned grey and wet in Rugby, and himself decided he'd go to work, so he was anxious to drop me off as soon as possible. In fact, if he hadn't been dropping me off, he'd've been out the door at 7am I think. So I got to the station very early. Luckily I'd paid a bit more for a one-day travelcard, which meant I could get any train or tube. The local train and the fast train turned up at the same time - the first was packed, and I didn't fancy standing for 90 minutes with my poorly shoulder, but the fast train was only half-full so I jumped on that one. Got into London at just past 11am - was so stunned to be so early I checked my watch twice!
Got straight onto the underground - so glad I bought a ticket in advance, because the queue for the ticket machines was a nightmare - and found Leicester Square very easily. Wandered around looking for a birthday card (and then a pen to sign it with) for a friend, and then settled down at a pavement cafe within sight of Wagamamas, so I could look out for the others. The weather in London was fine, although I had packed for every eventuality. Spotted Hilarygermany (we met last year) and then she spotted Brother, and then we spotted the Australian contingent - Ozlorna and Ozism. Went down to the restaurant and Gillyr was waiting for us (and probably wondering where Flat Eric was). Ozism brought her ipad so we could chat to ChrysalisChris, who could hear us, but we couldn't hear her - Wagamamas is one of those restaurants where you can see right into the kitchen, so it's very noisy.
Had tried to work out the points beforehand (yes, I'm trying to follow WW again) but couldn't remember which was the lowest point thing so ended up going for ginger chicken udon because it's my favourite. And everyone was having pudding, yes, I know I should have resisted. I ordered white chocolate cheesecake but we got fudge cake by mistake, so we got that one for free - Ozism wasn't too impressed when I suggested we smear it into the ipad for Chrysalischris to enjoy.
There was some showing off of knitted garments - I only had the Noro Silk Garden cardigan I was wearing, as Flat Eric takes up a lot of space in a rucksack, and lots of photos were taken.
We were a good two hours in Wagamamas - nobody wanted to leave. Luckily it wasn't as packed out as the Birmingham one gets (London has several, Brum only one) so they didn't try and make us leave and we did leave a large tip :) We posed for a group photo at the entrance before going our seperate ways. Brother and I found a little pavement cafe around the corner and had another drink whilst we waited for her partner to return. I had made vague plans to visit Iknit and Loop, and perhaps Libertys, but decided that I really didn't need more yarn/fabric and I knew I'd feel compelled to buy something if I went in. Got back to the station and was home by 6pm - a mere 50 minutes on the train. Why do we need HS2 again? (the government are planning on cutting a new high speed railway through a swath of greenbelt to make it easier to get to London)
All in all, a lovely day. It was lovely to put faces to "Ravatars" - and we decided that one of Ozlorna's other offspring needs to marry a Canadian, so that she can visit ChrysalisChris and we can skype with her next time. I could have stayed all day and chatted!
This is a not-very-exciting pic of my sock on the train home :)