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Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

London, we did it.

Tuesday.
29 April 2008
23:43

So many titles for this, our first day in London, "People soup", perhaps….go on the London underground at rush hour or after 10pm and it's human soup, a veritable hot pot of smells ( some quite breathtaking) people and sounds.
Or ….a question such as " what do you think of websites that are SO far from the truth that when faced with reality you go outside and check that you have the right place?
Which leads me to another possible title, " Lest I sound ungrateful"
If I say what I feel about where we are staying it may come across as ungrateful and I am not, not even a tiny bit.
I have never had money and that really hasn't ever been an issue, not a huge one, we have a good standard of living, we know how to do it. More often than it does for many people, I find myself often able to enjoy such treats that they make me giddy, this trip is one of them.
In order to explain my feelings I have to be a bit common and mention number, prices.
This room is costing , for 2 nights, £434 yes, $ 860 near as dammit.
Now that alone makes me uncomfortable, really uncomfortable, I don't need THAT kind of hotel, the thing is, Dan wanted us to have it, he insisted and he searched and found and made sure that this is where we stay.
Before we got here I felt uneasy and just as though this kind of extravagance is wasteful, to me it is, this is Dan's treat though, so we looked forward and wondered, we looked at the website and gasped at the grandness of it all, such sumptuous rooms, look at the fluffy towels and bathrobes…..oooooh we are in for a treat, waited on and pampered.
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We arrived and the room wasn't ready, no matter, we left our bags and went for lunch. Came back, room is ready…..here's your key.
"Oh, err, could you tell us where the room is please? "
"oh yes, 4th floor, here's your bags" ( does that seem bizarre to you? Is it me, so unaccustomed to such luxury and frivolous excursions but if you are paying this kind of money don't you sort of expect a porter or a trolley or at the very least some good manners??)
Up we went and as we walked the halls ( to the end of the earth it seemed) we were a little flat, deflated maybe, when we opened the door and realised that to get into the room we had to go in single file, and drag the bags in sideways….oh dear.
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No internet ( oh it is available £15 a day, FIFTEEN POUNDS A DAY????) forget that.
Ooooh little fridge, smal bottle of water £2.50, glass sized bottle. Forget that.
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Mars bar, regular mars bar £3.00 THREE POUNDS!!! Can't forget that, bloody hell!! The thing that makes it even more ridiculous is that right next door, Tesco Metro, bottles of water 54p Mars bars 3 for £1. HA! I didn't even care that the concierge saw me stuff water, crisps, mars bars and chocolate milk into my handbag as I walked up to the hotel.

OH..also, NO HOT WATER!! You can bet I will complain about that tomorrow, cold water to wash in, cold water to shower in….and paying £217 a night for the priviledge, if they can't fix that we will toddle down the road to a lovely £60 a night hotel and feel much more as though we are getting value for money.
We do have air con though and that is a treat for me, lovely cool air to sleep in, and the bed is to die for, beautiful comfy bed.

Ha ha ha The bathroom ( devoid of any fluffy bathrobes I must mention )
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is lovely, tiny but clean and although it does have only cold water it makes up for it by having sliding glass doors, with completely clear stripey bits, which has made H and I snigger like stupid kids, I stuck my face against the glass while he tried to pee and couldn't because he was laughing too much. HE stood outside while I had a wee and said too many times that he couldn't see a thing, which was also funny because he was stark naked while he was telling me and I could definitely see him, how marvellous that he feels sufficiently on holiday to let his dingle have a dangle without a care in the world, we lived with teenagers and then in laws and then teenagers and little kids ( in our room for the first 5 years of our marriage, we both are so used to always making sure that no-one walks in on us, always aware that we aren't alone, this really is glorious for us to have this time.
We ate at an Italian place for lunch, I had a delicious mushroom rissoto with roasted chicken breast , H ad a seafood pizza which to me would have been a punishment of the most lasting and painful kind, squid, mussels, king prawns, made my eyes water to look at it, so I didn't I looked at H who thought he was in heaven.
We went to Harrods and bought some little gifts for the boys, fun gifts. We walked through the food halls and what delights they held.
When we had taken a tiny rest and freshened up with a nice cold wash, scrubbed up and looking swish ( H does look so handsome all spruced up, I miss seeing him in smart pants and coloured shirt and tie.) The rain was hammering down, we didn't care , we had brollies and tickets and a spring to our step. Caught one tube, walked the corridors to catch the connecting one, oh my, look at the queues for the lift, we will take the stairs, we are young and healthy, stairs are good for you.
No-one told us though until we were 1/3 of the way up that there were 198 stairs, concrete stairs, that were winding so you couldn't see just how far away you were from the top and they were as steep as a ladder. The very worst part was the crowd was so thick that once we were on those bloody stairs, we weren't getting off and we weren't slowing down or standing to one side to rest. I can honestly say that I have never felt pain or as near to death like that in my life. Also shame.
That would have tested the stamina of a marathon runner and I stop half way up my stairs at home and pretend to admire the view, the only thing stopping me from hurling myself to the ground and giving up the ghost was pride. I think, by the time we got to the top ( and my older husband who has suffered a heart attack and heart disease was scarcely breaking a sweat, I would have been calling for the help of the angels if I had had more than 1/8 lung capacity left. I think I may have wept a bit from sheer relief when the ordeal was over, I might have flashbacks for years thinking of how many people barged past me and nudged me from behind ( if only I had thought to lean back they may have carried me up a few steps)
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( steep yet working escalator, I love you.)

