We arrived in Heathrow at 5:30 am, made short work of getting through customs and headed for the underground.
Getting to Greenwich required two changes, first at Green Park then on to the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf and finally the DLR to Greenwich. No stairs were required though which was a relief with all our luggage. Unlike our last trip where we had to carry them up three flights of stairs at Tower Hill station! Our apartment is only a few metres from the station and we had arranged before hand to book in early. Originally we weren't meant to book in until 3pm but as no-one was checking out we could head straight there. This meant we were in our apartment unpacked and having a cuppa all before 9am.
I'd been arranging with my sister-in-law to surprise my brother for his birthday.
They had arranged to come down to London for the day and have lunch at a restaurant in the O2 complex at 12:00.
So we got there at 11:30 and thought we'd go to the restaurant and wait at the table behind menus. However when we got there the restaurant didn't open until 12 so we couldn't get in. We didn't know which way they would be arriving and we didn't want Ted to see us and spoil the surprise. So we split up and kept look out. I spotted them heading towards the restaurant and so called Susan over. I thought once they walk in we can go over and creep up behind them, but instead of walking inside they walked past the restaurant and continued to head straight towards us.....panic!!! We dashed behind a wall and pressed ourselves as flat against the wall as possible (well as flat as my boobs will allow!!) I kept whispering "don't look this way, don't look this way" Luckily they didn't look in our direction and continued on. Once they were a few yards ahead of us we dashed into a bar which had just opened, out the other side and across into the restaurant. We ran upstairs and I tried to explain to the waiter what we were trying to do. I was so out of breath I just turned to Susan and said - "you explain". It must have been hilarious for anyone looking on.All we needed was the Mission Impossible theme to be playing in the background! The waiter agreed to let us hide on their balcony. A few minutes later we saw the family arrive and they were seated. My sister-in-law came up to the bar near the balcony and I managed to get her attention. Susan and I then walked out and sang "Happy Birthday" whilst Steph videoed. The look on everyone's face was priceless. Dare I say Ted was almost a tad teary! Hugs and kisses all round.
After lunch we went on the cable car. Great views of the Thames Barrier and the O2 from up there.
We had some refreshments in a local cafe then did the return trip back to the O2.
We couldn't all fit in the car so Ted and Danny took the car back to our Greenwich apartment whilst the rest of us got the river taxi. It's only one stop and when we got back to Greenwich it was teeming with nightlife. Buskers on the corner of our street playing jazz and blues and people milling around. There was a great atmosphere. We all went back to the apartment for a short rest then headed out to one of the local resaurants for dinner.
Steph had managed to secretly pack some spare clothes for everyone and we could all fit into the apartment. The couch comes out as a double bed and there was a travel cot in the cupboard we could use for Saffy as well as the two bedrooms.
Next morning we took a leisurely stroll around Greenwich and had breakfast at the Rivington Bar and Grill. Susan got in her first lot of black pudding, as well as eating mine and Teddy's as well!
The kids all had school the next day so by about 4pm everyone headed off.
It was so wonderful to see everyone. That's one of the problems with living so far away, you only see each other every few years.