Off to London yesterday morning, for the UK Bus awards ceremony. I sit on one of the judging panels - for the "people" awards - and as usual, I was looking forward to seeing the outcome of our decisions materialise.
We were a little early, so we took the opportunity to stop at Bank station, to get out into the fresh air and enjoy a coffee in the elegant surroundings of the Royal Exchange. This is such a grand part of London and one we always enjoy.
The awards themselves were held at Troxy, a restored Art Deco cinema, and amongst the usual razzamatazz of this kind of do, there was the added attraction of the magnificent Troxy Wurlitzer organ, played by Richard Hills, a fantastic organist who managed to come up with a suitably appropriate piece of music for every stage of the proceedings. Lunch was great too and sitting on a table with friends, some of whom we hadn't seen for years, the conversation never waned.
But good things come to an end and the beautifully laid table we sat down to only a couple of hours earlier was left in rather more disarray, with empty bottles, discarded flyers, pens and suchlike. "After the ball was over", eh?
Given the occasion and with plenty of time to spare before our train home, what better way to make our way to the station than to sit in the front seats, upstairs on a double decker? First, we took the #15 to Aldwych, enjoying the spectacle of the city from our prime location. It's a great route for sightseers, passing through the city and stopping at the Tower of London, St Pauls and continuing along Fleet Street and past the Old Bailey.
We changed onto the #23 at Aldwych, nabbed those same two front upstairs seats and settled in for the ride to Paddington Station. The Christmas lights in the Strand were looking good from here.
The #23 is another favourite route, continuing as it does, through Trafalgar Square and past our favourite Sofitel bolthole to Piccadilly and on into Regent Street.
The lights in Regent Street are so pretty and the whole area seems to be adopting the angel theme we loved last year, with variations in each street.
It looks like there is some kind of Advent calendar in the Oxford Street design, but we'll only see those if we make it up here again this side of Christmas, I suppose.
What better way to travel across London, then, particularly at this time of the year? Thankfully, we had plenty of time, though, because the traffic on Oxford Street was not running especially smoothly (understatement) and we could probably have walked it quicker! Still, we had chance to see (and enjoy) the innovative lighting effects on the pavement outside Boots. when most people are walking along with their heads down, looking at their phone or their feet, perhaps those snowflakes are in the best place?