05 - To London by Train

Not much sleep over night, five hours or so, up once to change batteries and continue backups of photographs (and wake Lisa up in the process, so she says).

Portsmouth Harbour Station for our train to London. The Brits (as the French) know how to move people using trains. Whether in the city, or between cities. They know trains. Absolutely flawless.

Upon arrival in Waterloo Station in London, like the French, they have not yet caught up with us in Canada and the US in terms of bodily functions. They want to charge you to use the loo. Absolutely inexcusable! We stopped doing that in the 60’s. And, they do not name them very well either. We call the loo a restroom or washroom or men’s room where of course you will find a toilet. Here they call the room the “toilet”. When I am dining in a fancy (actually any) restaurant, I do not want to think of a toilet let alone say it aloud. But you will here, “waiter, where is the toilet?”.

We queued up in an orderly manner for a cab, again, they do it better than us where we push and cheat and lie for cabs in let’s say Halifax or Toronto airports. And the cabs, all alike, huge, seats 4 – two facing two with luggage between. And the cab drivers are brilliant, they have to be to drive these busy, narrow, congested streets, and on the wrong side. Our driver slipped so close to a truck to his right, his mirror went underneath the trucks mirror. Had they been on the same level, they would no longer “be”.

We arrived at the Renaissance Chancery Court, our room was almost ready. So we were asked to wait, no problem since we were 3 hours ahead of check in time.

Within minutes we were told it was ready. That was too fast. Ends up we got a comp upgrade to a multilevel suite. And while looking out our bedroom, I spotted a Starbucks across the street. Even nicer!

Got a minute to read the Daily Telegraph which said “… Cold. Wet. Grey. Dank. England is ‘Mizzle-in-the-Puddle’…” Blimey! Not sure if anyone over here even knows what that means.

After exploring our room, we went for a walk. Meanwhile, Tony and Jane had checked in to their hotel and were already in the Tate Britton. They too got a comp room upgrade). They were staying the night. Not paying much attention, being so excited to be not only in London, but in London with our best friends, we ended up within 20 minutes near St. Paul’s where we headed for the Thames and walked back along the North side of the river. Then we headed back inland which took us through Trafalgar Square and then Piccadilly Circus. Take note if you plan on visiting London, there are no animals at this or any other circus in London. To see animals, head to the London Zoo which is apart of Regent's Park. Anyway, we stopped at Starbuck’s for a grande SFHNFL (sugar-free hazelnut non-fat latte) ($5CDN just like home) and a sandwich. Come to think of it, attend the “circ” at the Metro Center day before we took off – and there were no animals there either!

Time for a shower - Lisa just got out and mentioned that there are speakers in the washroom playing whatever is on the TV - got some Chick’s dropping in around six and then we are heating out (in jacket and trousers) for a fancy (snooty) dinner. Of course, I’ll be wearing pants (underwear) as well. The Savoy Grill. I’ll report back later, cheerio.

We had a drink downstairs (hotel bar) with Tony and Jane (felt we got fleeced – 54 quid total for 4 drinks – I had Grey Goose) and then headed off to The Savoy for a really fine dining experience. After our main course, they invited us to tour the kitchen. There must have been 20 staff back there, I don’t know how they synchronize the whole thing, seems everyone has their own little part even while building an obviously not so simple appetizer. It’s like McDonald’s Big Mac special (secret) sauce, I guess in this way no one can duplicate the chef’s (Marcus Waring) creations since only he knows the whole process.

I did make a visit the “toilet” which was spectacular. When I got the to sink, a little man ran over turned on the tap and stood there while I washed up, handed me a nice soft towel to dry off and turned the taps off for me. I was thinking “piss off mate”. And I didn’t have anything smaller than a fiver to tip him, so he I didn’t. The bill came, it was a bit of a shock, and I was annoyed at the entry for 8 quid for two bottles of still water. That’s near $20. Another visit to the toilet – this time armed with a pound coin – but when I came around he was nowhere to be found. Upon leaving the toilet, there he was chatting it up with one of his mates outside in the hall. I guess he remembered me. His loss.

Where to next? To a pub of course for an ice cold pint (of Foster’s) and then a cab back to the hotel to retire for the night. And again, we avoided rain; however, I would venture to say the weather could have done with a tad less wind and a wee more on the mercury. Cheers.

Oh oh, I forget to tell you what I ate tonight, confit de foie gras for my appetizer and canard for the main course. Ie. Duck and duck. I’ll never catch up to my French open record, or…
Our Suite
London North Bank