London and Why Have I Not Used Buses Before?

At the weekend Con and I took to London for my sixth time and her first (proper) time. It was a mixture of getting away from Glasgow, a short city break prior to our wedding, one of Connie's friend's wedding (to another Brit, yeah) and also to go and fulfil a Christmas present, and go to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: the Making of Harry Potter.

Some context: Connie's favourite film series is the Harry Potter series. And it is also one of my favourites. The latter ones (basically the ones not by Christopher Columbus) are very good and towards the end become true blockbusters. It's kind of crazy that a film series got to it's eighth instalment before it peaked. That really breaks the Sequels are shit rule.

The wedding was lovely, and it was great to dance and party like nothing else - a lot of champagne really helped me to dance my way into a dreadful and almost endless hangover that killed a full day of possible sightseeing and any chance of meeting for drinks later that night. We were staying with Jayna and her place is located in Wandsworth, a place I'd never been before.

Not near a tube stop, we had to rely on buses and trains. Previously, I've avoided buses in London because they were impenetrable. I had no idea how to buy a ticket (the first time I went was before the Oyster system) and I also had no quick way to check where buses go and which one to take. I downloaded Citymapper to my phone and it was a sudden change - the bus is dirt cheap and the app told you which buses to get, where from, and where to get off. So, instead of the dirty dirty tube we got the bus to Westminster for our first bought of tourism, and it was great.

We got a short tour of London, with myself acting as "tour guide", and I pointed out a few places here and there. It wasn't until we looked up how to get from Westminster to Buckingham Palace did I realise that I had a golden chance to ride the New Bus for London, the much touted and expensive replacement for the old routemasters.

We hopped on the back and said hello to the conductor and sat in a kinda cramped seat, but it was a routemaster. It felt like the old ones - I remember them as a boy running around Glasgow city centre. It was fun, and quick, and a bit of a novelty. The bus looks great on the outside and seemed confortable on the inside, though the lower deck was really small (two stair cases and three doors, mental).

Harry Potter was not in London, despite it's name, and is located out by Watford at the Leavesden Studios (where films are still being filmed today). Getting the train to Watford Junction was made more difficult by the temperamental Overground cancelling services (and stopping me from getting to use the service, which was a shame).

The tour was brilliant - I was amazed at the sets that are still standing the costumes - personal highlights were the Ministry of Magic floo network fire places, the Knight Bus, the Magic is Might sculpture (that I was certain was a CGI creation) and the endless nick nacks here and there that made up the world. It felt like a wizarding museum, it was so lovingly craft and created.

We did miss Frank a lot though.