We actually managed to leave the house quite early for our trip and wandered through the park talking about where we should go first. We decided to go straight to Notting Hill because it was a straightforward tube journey and then plan our day from there.
So we get to Notting Hill and find the shop where The Bookseller To The Stars works and we head inside.
Can't see him anywhere so ask a nice young lady at the counter...
"Hi, um, is Mark about?"
"Oh, he's not in today I'm afraid."
D'oh!!! Plans for surprising him are dashed.
"Are you Kate?" enquires the lass behind the counter.
"Yeeeeesssss" I say, surprised.
"Ah, he phoned earlier and said you might be in. Here's his number, give him a ring and he'll be here in about 5 minutes".
It's a very good thing I'd posted that little throw-away comment at the end of my earlier post. It's also a very good thing that he'd read my blog that morning and promptly phoned his colleagues to tell them to give me his number!
Emily announces she NEEDS Starbucks and we depart the shop.
I phone Mark and arrange to meet him outside the Starbucks (just over the road from his work) and while Emily enjoys her caramel latte thing (and eyes up the workmen) I keep my eyes out for a person who looks like a Bookseller To The Stars.
One duely appears and after lots of "Oh my god I couldn't believe it was your day off" he takes us on a tour of Notting Hill. I'm very glad it was his day off actually, as that guided tour was great and a short hello while he was working would have been a bit pants (well, not pants, but pants compared to the fun that actually happened).
We wandered along the Portobello Road and while Emily took pictures and drooled over shop windows we nattered about all sorts. We saw the Travel Bookshop, the blue door (which is now black) from the film, and Mark decided he needed a giant cowboy boot chair. We did spend some money in a very nice shop - Mark bought a bag and I found a badge for Emily that says "Sheep Worrier". None of the badges seemed quite right for me until Mark selected "Looking for love, will settle for sex" and I promply purchased it and then pinned it to my jumper.
After a drink in a nice local pub (where we met one of his regular customers who is a great bloke) Mark had to take his leave, to get on with whatever day-off activities he'd been planning to do before we turned up! Emily took a nice couple of pictures of us next to an elephant and then we parted, promising blog comments in the future and a possible meeting at Reading.
Next stop was Grant and Cutler (as recommended by Mark) for a copy of "The Dolls House" by Ibsen. Emily's doing an essay on it and wanted to pick up a Norwegian edition so she could compare it to her translated one. Unfortunately it was £19.95 so she decided that for the sake of two paragraphs she would pass on it.
Then we wandered down Carnaby Street, stopping in at Pret a Manger (smoked salmon sandwiches for lunch, yum!), David & Goliath, (where we would have spent so much money if we had any) and bnevertoobusytobebeautiful where we wandered around sniffing things (and wished we had money).
In Hamleys we wandered about stroking the soft toys and then Emily bought a beaver. Originally called Dave, he has now become Indiana Beaver....
We finally got to Camden about 4.30pm and then wandered round the shops laughing at the t-shirt slogans....and wishing we had money. (Noticing a theme here? skint student and recently abandoned girlie in London with very little dosh).
I need to go back to Notting Hill with money to buy all the cute things I saw in shops (and to buy Mark some drinks). I've got my lottery ticket so keep your fingers crossed. If I don't win I guess I'll just have to book some time off in a week just after payday and then make sure I visit on his day off again. Then I can shop and have someone to carry the bags (just joking).
I am now very sleepy, but had a totally splendid day, so I shall post this so that Mark can add comments of his own and update it tomorrow when I can get the photos off Emily.