Friday, 22 January 2010

Londinium via Petuaria and Danum

Sorry I haven't posted since last weekend, but business drove me to London during the week and today is my first day back to myself, so having taken the day off to recuperate, I thought I would record my musings for posterity. Despite the hotel's claim that there is free wifi connections in the hotel, it isn't true and I wasn't prepared to pay extortionate sums of dosh to connect.

I've just returned from a lovely lunch with two work colleagues and friends Gill and Rachel who also have some time off.

My trip to London was for my professional development in my area of business. Two days spent at a very nice hotel close to the Tower Hill tube station on Pepys Street in the City was a pleasant experience. The course was good and I learned much in company with some good people from around the UK some of whom were ‘learning their trade’ as it were, so I was able to help with some experiences of my own.

The hotel is modern with modern London prices with bed and breakfast over £300 if you book direct, but with delegate discount the price came in at less than half of that -thanks goodness. The diet didn’t suffer either with good food and healthy options available. For evening meal on Tuesday after a great journey on Hull Trains straight into Kings Cross and a tube journey to Tower Hill, I found an Italian restaurant run by and staffed by Italians in the Regency district of London. I had a tuna steak, medium cooked and it was the first time I have ever had a tuna steak (I normally get it out of a tin) and it was to die for: meaty, tasty and lots of it.

The hotel was the location for my evening meal on Wednesday and I tried duck breast. Again, I’ve never had it so as the portions were small and the accompanying vegetables healthy again, I gave it a go and it was delicious albeit fairly delicate and I’m not sure I would go out of my way to have it again, but it was nice. None of the staff in the hotel were English (that I came across,) but all were so helpful, friendly and accommodating.

Apart from the professional highlight, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I am a people watcher and let me tell you there’s lots of opportunities in London. I suppose the first chance I got was the train journey from Hull sat in a four round a table. I was first to sit at a seat which was reserved and a woman sat opposite me and the first thing she said was, “perhaps you don’t need to wear your ID.” I looked down and I had forgotten to remove my company ID badge so that was hastily removed. She was very posh with a ’southern’ and refined accent, around 50 years old and had with her a catalogue of Vogue and a Dell laptop which she tapped on for half an hour. She made a call to ’Sandra’ at her office and asked Sandra to do several tasks, politely but firmly and after further tapping on the keyboard, she decided to have a nap. This professional well dressed woman then proceeded to snore and dribble and make strange noises whilst she napped which I thought was amusing. Not another word was said between us as I listened to my ipod.

The tube was packed, but quiet of chat as people of all races, sizes, genders, either read books, magazines, played with their mobiles or listened to their music on headphones. They all did this, with few exceptions. Later that night on the more sparsely populated tube trip to Pimlico via the Circle Line and the Victoria Line, a couple of long haired business suited Australian guys in their mid twenties were having a conversation about shooting melons in the outback -’back home’ and the difference between shooting a melon with a small round, which went straight through it or a large calibre which made it explode. Fascinating!

My final observation on the people score was seen through the hotel restaurant window on a couple of occasions as rush hour hit the streets in the morning and at tea time when there was an extraordinary ant like constant line of people walking to and from the tube station. Again, there was almost a stereotype commuter: dark coat, knapsack, backpack or holdall; kids around twenty with woolly hats and the guys with scarves. Few smoked and all walked at the same pace. No conversations, just head down determination to make the tube in time to get to work.

Even the down and out was polite, when a Rastafarian asked me for the price of a cup of tea and I politely declined, he smiled and responded, ‘No problem dad!‘ Cheeky bugger.

Although the Tower of London, which was a stones throw away is a normal sight for the Londoner (and I'm not sure what it means to them), the sight of the Tower lit after dark was a lovely sight for me and I took a couple of photographs on my small digital camera which frankly doesn't do it justice. I had a great commute back home and on the train back, I met someone I hadn't seen for a year who I used to work with, so there was a nice three hour natter catching up.

The day is dreadful here, hard and persistent rain and parts of the garden are pooling with water which is not a good sign.

Hope you have loads planned for the weekend; if the weather lets you enjoy it - go for it.

A three year old little boy is being bathed by mummy. He looks down at his testicles and says, "Are these my brains mummy?"

She responded, "Not yet son, not yet."

Chat soon



  1. I love London, although I'm not keen on the crowds or the tube lol.
    I love people watching too, there are some characters out there.

  2. Hi Val
    Hope everyone there is well. London is the perfect opportunity to observe people and no-one knows and probably no-one cares that you're doing it. There is every form of human life in the microcosm which is London. I would love to spend a month there finding out what the real London is all about - what is its heart, lungs and blood; if there are any TV producers out there - count me in!
    Take care

  3. I love London but getting around there makes me so stressed, it takes so long to get anywhere.

    Loved the joke at the end x

  4. Hi Auntigwen
    My real hate is rush hour and being packed into the tube like sardines which can be very claustrophobic.

  5. I enjoyed reading this Steve - I think your a great writer - I can see exactly what you say - See you soon mate

  6. Hi Barry
    Thx for the comment, take care. Regards to Shirley