London Day 11 - Monday - homeward bound

Monday – We set the alarm last night to be sure we wouldn't miss our flight. So we got up at 7 am and left around 8:20. We took a mini-cab to Victoria station.
Our cab driver told us about house prices and taxes in the area. After we got out of the cab, we took the Gatwick Express from Victoria Station to the airport, and headed home.

London Day 10 - Sunday - Winchester and Globe

Sunday – For breakfast Randy had bacon and scrambled eggs, and I had cereal and toast. We got out the door around 10:30 and went to Speakers Corner again. A lot of the same people were there, so we didn't stay too long. We went back to the Camden Market for the crepes with Nutella.  
Then we took the Underground to Liverpool. It was a nice area, but we didn’t find much to do. So we went to Petticoat Market, where the sell lots of junk, leather, etc. No to all that; we bought some chips. We got back on the tube to Dockland and took the Dockland train to Greenwich, arriving around 4 pm for dinner.  We went back to the same pub; Randy had Stilton cheese sandwich with lettuce and brownstone pickles (sort of like mincemeat) and Guinness, and I had ham and cheese baguettes and tea.  

Back in London it was very wet. We walked over London Bridge and kept on going. Our walk took us past Winchester Palace – there are not much ruins left, but of course I thought it looked wonderful.  
Next we walked past the Clinks – it used to be a jail, now it's a restaurant. Eventually we found the Globe Theater, which is another thing I love. It was closed but we went in to the gift shop area.
It was time to go back to Brixton.  We bought Randy's nightly Guinness and soda for me, then got a pizza at Pizza Hut on Streatham Hill and took it all back home for dinner.

London Day 9 - Saturday - Portobella Road and Kensington.

Saturday – Pancakes for breakfast today. Out the door by 10:30 to got to markets. There was a light rain today, but we didn't let that stop us. We went to Southill Market, which is big marketplace, but it was closed today. On to Portobella Road market.
This one went on forever, it seems.  Mostly antiques at the start.  I bought jade rings and at the Highland Store Randy bought a hat.  Eventually we took the bus to Sloan Square in Kensington.
Afterwards we went to the Sundance Market, then to Marks and Spencer to buy some soaps. We walked around Soho looking for a good restaurant and ended up at Bacchanalia. Randy ordered bangers and mash, I got the lasagna, plus we had wine, diet Coke, and pita bread with olives and dip; it was all quite good.

And then home again – by now I had blisters on my toes.  

London Day 8 - Friday - British Museum

Friday - Kathryn was unavailable today, but we had Stilton cheese with our breakfast. Then we took the bus and train to the British Museum. There was trouble on the tube – a power outage, but we got there OK. We got off at Oxford Circus and walked. The museum was great. It’s free and huge. There is always some conflict about if these artifact should be in Britain, but at least, while that is going on, they are protected and beautifully displayed.
One area was full of original statuary from Greece. Ancient Greek statures are the most copied statues in the world.
The biggest area full of fascinating Egyptian artifacts.
It included a section about mummies, with several on display.  
I love these old things so much!
We bought tea and cakes in the cafeteria, and spent quite a while in the Museum bookstore, where I bought a book on Henry VIII. We walked around outside but it started to rain, so we ducked into an umbrella store. After the rain let up we walked across the bridge. We went to St. Kathryn’s dock to use the bathroom, then went back to the Piccadilly Circus area. We found a Chinese buffet at the Hippodrome for dinner tonight.  

On the way home Randy bought me a rose, and I finally bought a teapot (I had been looking for one every day).  Then home again for tea.

London Day 7 - Thursday - Walking around London

Thursday – For breakfast today Kathryn fixed us tomatoes, mushrooms, ham and cheese, crumpets with egg.  Randy talked with Kathryn about the house – their move and the amount of work involved.  

We went to Harrods first and looked through every floors. All we bought there today was individual breads the size of muffins – plain and raspberry.

