Welcome Back Hazards!
I can’t believe that my blog is almost a month old already, doesn’t time fly when you’re truly having fun? From expecting nobody to even want to read my silly little ramblings about life to having an average of 6 views per post at the moment, not to mention the likes and follows that I have also received I truly couldn’t be more thankful for you all and the interactions you are doing each post and due to this I thought I would make this weeks Wednesday Wonderings a little more light hearted as I discuss how I was able to make the best of times out of a bad time in the world during the early stages of the Covid-19 Pandemic, So let’s get into it shall we?
Towards the end of 2019, My best friend and I decided to book a holiday to London at the start of 2020 where not only would we meet up for the very first time face-to-face as we had met online but also we would experience some things that we had never truly thought we would experience so soon in our lives. For you see both of us are very keen to learn about the history of our country as well as we both have a passion for musical theatre, the paranormal and real life true crime accounts and so after countless discussions we decided the ideal place for us to go would be to our countries capital as it offers the best of everything and so we took a chance and booked a week long stay in the city for the following March.
Saving up for the trip over the course of a few months we would start to hear reports of a virus that had been plaguing China, however, at the time we weren’t thinking much of how much it would effect us as well and so we decided to go ahead with the trip even though England had countless case reports of this new virus as the Government at the time didn’t seem to be to worried and so we would just go about our regular lives but would social distance and wash our hands regularly and then it came to the week of the trip. Finishing work the night before I was due to travel I would take the time to buy myself some supplies for the train journey through to see my friend the next morning as we had decided that the day before we would go to London I would travel to Wolverhampton to stop at hers before we would leave for London on the Monday Morning.
And then it would come time to leave, feeling well rested and all packed up I left for the train on that Sunday morning around 7am. The train journey would last around 4 hours in total and ran smoothly before I would disembark at the station where my friend had been waiting for my arrival. Heading back to hers to drop off my case and bags, we would go on to head out explore her area our first stop being to Costa Coffee as those who know me in real life will now how much I enjoy coffee thinking back now I can’t remember exactly what we ordered to drink that day but I know we did also buy a treat each as well to go with the hot drinks before we would go to the local shopping mall to buy some supplies for the long bus journey we had the next morning.
Buying food and drink for the journey to London we would head back to hers to settle down for the evening and prepare for the long bus ride ahead getting pizza to eat that evening as we just couldn’t be bothered cooking before spending the rest of the night watching some films one of them being the lion king before making sure everything was ready and heading to bed for the night knowing that we had to be awake at 5:30am to get to the bus for just after 7am for the holiday to officially begin for the both of us but it’s safe to say we didn’t end up getting much sleep that night… think of it like two children trying to sleep on Christmas Eve that is definitely the best way that I can put it but we were far to excited to sleep as neither of us had been on an extended vacation period for a few years before this.
The bus ride to London ran pretty smoothly that morning and arriving just after 1pm at Victoria Coach Station my friend and I decided to get things going by heading across the road to the Apollo Victoria Theatre where the musical Wicked is based in the attempt to buy tickets for the show that evening which we succeeded in doing so not only did we get tickets to see the show but we managed to get front row seats as well for a very reasonable price which we wouldn’t have been able to book in advance.
Heading to check into the hotel not long after buying the tickets to see Wicked that evening we noticed that the hotel that we had selected wasn’t as far away as we initially thought and so after around a 10 to 15 minute walk using google maps because we both suck at navigating in our real lives and didn’t want to get lost after first arriving (which we probably would have happened if it wasn’t for smartphones!) and so we arrived and checked in before heading to grab something to eat before napping after a long 6 hour bus journey before getting ourselves ready to go back to the theatre that evening to watch Wicked and this is where things started to go not as planned as either of us had planned.
Spending the best part of an hour to get ready for the show Mel & I hadn’t really been spending much time looking at the news which is entirely our own fault and so we were in complete shock when we would head to the theatre to watch the show to discover that in the sake of the 6 hours since our arrival in London that very day things had changed dramatically and the pandemic had started to affect England which we truly did not expect to have happened after we learned upon arrival to the theatre that the government had decided due to the rising number cases of Covid-19 that all theatres would be closed immediately until further notice meaning that not only would we not be able to watch Wicked that evening as planned but also some of the other West End Musicals that we had already booked tickets for before coming to London.
