Tea for two at Harrods
Yesterday was one of those perfect days that leaves you with a smile when you think about it. I went to London to meet a friend who was on a stop over in London (Flight Attendant) from the US and I have to say that it was magical. Meeting June, Tea at Harrods, seeing London dressed for Christmas and at night.
It started with a bit of a panic, I was running a bit late, couldn’t find somewhere to park at the railway station, when I did the first parking ticket machine was not working, then when I went to get my pre-ordered tickets from the rail ticket machine that wasn’t working either. Eventually got it from the ticket office. Got over to the Up platform (as in up to London) then I couldn’t remember if I had locked the car so went back to do that and got back to the platform just as they were announcing the train coming in to Platform 1 is the 10.45 to London Waterloo…
Found a seat quite quickly and read part of the way up, otherwise tried to calm my nerves about meeting June and getting around London. Boy, have they changed Waterloo, there is a balcony and shops, and it all looks quite swish compared to the last time I saw it; and, of course, there was a Christmas tree in the main thoroughfare. Nabbed a sarnie and the dived down into the underground system. Ticket worked through the barriers, glided on escalators, no too far to walk, and most importantly made sure I was going the right way on the Northern Line. One stop to Embankment and then on to the District Line with the tough decision about which stop to get off at – South Kensington or Gloucester Road … hmmm … in the end decided to get off at South Kensington and go to the Natural History Museum.
I haven’t been to the Natural History Museum since I was a child, and to be honest I am not that interested, but I recently found out that there is a memorial to my great uncle there, which I found to the left of the main staircase in the Great Hall. I wasn’t sure that it would still be there because great hunters and explorers in Africa are not very PC these days, and probably very few people know who Frederick Courteney Selous is these days. However some folks will know that the largest game reserve in the world is named after him, that he was the chief scout for Cecil Rhodes and a friend of Teddy Roosevelt. I had a soya latte in the café and sat and read for a while before attacking the museum shop which was full of school children. Found a few things in the shop including a lovely red squirrel Christmassy decoration. Sadly you don’t find native red squirrels in the New Forest any more, nor in most of mainland Britain after some Muppet introduced the American Grey Squirrel which is bigger and has whipped out the Reds from all but a few strongholds. So with my bad of swag I set off for the biggest Holiday Inn in the world, the London Forum.
Gave June a wake up call, though it didn’t occur to me that she would have been expecting one, and that I didn’t say who I was, just that I would meet her under the Christmas Tree in reception! Watched the world go by for a few moments – flight crew in uniform, one Flight Attendant in about 5″ heels (ouch) and a load of All Black supporters off to the next stop on their northern hemisphere tour 2012, though they might just have been going somewhere for the day. I think the All Blacks played England at Twickenham on Saturday and then I assume they will be doing Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy and Romania. I should, perhaps explain that the All Black are the New Zealand rugby union team and they are called the All Blacks because they wear an all black strip. I should also boast that my cousin played for Newport Rugby Club in the ’50’s when they beat the mighty All Blacks. My father kept a clipping of the game with had a photo of Ian Ford tackling one of the Kiwi players.
What to do? Gave June some little presents of an Inspired Metastatic Breast Cancer Advocacy t-shirt and mug, and a Teddy Bear, because everyone needs a bear! Sounds as though she may be bear-napped by younger daughter … but! So taxi to find the shoe shop where a lot of Flight Attendants like to get their shoes, which involved a bit of a tour up and down the King’s Road, but found it on the corner of Beaufort Street. Got the shoes and then a taxi to Harrods to be greeted by the doorman with an umbrella. Now Harrods is another Universe and one where you enter the ‘portal’ and wander past ladies waving perfumes ready to spray if you stop for a second and then seemingly go round and round to find the right part of the food hall – a gallery where the rather superior staff serve delectable teas and food and ever so slightly look down their noses at you. However they are will trained in how to take photos on request, and they do get quite a lot of requests. Luckily it was a slightly slow day just before the main Christmas shopping stampede so we could sit and chat, and chat, and chat. By the time we looked at a clock it was ten to seven in the evening and I was supposed to be getting the 7.09 train home from Waterloo. Taxi ride past Buckingham Palace (Queen not in residence as only the Union Jack flying and not the Royal Standard), the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye. Got the 7.30 train and got home about 9.30, after rescuing my lonely car from a near empty car park after 9pm.
Thank you for a wonderful day June, and if you are ever coming this way again just let me know … cyber hugs and real teddy bears, especially for saying that the only reason you took this trip was to meet me! Wow!
Yesterday got me out of a rut of my normal existence, and has also given me confidence that I can still manage to get around in London. I will have to go more often, especially at the weekend when you can get really good deals to go up for the day, and the trains are slightly less packed. though going at the times that I did I was able to get a seat both times. What to see next in the Old Smoke?
No I wasn’t asleep. Shutter went off at the wrong second!