Thursday, June 05, 2008

London Town

It seemed as if there was a conspiracy to keep us in Atlanta. The plane arrived late and a mechanical delay held it up even further. Then as we’re taxiing out to the take-off runway there was a hold as a previous landing had issues and they needed to check the runway for any stray bits o’plane. Finally we were off and sailing away. I had a delightful seat mate from the Caribbean who was on her first trip to London so it made the trip quite pleasant.

The weather here is gorgeous. 70 plus degrees and sunny. There were only two other people ahead of me in the Immigration line (unreal) and the trip to Lodnon on the Gatwick Express went swiftly. Somehow I remember when it used to £18 for a Roundtrip, not one way. That's $36 each way in our Silly American Pesos. Youch. I'm going to check into the bus on the return trip as I'll have plenty of time to spare that day.

Today is primarily a reconnoiter sort of day. I’m staying in a hotel south of Victoria Station this time as the husband is not with me and I’m not keen to truck around the back streets of some of London’s suburbs alone. By some wonder of fate I was able to check into my room at 11:15. Wow. The wi-fi is up (obviously) and a quick trip to the St. George Tavern earned me a pint of real ale (Timothy Taylor Landlord Ale) --- note this is real ale of which I'll write more about down the line -- and some fish and chips. The fish was so-so. The ale was very nice. Not surprisingly after that load there was a LONG nap due to the half hour of sleep I got on the plane (can't sleep on them no matter how many drugs I take) and now I'm up and freshed with a cuppa (tea) and about to do some serious wandering. To Hyde Park, me thinks. Need to stretch the legs and see the sights. Tonight it's back to the editorial work on Madman's Dance. I'll issue reports and photos as time progresses. Hopefully you folks will enjoy the trip to England, at least vicariously.

Update: Ah the joys of a Tesco nearby. Tesco is a supermarket chain and that means if you have one near your hotel you can buy: crusty bread, thin sliced ham, cheddar cheese (the real stuff) some yogurt, apples and a bit of Single Malt to keep you going. All for a lot less than dining out. The yogurt is an experiment. I read an article that said you should eat the local yogurt as it imparts the local bugs to your gut and might help you avoid intestinal disruptions. Interesting idea. The Scottish Raspberry stuff I ate tonight was fab.

I did achieve Hyde Park and took the air along with a fairly large number of Londoners. Nice weather so they were out in force. (See photo above -- Achilles about to do battle with the evil building monster. The thing had so many antennas on it you'd swear it was part of NASA).

I've rewired my brain to remember to watch for vehicles coming from odd directions, that you walk on the left, not the right and that pubs fill up the moment the work day is over. Thursday evening and the pubs are packed and overflowing onto the street. The Brits are worried about the level of binge drinking. I suspect they might have legitimate worries.

Tomorrow I'm off to the Museum of London to see the Great Fire (1666) exhibit. Sure to please any pyromaniac in your household. More later. Must edit book.

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