Our day started with an early morning and catching our coach to London from our local village square. We sat waiting in bright glorious sunshine. Stopping off in Leeds and Wakefield, the journey was completed when we were dropped off in Oxford Street for a couple of hours wander round before our hotel would accept us at 5 pm. Whilst this bit was unexpected, we were in a lovely area of the city next to Hyde Park and Marble Arch.
Originally built as an entrance to Buckingham Palace, there was no room for Marble Arch when it was finished so it ended up as a wonderful gateway to Hyde Park and Speakers Corner (which is just grass.) There is a lovely memorial there to animals who are used in times of war. Hyde Park itself is a vast expanse of lovely grass and meadow with glorious trees in the middle of London surrounded by busy roads. A group of children rode horses there, perfectly safe in this traffic free park (apart from a police car patrolling in the distance.)
We've seen it all now, Oxford Street has a Primark. We now own a bag with "Primark of Oxford Street." We've made it now with the best. Our first hint of humour was when we descended on MacDonalds of Oxford Street for cups of tea (all prices identical to home.) I was stood in the queue behind two young Scotsmen who had broad, like REALLY broad accents and I had to listen hard to understand them. Imagine the difficulty that the server had behind the till who clearly had an even stronger French accent. It took a while for the order to be understood, but it provided some entertainment at least.
After we got picked up again, we wound our way to the hotel in Canary Wharf and passed a number of classic historical landmarks: The Duke of Wellington's address stands magnificent with the most unique postal address in the UK: 'London 1.' We travelled along Piccadilly and onward round Trafalgar Square onto the Victoria Embankment and we passed Cleopatra's Needle (it would be a bugger sowing with that)and eventually onto Upper Thames Street then Lower Thames Street alongside the River Thames which was on high tide and onto the Wharf. Some of the iconic landmarks we saw included Lords Cricket Ground (looks smaller in real life than on the TV,) the Ritz hotel, lots of embassies, O2 arena and hundreds of beautiful buildings of all ages.
An extraordinary statue of a horses head grazing next to Marble Arch.
Interestingly, my grandfather was born in Islington in the capital and as we passed a pub today called 'Wine and Wallop,' I was reminded of him because one of his favourite words was 'wallop,' which is either an alcoholic drink like beer or to hit someone. It's a sign - hello Grandad.
The hotel is okay, very pleasant, surrounded by water and the evening meal was carvery style and a cheap large glass of house red wine which was just £5, which is less expensive that Crewe Hall last week - £6.30. The waitress didn't understand the request for blackcurrant and water - "I'm Czech. Not understand." A jug of water was cheaper - £0.
The Internet connection is hopeless 'High Speed Internet Wireless Access Available,' allegedly, so I will have to bank these blogs up for each day.