Then we went to the Rainforest Café for tea. I was pretty tired and just wanted to rest awhile. When I was ready, we went to the Virgin Megastore and shopped. around Next was Lilywhites on Piccadilly Square; it is ten stories of just sports.

For dinner we decoded to try Aberdeen’s – steak and chicken and fries, and salmon. After dark we walked around and found Chinatown. The entrance is covered with Christmas lights. Lots of restaurants here with menu items unidentifiable to us.
Time to go towards Marks and Spencer. On the street a protest was going on. They had some drummers who kept a good beat, and the protesters were chanting but we couldn’t hear what it was about. Lots of blue-lit buildings and backed-up buses, with the police keeping things under control.
We went to Tessco, a 24-hour store, for a look around, then to Marks and Spencer, followed by a trip to Westminster, where they have a new station with outer doors. We walked around Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster. It was a foggy night and the moon over Big Ben looked great.

Back home then, stopping at the store to buy a Guinness.

London Day 6 - Wednesday - Windsor Castle

Wednesday – Apparent the guy who lives across the street does well – he has a Mercedes, and a driver who was out buffing the car this morning, waiting for the owner. We went downstairs for breakfast where Randy had Swiss pancakes, but we were in a hurry to get to Windsor today. Hurried through breakfast and went to Victoria Station. Couldn’t find the bus stop so we missed the first bus. Finally found it and caught the bus to Windsor. On the way to the castle we stopped at Woods of Windsor store and bought some Woods of Windsor soap and Crabtree and Evelyn soap, which we left at the store for the day. Went through the castle: the dollhouse, the semi-state rooms and staterooms, and the private chapel for Price Edward. 
Much has been restored since the fire, and it actually looks better.  They did a great job of restoring it, and generally it looks a lot cleaner. They used lots of clean, light oak in the restoration.  A guide talked to us about the weapons displayed. There is a lot of it because every monarch had his initials stamped onto the weapons during his reign.  Since the next monarch didn’t want his army using things with the previous king’s initials, so he replaced them.
While we were there, there was a "changing of the guard" ceremony. It is a must more modest ceremony than the one at Buckingham Palace. This one just involves two guards, but the perform with the same serious, formal attitude.
We went to St. George’s Chapel, where Henry VIII and Jane Seymour are buried, along with several other kings and queens (George IV, George V and Edward (Victoria’s son). One day a year they open the chapel where Price Albert laid in state, and this was the day.  It’s a smaller room off to the side, and richly decorated. 

After the castle tour we walked through the town. Went to the Carpenter Arms pub to eat; Randy had the Blarney Stone and Steak and Guinness pie, I had the Hunter Chicken – chicken and bacon with potatoes and peas. Pretty good food.
Then we went shopping around town. We went to the Scottish Shop where they have great looking kilts, but they cost over $1000 for the complete outfit. Next we looked through a china store – three stories tall, with a very narrow staircase. We stopped in a Chocolate store and bought some chocolate. This is the store whose chocolate was used in the move “Chocolate”.  

It rained a little bit so we started back, and caught the bus back around 5:10. Back in London we walked to Kensington to see Albert’s Memorial, Albert’s Hall and the Museum of Science, although we didn’t go in them. We went past Harrods, which is lit up with string lights on all corners – it looks nice. 
We got back home that night a little after 9.

London Day 5 - Tuesday - Walthamstow Market and Dukes

Tuesday – Up around 8:30. The kids were still noisy, especially running up and down the stairs. Breakfast was excellent, as usual - mushrooms, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and bread with a strip of chocolate, and tea.  We talked awhile to the guy who is working on the house. He does a lot of plasterwork and seems very good at it.  

We went to the post office to mail cards, then took the Underground to Walthamstow Market. On the way a lady on the Underground told us that a few years ago there was a fire from smoking in the Underground, so all smoking was banned on the Underground now. The market is one long street of stalls set up, plus some stores on either side. We bought a kitchen basket, a scarf, and marshmallow candy (it was pretty stale).  

