S-hard work!

Funny old place, The Shard – I took the girls to visit yesterday (taking advantage of a “Kids Go Free” half-term offer).

Considering this is the tallest building in Europe it’s remarkably hard to find – at least, the entrance is.

ShardArriving at London Bridge station, there it is, towering (quite literally) in front of you.  Unmissable!

“Hello,” I say to the doorman, “We’ve got tickets for the Shard,” and wave the printouts of our advance tickets at him.

“Round the corner and down the escalator,” he smiles.

We go down the escalator to the second set of doors (the first are quite obviously a hotel).

“Hello,” I say to the doorman, “We’ve got tickets for the Shard,” and wave the printouts of our advance tickets at him

She points behind us: “Round the corner”.

We go round the corner to another door.

“Hello,” I say to the doorman, “We’ve got tickets for the Shard,” and wave the printouts of our advance tickets at him

The doorman points at a lone woman stood near the door.  “You’ll have to get in the queue,” we’re told.

“We stand in “the queue” for 40 seconds before being allowed in.

“Hello,” I say to uniformed inspector inside, “We’ve got tickets for the Shard,” and wave the printouts of our advance tickets at him

“OK, just go and scan the barcode over there,” he tells us, pointing at some screens.

After five minutes of pressing buttons, waving barcodes and poking at slots another uniformed lady asks if we need any help.

We explain we are trying to get our tickets.

“But these are your tickets,” she says in confusion, looking through the printouts of our advance tickets.

Then she takes us upstairs with our tickets to the entrance gate, where our tickets resolutely refuse to scan.  She helpfully sorts this problem out for us and we’re in – at last!

Or, at least, we’re into the security section, which is more than a match for any airport security I’ve ever been through.

Our bags are x-rayed, our watches, money and phones removed, and we have to walk through a metal detector.

I’ve missed ten pence in my pocket, so the metal detector beeps and I’m frisked by a burly guard.

“Pull your top up,” he mumbles at me.

Like a good (and innocent) citizen I begin to pull up my t-shirt, but then stop.  “Er, what??” I ask.

He points at my bag, which has now emerged from the x-ray machine.

“Pick your stuff up.”

I pick my stuff up.

I’m relieved when Millie asks me, “Why did he want you to pull your top up?” because I thought I was going mad.

“You heard that, too -‘Pull your top up?'”

“Yes,” nods Millie, and we both look back at the security guard with suspicion.

Next, the lifts.  The Shard’s lifts are astonishing – so astonishing, in fact, that each one requires a person stood outside to guide you into them, and then, when you reach your destination, another person to guide you out!

We finally arrive at the top and it’s bloody high.  Bloody bloody high!  It’s also raining so the view isn’t as good as it could be, but it’s still bloody impressive.  After marvelling for a while at the tiny cars and trains hundreds of metres below us we take the stairs to the next level.

There’s no roof on the next level.  And it’s raining.  A lot.

Still, it’s bloody impressive and the girls do an impromptu Singin’ In The Rain style dance routine – everything is at last going so well!

Unfortunately they then get into endless arguing and bickering with each other, completely spoiling things.  As a result, I don’t speak to Millie all the way home, and she is sent her to her room when we get in.


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