Christmas and New Year.

I went to my niece’s in London for Christmas and then they went to Scotland on Boxing Day and I stayed at their place for a few days as my wife,Julie, was working in London.Boxing Day was a game of soldiers as the saying goes, I’d arranged a photo pass for the racing @ Kempton Park which is south west London and their biggest days racing of the year. I bought my ticket @ Swiss Cottage underground to Waterloo and overground to Kempton. When I got to Waterloo it was closed (No trains on Boxing Day!), so I asked how I could get to Kempton to be told I could get the Tube to Richmond and then catch a bus. At another window I heard another guy ask the same question (So obviously I wasn’t the only one not to know about the trains) I suggested we caught the tube to Richmond and then share a cab to Kempton which he agreed to. He was Irish and called Noel so we had a mutual moan about lack of info etc on website of Kempton and in the Racing Post but arrived @ Richmond and caught a taxi to the racecourse (£25 between us) arriving @ 12-30 – racing started @ 12-45, said our goodbyes and a fine day ensued only 1 winner but not too much damage. Last race was at 3-50 and I thought I would go to Kempton station and get a train back into London and link up with wherever it crossed the tube line I was on (Stupid boy Pike) there were no trains at all today. Catch a shuttle bus from the racecourse to Richmond, I got sent to 3 different places by 3 different people before I found the aforementioned shuttle bus in a car park @ the bottom end of the racecourse, I was then informed that I would have to pay another £2.00 to use the bus as the service was not free, paid and then sat there for another 20 minutes waiting for the bus to move eventually it did at 4-50 only to queue all the way out because of all the traffic! Got back to my nieces @ 6-30 having spent more than 4 hours travelling.On Friday I went in to Harrods to get pics of Lily Allen opening the sale. Arrived in plenty of time and blagged my way into the press area, it was rammed well over 30 photographers plus about 6 film crews. Get a few good pics of her arrival but then the pandemonium started. She went inside and everybody just ran after her it was chaos, after the initial opening we then spent the next 30 minutes racing through Harrods following Lily Allen & Mohammed Al Fayed to various departments, it was like a Benny Hill Chase sketch. Photographers, film crews, a Scottish piping band, plain clothes security and uniformed security all dashing through Harrods I hadn’t a clue where we were going, some photographers did as they were ahead of the pack when we arrived at some departments. My moment of luck came at the Cartier Dept. where myself and a security guard were the only ones blocking the only way in and out so I had the chance for some clear shots, the rest was just madness until the very end when I managed a few more reasonable shots. After it all a nice breakfast in Harrods restaurant and a box of Harrods biscuits in a carrier bag, so little rewards and a rest after all the mayhem.Last Wed (Jan 2nd) we went to Dublin for 4 days, again Julie was working on the Thurs & Fri, but had a fairly good time. Though it was a whole lot better once we swapped hotels. The first hotel the radiators in our room weren’t working and it was really cold, they had no other rooms and no spare heaters. Breakfast the following day was also stone cold in fact I suspect the bacon had spent the night in our room it was so cold, I cut mine up so they couldn’t send it out again to some other poor soul. On Thusday night we were woken by a club emptying @ 2-30 in the morning it was like a football crowd going past but after 1/2 an hour it quietened down only to start up again @ 3-30 when another club emptied. with Friday & Saturday nights to come the decision was taken to move to a better and quieter hotel. Friday night we went to a comedy club which was good fun and of course we had plenty to eat and drink throughout the visit. Saturday was spent hopping on and off a tourist bus going to St Patricks Cathedral and Kilmainham Gaol so plenty of photo opportunities.

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