Endure 24 Part 1: The Whirlwind Catch Up
When Phil signed up for the 2015 Endure 24, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to sign up as Chief Supporter since it meant a trip back to London to see my friends.
On Thursday, I raced home from Swedish class to do a super speedy pack then headed out to Copenhagen airport. It still feels a little cool to go to a different country to catch a flight!
I’ll admit my eyes grew slightly watery when the plane landed at Heathrow and the pilot said “For those of you who live in London, welcome home”. Naturally that feeling wore off in an instant when I was jammed into the inter-terminal shuttle train and I had flashbacks to the smelly armpits and oblivious cut-me-off commuters I used to travel with every day. I do not miss that!
First stop was a delightful catch up with some lovely friends from Rock Choir. The best thing about three months apart is that we had great dinner conversation as we caught up on each other’s news. After a delicious Korean stir fry with giant prawn crackers, we had just enough time to pop over to the nearby church and listen to the new Eclipse Choir rehearsing. They sound amazing and I can’t wait to come back to hear them in concert.
My gorgeous friend, Liz and her husband Mark, kindly put me up for the night in their fabulously comfortable spare bed. I love their house because they have a large back yard full of swaying wild flowers, flitting birds and sunbathing foxes. It’s like they have their very own mini-meadow.
I’d scheduled Friday down to the last minute to maximise catch up time before Phil flew in on Friday night, but I’d cleverly allowed for a late start so there was time for a slow breakfast and a walk in the sunshine first up. Then it was on to the train into The City – the financial centre of London where I used to work.
I always laughed when my mother came to visit and complained about how London was so crowded. It never bothered me, in fact the buzz was what excited me when I first started working there, but now I can see exactly what she means! It was overwhelmingly loud. I had to time my run across the street through the traffic and I had to constantly weave to avoid men in business suits and the snap happy travellers that clogged the pavements. I’m definitely becoming a small-town bumpkin!
I started my whirlwind tour with pre-lunch with my ex-boss. It felt a little odd dipping my toes back in the world of insurance business talk – like revisiting a distant past life, but I love these meetings because he has a unique knack of reminding me that I’m capable of more than I think.
Forty five minutes later and I had to dash off to my lunch appointment. Jo and I have been having lunch at Las Iguanas in Spitalfields market for as long as I can remember. It’s our go-to lunch and gossip spot. We always start with the two-for-one Happy Hour Raspberry Coolers followed by chicken fajitas for me and a salad or curry for Jo. When we’re feeling the holiday vibe, we finish with one of their delectable desserts – churros for Jo and their award winning Tembleque (coconut pudding) for me. The service is always warm and efficient, and their outdoor undercover seating area is perfect for long lazy lunches watching the crowd peruse the markets.
All too soon, I had to leave Jo at Liverpool Street station and head back to my old office for coffee with my ex-teammates. I think I spoke a million miles an hour telling them all about my new life, but it was fun to be back part of the crew, participating in the gentle joking that happens between people who work together day in day out for many years.
Hours later, I emerged back into the street and joined the Friday evening tube crush headed for Heathrow airport to meet Phil for the true purpose of our weekend – the Endure 24. More on that coming soon…