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Tuesday 14th June – 23rd meeting of 2016

Today was about birthdays! With one of our ladies celebrating her birthday today and mine being tomorrow we decided on a birthday lunch. The choice was easy, Firenas a delightful Italian restaurant which is one of our favourite restaurants in London. This restaurant is situated in the basement of The Southbank House which is what is left of Royal Doulton factory at Lambeth.

A little later meeting at Waterloo Station which was made much brighter by all the ladies and gentlemen waiting for their trains to Royal Ascot. The ladies looked beautiful wearing some amazing outfits and the hats were wonderful. There were some men in top hat and tails but mostly just very smart suits and ties. I just love this very English event!

From here we walked to St Thomas Hospital for a coffee and exchange of birthday cards. This hospital is such a busy place but the cafe is lovely as it overlooks the Thames and gives a fine view of the Houses of Parliament.

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We walked to The Southbank House which is housed in the Grade 11 listed building of the Royal Doulton factory on the corner of Lambeth High Street and Black Prince Road. This is the only remaining building of Royal Doulton in London as many were bombed in the Blitz but it is a wonderful site to see.

Once in the restaurant we settled down to order our meals. This place has such a lovely Italian atmosphere. The staff is all Italian and such fun! The food was delicious. We celebrated our birthdays with a bottle of wine and toasted the birthday girls! We enjoyed a fabulous meal. At the end the waiter came out with a beautiful cardboard birthday cake with one lighted candle (the same one used to celebrate an earlier birthday) and waltzed us birthday girls around the restaurant singing ‘Happy birthday to you’ with most of the customers joining in. It was great fun. We finished our meal and was sad to learn that the restaurant is closing in August. The lease has not been renewed as the area is to be converted into a gym and bike store. Such a shame that such a fabulous restaurant will no longer be open.

We left the restaurant and walked along the river back to Waterloo station and our return journeys home after such a good day.