But with such a dramatic and sudden shift in the pandemic and the restrictions beginning, what would we do now for our holiday? Would we continue on and make the most out of a bad situation or would we cancel on the first day and head home to avoid anything else going bad?
Feeling a bit disheartened and caught off guard learning how the theatres had been closed as most of our evenings we had planned to attend a West End show and so we had to make a huge decision on what road we would go down next especially after speaking with our families who weren’t with us who seemed to be in a panic as at the time the main case numbers that were rising happened to be in London with it being the capital of the country with the most diverse population and so we decided to make the most out of the night and explore as we really weren’t sure what would happen from here and if we would have to go home and cancel our holiday on the very first day or not.
Heading out into the city of London, well mainly into the West End Part of London we decided to do some sight seeing as we discussed our next course of action for the holiday walking to see some of the theatres in the area we would go on to looking at the things we could do if we were to stay as we had planned to go to the Tower of London the following day and the Jack the Ripper museum on the Wednesday and so we learnt that these would remain open (for now) and so we can to the decision that we would continue on with the holiday and make the most out of what we could all things considered. Making our way towards the theatre where Hamilton the Musical was based we would notice a reporter outside and goofing around as we usually do it wasn’t until we returned to the hotel with a bottle of wine and some food that we would learn how that news report was currently on the news as we tried to learn more about the situation and so our first night ended with a bottle of wine and us almost being on the national news!
𝔻𝕒𝕪 𝕋𝕨𝕠 – 𝟙𝟟𝕥𝕙 𝕄𝕒𝕣𝕔𝕙 𝟚𝟘𝟚𝟘
Waking up around 8am and grabbing some breakfast that was provided by the hotel it wasn’t long until we made our way to catch the bus to head towards the Tower of London, however, before we would get to the Tower for the day we would make a few little stops along the way starting with a small coffee van beside the River Thames. Getting ourselves a nice hot drink each we would take a seat to admire the view over the River Thames before heading to see the monument of remembrance for the great fire of London before finally heading to the Tower.
Seeing what the tower had to offer and exploring the grounds we would come across historical artefacts, the crown jewels as well as the memorial of where the executions inside the tower had occurred as we were led around and told the gruesome history of the Tower by the beefeaters (yes that is a real thing!) throughout the tour we would learn the story of the three queens of England that lost their lives within the tower walls known as Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and finally Lady Jane Grey as well as the tragic and upsetting story of the two innocent princes who would also lose their lives during their stay at the infamous tower along with other countless victims I will do a separate blog post about these stories in the future.
After this we would go grab some food before heading to the Chapel to visit the final resting place of some of the victims of the tower to pay our respects before calling it a day and heading out of the complex towards the Starbucks directly over from the Tower where we would wait to hear the oldest bell of England chime once the Tower closed before we would head out on a theatre and tourist tour that we would take ourselves as it was also St. Patricks Day and so we decided to celebrate the day in style heading to Leicester Square where we would go on to learn about the countless tours available that meet there during the evening usually but due to the pandemic they had stopped which brings us to our third day and Jack the Ripper…
𝔻𝕒𝕪 𝕋𝕙𝕣𝕖𝕖 – 𝟙𝟠𝕥𝕙 𝕄𝕒𝕣𝕔𝕙 𝟚𝟘𝟚𝟘
As I mentioned earlier in the post as well as in other posts but a huge passion of mine that has developed over the years is the true stories behind real life crime that have occurred over the years and one of those main stories that has always fascinated me from my teenage years is that of Jack the Ripper who is very well known in English history. Before we get into day three I would like to make my readers aware that I will not be going into the story of Jack the Ripper and his crimes during this post, however, I may do a separate post about this in the future much like the stories of the tower of London once the podcast is back up and running.
