Sunday, 10 June 2012

One Hour Away

It’s 1:52pm on Sunday afternoon and, after promising myself to dedicate my day of rest to writing, sewing and other craftiness, I have only just sat down to my computer.  My resolution to also go for a jog is partly to blame, as is run of the mill housework and a rather shoddy 10am start - particularly poor as I was in bed before midnight. 
I would of course have got some of these tasks out of the way yesterday, but I was in Cambridge.  My friend and I decided that we were overdue a girly get-together and, as she lives near Peterborough, we decided that it would make a good meeting point.  Not only is it a mere 45 minutes away from London (and 50 from Peterborough), it offers everything a couple of girls could need on a day out - restaurants, shops and, for when shopping gets too much, the good old pub.
Of course, it offers much more.  There’s punting – and having eyed up some of the, er, punters, we were both quite tempted.  Then there are all the lovely old college buildings, where my chum informed me you can go inside and see original textbooks that are hundreds of years old by the likes of Charles Darwin.  Pretty cool.  Along with the walking tours, bike hire and a smattering of high calibre buskers, we could have kept ourselves busy for an entire weekend – which we vowed (over our second beer) to do with our men this summer.
You see, another thing I love about London is, when I start to hate it – or just need a break from concrete – it is easy to escape.  A few weeks ago I met a group of friends in Peterborough.  Okay, I agree, not an obvious mini-break destination, but I actually had a lovely time.  Saturday evening was spent at the dogs, and despite a marked lack of profit at the end of the night, it was hard not to get caught up in the excitable atmosphere and fun was had by all.  On the Sunday we wandered around the cathedral which, with its unusual wooden panelled ceiling and the workings of the original clock on display, was certainly worth a look.  Then, of course, there was shopping, where I was successful in finding a stone-coloured shrug for my hols and a birthday present for another of my friends.  In true Shelly style, the day ended in the Beehive pub where I sampled a couple of beers from an extensive collection and munched a bowl of chunky chips before heading back to the station.
There are loads of other places you can get to within an hour of Kings Cross.  When a friend lived in Hertford I often enjoyed pottering out to see her – and a rather chilled weekend of country walks, pubs and amateur dramatics at the tiny theatre.  And there is always Brighton.  Most excitingly though, whilst walking through St Pancras station this week, I noticed that they have a strain service that goes directly to Margate – via Broadstairs.  Me thinks I shall be heading out that way again soon for some quality vintage shopping and further exploration of Margate’s up and coming arts scene.  Hell, after spending four nights in a self catering apartment several times the size of my own (with the added bonus of a sea view), I think I shall be investigating house prices too. 
But, in the meantime, I think a few more day trips are in order.  I just need to decide where to go next...

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