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Tuesday 17th March – 10th meeting of 2015

It was one of our ladies birthday today and she had arranged a very nice day for us, to go to the top of the Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street and as this has only been opened to the public for a month we were pleased for the special treat.

We meet as usual at Charing Cross and got the District line to Monument. She had really done her homework. She took us to The Cross Keyes a Wetherspoon pub in Gracechurch Street. What a fantastic building. It was, many moons ago, the Hong Kong Shanghai bank and the interior was amazing. One of our ladies was so pleased and excited as she had work there should I say, many moons ago! She told us the marble columns and ornament ceilings was as it was when she worked there but the desk where she sat was now the bar!! How times change! We had a coffee and chat and one of the group had made some lovely little chocolate Easter cupcakes one of which had a candle on so we very happily sang ‘Happy Birthday’. Alas we couldn’t light the candle as the lighter would not work but we were told we could not light it anyway due to health and safety rules! Enough said.

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We left to arrive at 20 Fenchurch Street for our noon time slot. To enter is a free service but must be booked on-line. The security was very hot. A long line of people waiting to get in but the staff were very efficient. Firstly show i.d. and ticket, then bags in the x-ray machine then if needed scanning took place. We all got through without this! After this we went straight into the lift. The Roof Garden and viewing Terrace are on floor 35 and the lift whizzed us up very fast and smooth. In fact I didn’t realise we were moving!

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Once on Floor 35 we were free to look around at our own pace. The main area is a coffee bar/wine bar were you can sit and enjoy yourself. The view was amazing. We walked around all three sections and then went onto the terrace. There is a Sky Garden which is beautiful. It slopes up both sides of the centre which houses two restaurants on floors 36 and 37. It has many trees shrubs and flowers and the whole area is watered by controlled jets of water.

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Although it was a misty day as we made our way around we could pick out London Eye, Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s, Fenchurch Street station, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, The Gherkin, which looked very small and many more wonderful buildings. Everything looked so small and crowded. In fact it made me think that it is quite amazing how all the new buildings get built in congested busy London Town. We also remarked that there were so many cranes on the horizon it shows London is changing all the time! We spent a lot of time working out where places familiar to us were. Things look so different when you are looking down from a height. There is a limit of 40 people allowed on the terrace at one time so it was a very easy to have a real look out over London. After about one hour and fifteen minutes we made our way down to the ground floor in the super fast lift.

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Back at ground level we split up as some had to go home and six of us decided to go back to The Cross Keyes for lunch. When we walked in we found such a difference. On our first visit it was quiet and plenty of seats but on our return it was heaving crowded and noisy it being lunch time. Not many seats but we were lucky to find a table in a room off the main area. It was a beautiful room with large fire place and lots of cravings on the walls. I think it may have been the Manager’s Office when it was a bank!

We enjoyed a really nice lunch and chatted over our day and thanked our birthday girl for planning such a lovely day!

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