There was only one thing this term that could possibly overshadow my birthday, and that was Christmas. But we haven’t gotten that far yet, so it’s my birthday we’re focusing on now.
Around the flat, we were always talking about going on day trips together—getting everyone together and heading off into Central for one reason or another, just to see the sights and hang out. This really never happened.
Except for my birthday. I turned twenty-four this term (yay?), and I wanted to do something awesome.
My birthday ended up being a two-part deal, but that wasn’t a problem in the least. First and foremost, I went into Kingston with several of my flatmates, and we all joined together to subject ourselves to the mercy of Old London Road Tattoo and Piercing. That, in and of itself, would have made my birthday fantastic.
The guys around the shop were amazing, Cree, our artist, was wonderful, and the shop, aside from being highly recommended, is connected with a bar called The Fighting Cocks, so how could we not go?! (We never did get around to going to the bar though, which is unfortunate.)
Skip ahead to Thursday. After sitting through a three hour philosophy seminar about death (happy birthday!), we gather the troops, walk down to Barnes Station to take a train into Waterloo, and make our way to the London Eye.
I saw the Eye almost every week, but I never got a chance to actually go on it until my birthday. Seriously, though—BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. The best part, though, was that everyone had a lot of fun. It was the first time we’d all gone out as a group, we were doing something we’d all been wanting to do, and we all just had a good time.
We chose to go on the Eye at night, which was amazing. There are interactive screens inside each capsule that tell you what you’re looking at from any direction, and it was a clear night, which meant we got to see the city in all its sparkly glory.
The Eye is at Jubilee Gardens and is Europe’s largest Ferris wheel at 443 feet tall, and 394 feet in diameter—it’s ridiculously huge, with each capsule large enough to hold twenty-some adult passengers, so the eighteen of us were able to all go in a capsule together, which made the whole experience that much better. And getting on and off is absurdly fun because they wheel never stops moving—you have to time it just right to get everyone on or off in the few seconds that the capsule is on level with the landing. They say that the Eye rotates slow enough that you can walk on and off, no problem, but I distinctly remember doing a bit more than walking.
The other cool thing about the Eye is that, you know how Ferris wheels never seem to last long enough, or they’re the sketchy carnival ones that leave you hanging in the air for ever? The London Eye takes thirty minutes to make a full rotation, so there is none of that dissatisfaction about the ride being either too long or too short.
After the Eye, we went across the street for fish and chips, and then back to uni.