Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Series of Unfortunate Events

My trip to England had a bit of a rocky start. A few of the events were a bit unfortunate.

1. I left my Kindle in the pocket on the plane on the way to Newark. Luckily, the Southwest agent in the baggage claim area retrieved it for me. I'm blaming this on Karolyn. I'm not one to leave things behind. We ended up talking the whole time. I always read on a plane. This time, I never had it out of the pocket which is why I forgot about it. Usually the only time it's in the pocket is when I'm settling in and putting on my seatbelt. If I had been unable to get it back, I guarantee you I would have bought another at the airport! And I wouldn't have cared how much it cost!! I cannot be without my books!

2. Our flight was delayed by 2 hours which put us sitting in the Newark airport for 8 hours. That didn't bother me. They had a half hour of free wifi. I paid 8 bucks for the rest of the time. The time flew by.

3. We arrived an hour and a half late in to Heathrow. The walk to customs was a mile and a quarter. Luckily for us, a little golf cart picked us up. That allowed us to sail through a special line too! Now we know how the queen feels!

4. The drive to the hotel was 2 hours. Just our luck, there was a tube strike the day we arrived. That meant that ALL the people that are usually underground were above ground, walking, riding bikes, buses or taxis. The traffic was crazy! And tons of tourists. The one and only time I've been here before, was in September. It was perfect---not too crowded and all the kids were back in school.

5. We arrived at the hotel around noon. Our rooms were not ready, so we had to check our bags. Then I needed to get my bag back to get out my shoes. I went up to the desk at the hotel to request change so that I could give a tip. The clerk looked at me and said, "These are euros, love." Well, first off, ya' gotta' love that---"love!"

"What???  Euros??" I requested pounds but my bank gave me euros. And yes, I'm sure I requested pounds. I had to find a money-changer.

I sent Karolyn and her sisters on while I assessed my situation. My phone needed charging, so I sat down and took a deep breath. I figured out how I would change my plan. Instead of going to Hampton Court today (my original plan when I thought we'd be at the hotel by 9:30 a.m.), I'd do it tomorrow when we finished with the first part of our tour at noon. I called my blog friend who I had planned to meet after my trip to Hampton Court. We set a time to meet.

6. AFTER I changed the money and paid a 5% charge, Butch suggested I just keep the euros for my sisters trip to Italy. Great idea, just too late.

Luckily for me, the day really started to look up! I had 3 goals in mind when coming to England. Actually there were 4---having high tea---that's a given. I wanted to go to Hampton Court---my main objective, Twinings Tea and Selfridges department store. The first and last time I was here, Butch surprised me by taking me to Twinings---the original store since the 1600's. I just had to go back and restock my tea supply.

I met up with my blog friend around 3:30.
That was truly the highlight of my day! She really had to go out of her way to spend time with me. We went for a cruise on the Thames. We walked around while she pointed out interesting sights. She took me through a beautiful little park/garden outside the Savoy hotel. Our destination was Twinings Tea. I made my purchases. She helped me buy an "oyster" card---for public transportation. She got me on the bus heading in the direction of my hotel. It took me an hour, but I had a nice time just people watching and enjoying the day. I'm so grateful she took this time with me!! She certainly turned this series of unfortunate events around to a pleasant day. Thanks, W...

When I reached my destination, I asked the bus guy---I don't really know what to call him---he wasn't the driver---he was at the rear of the bus. Anyway, I asked him for directions. I started walking. A few minutes later, the bus passed me. The bus guy was waving to me and yelling, "turn around! You are going the wrong way!" I did an about-face in one smooth motion! Just like those Buckingham guards!

When I got back to the hotel---around 6:30, I decided that I was going to wait for Karolyn and her sisters. If they weren't back by 7, I was leaving without them. They got back just in time. We took a taxi to Selfridges (we love that show). Traffic was still crazy. I finally told the cab driver that we were getting out when the meter reached 27 lbs. That would make it 10 lbs. each with tip. When we reached 27 lbs. the man was so nice---he took us the rest of the way for free!!
 The store looked amazing!!! It takes up an entire block. The architecture is so cool.

By the time we got there, I thought we only had 45 minutes as the store was to close at 9:00 p.m. One of the sales clerks told me that during the tourist season and holidays, they are open until 10! What a relief!!
Karolyn with her sister, Elizabeth. Her older sister, Nell stayed behind as she was exhausted.
 We went downstairs to Harry Gordon's bar for a drink---and dinner for me.
I got the Mr. Selfridge---how could I NOT. It came with a black bendie---I learned that lingo for straw in Scotland!
The drink was really good. The problem, is it's hard to remember the conversion rate. I looked at this and saw $12.00 when in reality it's about $18.00. This has to be the most expensive drink I've ever had!! Still, just the total experience was worth it. I always try to be aware of how lucky I am to be having these most awesome experiences. That optimism will come in handy for my exploits tomorrow!

We shopped just a little. I had my souvenir picked out months ago.
Is this not the cutest thing? It's about 4" tall and has champagne in it. I love the little key with a crown on top.

We just about closed the store. We decided to take the bus home. Some young girls helped us figure out what we needed to do. We found the people so nice and friendly. I learned that very first day that if you just hold your map and gaze around with a puzzled look on your face, someone will ask you if you need help.

Anyway, we got on the jam-packed bus for the ride back to our hotel. At each stop, no one got off, but more people crammed in. If there was ever a "packed like sardines" situation, this was it. It was sooooo hot!!

After an hour and a half (yes, you read that right)---we realized we had over-shot our destination. We got off the bus, asked another bus driver for directions and began walking. When we got to the hotel, it was part of our hotel chain---but not our hotel! At this point, we hopped in a cab and were home by midnight! Just a little glitch among many!! Who cares anyway???

Gosh I just love this place!!!


  1. Wow....I'm glad I don't live in London with those prices...down here a cocktail would cost less than half that!!!!
    Sounds like you had an incredibly busy first day....hope you got a good night's sleep.
    How nice to actually meet a nice London cab pleased you were able to meet up with W.....I think she is coming to the bloggers craft weekend that I'm going to next month..

  2. What a lovely picture of the two of you! I'm sure it was an absolute pleasure to meet her.

    Travelling during the tube strike? It sounds like a stayed pretty up[beat though, by the sound of things, and would I expect anything less?!

  3. ahhh i've met the lovely Mrs Wookie, you were in good hands. You sure crammed a lot into your day, love. Made me smile reading's a word used here a lot. My mum loves her twinnings too. If you even want to stock up on supplies let me know and i'll send you some.

    I'd stay well out of the way during a tube strike, it's bedlam, you done well. So glad you are enjoying yourself x

  4. How FUN that you got to meet Missus Wookie!!! I always loved just seeing the window displays at Selfridges. I walked everywhere the three times I went to London so I was able to see so much of the city.

  5. So glad you made it to Selfridges and it was open later than you thought. That is a cute bottle too. Prices, ah yes, conversion rates are tricky aren't they?

    1. And it was so FUN to meet up with you! Thanks again for an interesting afternoon and new bead :)


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