|Harry killing time on the Jubilee Line|
Half way through pregnancy since I was living in East London and working in Wappin I decided I did not need to go Central London for a while. I simple did not fancy facing the masses whilst wearing my truly large and heavy bump. In fact the last time I remember going into the West End was in February when I treated by other half to the best burger and chips in town - at the Hawksmoor Seven Dials if you're wondering - followed by Shrek the Musical to celebrate his 40th birthday. Back then my bump was only small but it was already a challenge to dodge waves of lost tourists and rude Londoners mocking about Covent Garden
So by my maths I haven't been to that neck of the woods for about 9 months. When Harry was born my mum came to help us for a couple of months, I truly wanted to take her to the west end but that really was a forbidden destination for me at that time. In the end I shipped a friend all the way from Dublin to do the tourist thing with mummy as this was the first time she ever been to London.
When The Hawksmoor announced the soft launch of their new restaurant just by Piccadilly Circus I found that was the perfect excuse to venture into Central London to try their amazing new Surf and Turf type of vibe and being there catch up with my lovely friend SH.
I must admit in the very beginning I was a bit worried about going to the West End on my own with Harry as the other half couldn't join us this time. My main concern really was walking down Piccadilly with a pram and my precious little boy. The tube was also a bit of a challenge as not many stations have wheelchair access and I have never ever gone on the escalator with the pushchair so the whole logistics was a bit trickier than usual. Luckily Green Park station has lifts and although it took me 15 minutes and 3 lifts from platform to the street it certainly was better than having to go to Piccadilly Circus and hope for some good soul to give me a hand.
Thankfully Harry and I have been on buses, train, DLR and the tube many times since he was born, a proper little Londoner he is. Apart from one single episode on a very hot carriage of the district line when he was about 2 months old, the poor thing cried his eyes out and there wasn't much i could do really. In the end I was set at the platform in Mile End breastfeeding him while people ran from one train to another. Gladly on this trip he was his usual curious self looking at everybody in the tube until he got bored and decided to play with his hands until nodding off to sleep.
Once we got to the street the actual trip to the Air Street wasn't too bad but you sure feel the difference when you live in pram-town where everyone will let you pass because, of course, you have a baby with you. Not in Central London they don't. The ramps are narrower and crowded-er as well. Some people will tut at you because they need to rush by and you will tut at some other people because the are a group of 6 strolling around and feel the need to take over all the pavement.
In pram-town you apologize every time you notice there is someone waiting for you to move so they can carry on and you will always hear back: - no love, you are alright. Not in Central London you don't, if anything they will stand behind you checking their watches every 2 seconds just in case you lost the capacity to tell the time when you gave birth.
Still after 6 years living in London and visiting the West End in a regular basis I was alright with all that.
At the restaurant we had a lovely time despite of a very fragile Harry who is still teething and doesn't want much to do with anyone who isn't mum. That was a shame as he is usually a sweet thing around other people and would've normally loved to play with auntie SH. He did eventually hang out with her for a bit but done a bit more crying than I was expecting. Luckily auntie SH is used to that and I have by now developed this amazing skill which is; eating with the one hand. The food was truly fabulous as always but I'll be talking about that on a separated post.
Even going home after dark wasn't too bad of an experience so I am proud to say I been to Central London with Harry on my own and it all went well. Most importantly I was really happy to go out for a lovely meal with a very dear friend, it was good to feel like myself again. For a few hours - even though I had the baby with me and was still on breastfeed and a nappy change duties - I felt like something more than just Harry's mum and almost 5 months down the line that sure felt great.