Took the train and bus back home to drop off the packages and went to see the Mousetrap at St Martins, performance number 20,089.

After the show we found Dukes, the sandwich shop where we ate during our last trip. We got a Brie, chicken and avocado sandwich for dinner. Then we walked around the Soho area and bought a piece of chocolate cake with cream filling and chocolate flake for dessert, and bought tickets to the Reduced Shakespeare Company show.  

We went looking for souvenirs awhile, then walked to Trafalgar Square in the evening, where the pigeons were asleep on the pavement. 
From one spot there is a straight view of Big Bend in the distance.  

We took the bus back to Brixton.  Stopped for Fish and chips at Morley’s – it’s a fast food type of place, across from the store where we usually bought a Guinness for the night.

London Day 4 - Monday - London Eye, Greenwich

Monday - The noise of the kids getting ready for school woke us up around 7:30. We tried to go back to sleep but that didn't work; the stairs in this lovely old house are noisy. So we got up around 9. Kathryn thought we might like to try a French breakfast, with French bread, croissants, pastries, cereal, fruit and yogurt. 

We took the train to Victoria Station, then took the Underground to the Eye of London, the huge Ferris wheel built for the Millennium celebrations.  
It moves very slowly, and they set it up on the riverbanks, so it provides a great birds-eye view that includes Big Ben and Parliament.
Afterwards we bought a boat ticket and had a snack of sausage with onions – it was OK, but not great.  Took the boat ride down the Thames.  Saw the Queen Mary ocean liner, BlackFriers and the Globe Theater. 
And Cleopatra's needle, which is a long way from home.
Then we went to Greenwich. We went to a pub for fish and chips and tea for me, and Shepard’s’ pie and Guinness for Randy. It was a nice pub, a little smoky in front but not in the back room where we sat. 
It was a pretty walk up to the observatory, uphill through a well-kept lawn area.  
From the top you can see the Millennium dome.  They charge now to enter the actual Observatory and we didn't go in; instead we walked around the lovely grounds.
We bought ourselves a pastry at the snack stand, and feed nuts from our trail-mix to a local squirrel. We walked though the town, then back to the lovely Cutty Sark. 
And nearby is the Gipsy Moth, the one the pub was named for.
We took the light rail back – it runs under the Thames, and it was packed on this trip.We went to Marks and Spencer, which is always a nice place to visit. We could buy tea and cookies there, or soda and snacks for the road, use the restrooms and exchange cash. This time I bought some nighttime face cream because the chill and damp weather was getting to me. We also sat down and had some tea. I love it that their sugar comes in little paper tubes. We did a little grocery shopping while we were there – ham and cheese, croissants and chips. We usually take the Marble Arch underground back to Brixton, but it was closed this time – possibly due to terrorists – so we took the bus home from Marks and Spencer. Then we walked down a block to a small store and bought a tonic and Guinness, and walked home around 8:30.

London day 3 - Sunday - Speakers' Corner, Transportation Museum and Covent Garden

Sunday we got up at 8 again. This morning breakfast was bacon, sausages, toast, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and tea; Kathryn was feeling better. Pearl the cat came in to say "hi". Breakfast took awhile; we left the house around 10.

We went to Speakers Corner first. Several Christians were speaking, and someone else was speaking against farmers – he got a lot of heckling from a couple of guys. The mad cow problem is growing, and the government is going to have to spend a lot to control it. There were several people speaking at once; they were far enough apart so they didn't override each other, but close enough for listeners to walk from one speaker to another.
We went to Marks and Spencer for tea and cookies, and did some menswear shopping for Randy. Walked down Oxford street, which is the pricey shopping street. We learned there had been a subway bomb in the early morning, which disrupted service in some areas, but not too much in our area.