This day would take us into the Whitechapel district of London notorious for the series of unsolved murders that happened in the late 1800’s by the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper and so we would head to the museum first based on Cable street in the heart of Whitechapel to experience the museum before we would go out on a Jack the Ripper tour of Whitechapel hosted by the museum’s tour guides. Entering the building we were informed how the building is 5 stories high and each floor is based on a certain time and theme within the Jack the Ripper case and how it is best to start at the top floor and work our way downwards and so that is just what we did.
The top floor gave us information about the victims mainly focusing on the canonical 5 (5 confirmed victims of the Ripper) as well as set the scene to what it was like living as a woman of that form of life back in that timeframe with it being so long ago. The second floor was based on the first cases and how the police started to handle the case and included artefacts such as the inspectors diary, the from hell letter that was sent to the media from the Ripper himself as well as other items before it moved down further to discuss the two main suspects of the case explaining the theories behind the suspects and why they could not be arrested for the crime even though there were links to the case before things started to get darker and darker the lower we got in the museum.
Reaching the lower floor we would come across a set up crime scene that depicted the finding of Catherine Eddows and the night of the double event where the Ripper would claim two victims in one evening with photographs of the murder scene but not the victim as well as the famous chalk writing on the wall so we could see them in person and be transported back in time to that night before we headed down one final floor to the most upsetting section of the museum to which I will put a warning here what you are about to learn may shock you!
Upon entering the bottom floor which was basically a basement both Mel & I would get a feeling of overwhelming sadness before we would learn that the actual building we were standing in used to be the Mortuary to which the bodies of all of the victims were brought to after their deaths and so upon entry we noticed that we were stood right in the middle of the mortuary room. Along the far wall it was lined with a series of mortuary holding slabs and in the centre was the original autopsy table which really made things feel real with where we were and what we were looking into and all we could do was cry with sorrow especially as we started to walk about the room we would see small portraits and thinking it would be the pictures of the victims we were somewhat right, however, what we didn’t expect was these pictures to be the actual autopsy pictures of the victims once they had passed away.
Feeling the need to breath some fresh air and a sense of overwhelming we headed out of the museum after buying a book each about the case before heading for food on the way to meet our tour guide as we had around an hour and a half left before the tour would begin. Meeting our tour guide at the meeting place we would soon walk around Whitechapel going to the locations that were relevant to the case from the pubs the victims used to go to, the places they used to stay before heading on to the places that the victims lost their lives before heading to the place that the only person to ever be arrested for the case but was soon released after the arrest was arrested bringing our day of Jack the Ripper to an end.
Spending the rest of the evening exploring and being tourists once more we would have a walk around the older sections of London that night before heading back to the hotel unsure what we were going to do the following and final day of our London tour and with the restrictions getting stricter each day we couldn’t do as much as we had initially planned which was a given but we decided we would see what we felt like in the morning when we woke up.
𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝔽𝕚𝕟𝕒𝕝 𝔻𝕒𝕪 – 𝟙𝟡𝕥𝕙 𝕄𝕒𝕣𝕔𝕙 𝟚𝟘𝟚𝟘
Over breakfast we would come to the decision to head out into London specifically towards Kings Cross Station with us both being avid Harry Potter fans as originally on this day we had planned to do the tourist exploration during the day before we were supposed to go and watch Hamilton the Musical that evening but due to the theatres being closed that could no longer be the case and so we headed through London to Kings Cross and acted like two complete nerds singing the Hedwig’s theme tune most of the time we were there before looking in the shop from the outside.
After this we would head out to Trafalgar Square before we made our way into Hyde Park to explore there for the last few hours we would have before the evening visiting the Princess Diana Memorial and having some lunch out by the lake in the centre of the park as we had wanted to explore Hyde Park with it being where the festival known as Winter Wonderland is held each year during winter which both Mel and I really wanted to go to in the future to get our bearings. Before too long it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for the evening which we had planned to go and visit Covent Garden as well as Buckingham Palace which we did before our final day would come to a close and we would head back.
Within days of returning from London and our holiday that had definitely not gone to plan but for the best way possible as it was still a fantastic vacation and we will never get to experience London in that way again the whole of England would be placed into a national lockdown which on and off would last the best part of the year which brings us to the end of this week’s blog post, please don’t forget to like and follow the blog if you liked what you have read today and follow us on our social medias!
See you all on Sunday!