The Lion King. What can I say? We were spellbound my H and I and I saw so clearly how much we need to share more times like these, to feel him hold my hand as we sat with eyes wide open, when we laughed and cheered, gasped and held our breath waiting for more.
I held my breath more than H, when just after the show began, an elderly couple came and sat in front of us. Old ladies,one day, I am going to be one and I am sure I will gather and hold onto many traits associated with old girls. I hope that I never get the old lady smell. I loathe bad smells and am unable to control how my face behaves when assaulted by the worst of them.
Like old lady smell.
Old ladies on a night out smell. Usual old lady smell ( slightly unfresh and a little rancid) but because she is on an rare night out to the theatre, must have perfume, has a bottle from christmas 1978, that cousin Myrtle gave her, lovely, splash some of that on, BUT this is a really special night out so make sure there is plenty on, really lots.
It was a shocking night out and old ladies worry about getting a chill, so she kept her coat on, quilted jacket to be precise. It was very warm in the theatre and I found myself, at the same time as being spell bound, being smell bound and praying that she would just SIT STILL, for the love of Pete, don't waft that stench behind you Gladys.
Can you imagine my joy when during the intermission, she was told that she was in the wrong seat ( by H, not that it mattered, the Usherette said so too!) and she moved right along the row and I made sure I glanced over 10 minutes later and sure enough. Lady behind smelly old lady had a face like a bull dog chewing a wasp.
I think I can still smell her.
We're back and H is fast asleep, I have the TV on quietly and 5 channels to choose from. I have my book and a happy heart.
Dan has called at least 5 times to make sure we are having a lovely time, little boys have had dinner at Burger King, a new DVD and sweets, on a Tuesday and didn't have to have a bath. Pretty much perfect I would say.

Wednesday. Public service announcement.
" Would travellers please note, it is a serious offence to take flash photography in the direction of the train driver. Travellers must not, under any circumstance, point their camera at the front of the train whilst using a flash!"
Wow I have never heard that before and I lived in London, fought through crowds of japanese tourists on my way home to Clapham. The most amazing coincidence is that I had only just taken a picture or two, for you, dear blog readers.
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I won't dwell on the stares I got from other travellers who saw me put the lens cap back on my camera and try to get that big monster back in my back while looking at H and saying " oooops".

I didn't tell you that yesterday, that as we got into London, right as we went for lunch, I got my period, I say that because cutesie little nicknames are not going to work for the monster that has accompanied me on my days around the capital city. How typical, it hasn't hampered us too much with the exception of extra stops for hot chocolate and a sit down, please let me sit down and use restrooms and take paracetemol.
We had lunch at a fabulous Mexican restaurant, a particular treat for H because he loves that food and dear old Devon doesn't know about burritos or nachos of the authentic variety. We had virgin dacquiries, heaven. All you can eat buffet for £6.50.
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We had hot chocolate at covent garden and a slice of carrot cake, we had more hot chocolate at Mac D's because the rain, the torrential and persistent rain.
This morning at 7am we were woken by a shrill and loud fire alarm, WAKE UP!!!!!! So we did, no fire, which we good, if there had been it would have been doused by the rain, all well and good.
Dan called at 10 to say that sometimes last night, someone threw a breeze block ( big grey brick) through the windshield of my car. Of course its not covered by my insurance, the RAC extra coverage I pay for, or the fairies. £198.
We have still had a splendid day though, gremlins can shut up. Foiled. We have walked and jumped on tube trains, we have shopped and found such splendid things at covent garden, presents and edibles. We are now showered and pyjama'd, cosied up in our hotel room and plan on doing nothing more than watch TV and relax on this perfectly glorious bed.

THURSDAY, Home again home again, jiggedy jig.
We're home, weary and travelworn, but home and how happy we are, still so much to say but just too weary to write it this evening. It's good to be home but it was great to have that time with H and remember just why I married him in the first place.

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4 Comments:

Blogger justLacey said...

Lovely, I enjoyed reading it all.

11:30 pm  
Blogger Clara....in TN said...

Lovely post. thank you!!!! I need a trip like that to find out why I married mine in the first place! LOL Clara....

1:41 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the name of the mexican restaurant? £6.50 all you can eat! woohoo!

9:44 am  
Blogger Julie Q said...

That sounds so nice Helen. I am glad you and H had such a great time in London. :)

10:50 am  

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