We went back to Covent Garden Market. It was packed today, and there were several street musicians and performers working the crowd. 
We did some window shopping and bought a little at Crabtree and Evelyn. We went to the Transportation museum next; they have old carriages, trams, busses and underground. I bought a mug here to help me remember the place.
Back on Covent Street where Randy bought us a jacket potato (baked potato) with beans – it was really good.
The weather was cool; we ate sitting on the curb, listening to a good sax player. When we were done, we walked around and found a juggler doing a big show in front of the church; he had a good show and stayed to watch him for a while. Then we went to the covered shopping stalls and I bought a pair of earrings.
Singers who work in the covered eating area are really good; we heard a very good tenor, and a trio of musicians/singers.

Then we went to Tower Hill and walked around Tower of London and over Tower Bridge. There will never come a day when I don't love this beautiful thing.
We walked to St. Katherine’s Dock, where some nice boats were docked there.  We had some good pizza at the dock’s restaurant – ham and cheese, with fottica bread as an appetizer. Then we walked over the Tower Bridge, up the Thames and around to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We were tired by then, so we took the Underground to Victoria and caught the train home again. Got back around 9:30 and had tea.

London, Day 2 - Saturday - lots of Markets

Saturday we were up at 8 again. Our bedroom was fairly cool in the morning. For breakfast we had cereal, toast and tea; Kathryn was still sick.

Then we went to Brixton Market, which is a series of stores set in the arches of an old bridge, plus stores across the road, offering fresh fish, beef and clothes. Then we went to the market on Old Compton Road. 

We bought tickets to see the Mousetrap, and walked around Leicester Square. We also went into the Portrait Gallery - it was a nice building, but the artwork wasn't that interesting. 

We were in the mood to explore more markets, so next we went to the Camden Market. 
In one stall we bought some ground chickpeas; Randy had these in Israel and enjoyed them there, but here they weren't very good. So at another stall we had some crepes filled with Nutella and bananas, and they were great! We continued through the other markets, snacking on chips and bread pudding. 

We walked back to Piccadilly Square around 6:30. Since we just snacked for lunch, we were ready for dinner, but we couldn’t find a restaurant there that wasn’t totally smoky or packed. Finally we found a place to get fish and chips – they were OK but a little greasy and pricey. We walked over to Buckingham Palace next, to see it after dark. But it wasn't it lit up very much, which was a surprise; we thought there would be a lot of outside lights on. We were getting tired by then so we went to Victoria Station to catch a train home. A couple of guys got on the train along the way, singing for tips. We got out at our stop and walked home, stopping along the way at a bowling ally/pool hall to buy some Guinness. It was 10 o'clock by the time we home; time for tea and cookies.

London, Day 1 - Thursday, which merged into Friday

On Thursday I picked up a poorboy sandwich for us at Schnucks over lunch. Then after work I picked Randy up at 4 and drop off car. We took the airport bus to the airport and had our sandwich for dinner while we were waiting for our flight. It left around 8:00 pm and we arrived in London at 4 am, their time. Then we took the Gatwick express to Victoria Station where Randy exchanged $100 to pounds, at 15.308 rate plus 9% commission.

Next we took a taxi to Kathryn's house. Unfortunately she has a bad cold. They have been in this house about 1 year and are redoing everything; currently they are plastering downstairs and the stairway.  Upstairs the plastering is partially done; I assume they are not working on it now because we will be there for a few days. She brought up tea and cookies and we unpacked. We walked to the corner and bought soda and subway tickets at an Indian shop, then went from Brixton to Marks and Spencer. Marks and Spencer usually has the best exchange rate; this time it was 14.97 without commission, so we exchanged more cash. We also bought some cookies and cheese for a snack with our soda, which we ate as we walked a long way to the Lebanese area. There we bought a lamb sandwich to share, then walked back to Marble arch to catch the metro home to Brixton.
We gave the family the presents we had brought from home; Barbie dolls and other toys for the little girls Florence and Teddy, and a bottle of wine for Richard and Kathryn. We  went out again and had a baguette sandwich – salami with olive oil, tomatoes, egg and bacon.  Back on the train to the bus and walked home.  Tea around 8:45. Randy went to bed and I read until around 9:30.