Posts Tagged With: London

Wed 5 July: last day in London and home to NZ

Today the tea situation got worse, there was not even any Twinings everyday tea, I had to make do with green tea! Not a good start to the day. Apart from that, I have discovered that around the corner, on the other side of the restaurant, is another table with cereal and bread and a toaster. Yum, I had toast with marmalade, trying not to be churlish thinking how much nicer it would be with black tea. In context, if this the worst of my problems, life is pretty good.

After breakfast I headed to the metro, and off to see Shellbe. Sad to say goodbye to Brett, but excited to be  going to spend the with Shellbe and see where she is living. Brett is heading off for a couple of days to York to see his step daughter Sandra.

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London Bridge Underground – off to see Shellbe before the flight home.

To get to Shellbe’s I had to go two stops on the metro, and then get off and go up three escalators and then find the correct train to get to Teddington. I found my way to the station ok, but there was a signal problem and a number of the trains were delayed including the 10:27 to Teddington. There was however, a 10:33 via Richmond to Teddington that was not delayed and had a platform number, so off I went and hopped on that.

All was going well until we came into Richmond and I half heard the train announcement about this being the change for what I thought was Teddington, and just about everyone on the train hopped off. I jumped off as well, but actually it was the change for Twickerton. Drat! By the time I worked this out the doors had shut and the train was gone. Thankfully there was a help phone and I was relieved to find the next train to Teddington would be along in 15 minutes.

Shellbe was waiting at the station and we went back to her place. Shellbe is currently working as a live-in nanny, looking after two small boys, Asher 5 and Matthew (Matty) 3. Just after we got to the house Shellbe had to pick up Matty from kindy and left me behind enjoying a cup of black tea.

Matty was very cute and was interested in me being Shellbe’s mum, and within a couple of minutes he had invited me on the family holiday in a couple of weeks to Italy.

At 3pm we picked up Asher from school, and we went to a bushy park where there were a number of deer roaming around. They are really nice boys, both asked me lots of questions, and for the rest of the day they referred to me as Mum as Shellbe was.

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Back at the house, time for Shellbe to cook dinner bath the boys, read stories and then their Dad arrived home, and all too soon it was time to head to Heathrow airport.

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I had a last couple of hours with Shellbe at Heathrow, then it was time to say goodbye 😭😭. It was really hard to leave her. There were tears all round, it has been so great being able to share the past few days with her, in both Amsterdam and London.

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Not much of a consolation at the moment, but at least these days we have messenger call etc to keep in touch and see each other.

Off through security to the horrors of long haul flying. I just don’t have the ability to sleep on planes. I was flying Emirates, and on the leg from Heathrow to Dubai I managed about 45 min, thankfully only a two stop over in Dubai, most of which was spent getting to the next gate.

Dubai to Auckland, which is a 14 and a half hour flight, I managed about an 1 hour of sleep. The flight seems endless. Around me everyone seemed to be sleeping soundly. The two people in the seats next to me slept almost the entire flight. I spent most the flight watching movies, and getting up and down (thankfully I had an aisle seat).

Upstairs on the plane, as well as business class seats, there are sleep cabins where you have your own room with a bed! Plus access to a shower. However, to fly from Heathrow to Auckland in one of these would cost $13,500 dollars per person (20 hours flying, makes it $650 an hour).

I arrived at Auckland, it was lovely to go through customs etc, within 20 minutes from landing I had my bike box and bag, cleared customs and was heading to Auckland domestic terminal. I really did not want to get back on a plane again.

My son Dan picked me up at the airport, and had Benji (the dog) in the car. We got home at 3:30 pm. Dexter, the other dog, was delighted to see me and I spent the next 3 hours struggling to stay awake until my daughter Tracey got home with my grandson Jasper (who just turned one). They got home at 6:15pm, I managed to stay awake until 6:30pm then off to bed to sleep. Nothing quite like your own bed.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I am looking forward to catching up with my other children, their partners, and my grandchildren at Jasper’s first birthday party. Sunday will be spent unpacking and getting sorted to return to the realities of work.

On Monday there will be 323 days until the next ride. The next ride I have booked is The Pub Ride, from Dublin to Denmark.

Thank you to my daughter Kelly for all her hard work and patience as editor of the blog -dealing my spelling abilities (or inabilities) and the Ipad’s tendency to change what I have written, not an easy task.

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Tuesday 4 July: Day 2 in London

Today was all about being a tourist, and seeing as much of London as possible in one day. First stop breakfast. For the first time I have not been concerned that I would not be able to find decent tea, as this is after all London. Unbelievable, endless teabags of every flavor known, apart from English Breakfast!! Luckily there was a twining tea called Every Day tea.

The buffet seemed a bit weird, no cereal or toast (or toaster) even though there were pots of marmalade and honey on the tables. I just assumed we had arrived after the rush, and had a croissant instead.

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Just before sunrise

After breakfast we got passes to the Original Tour Bus from the hotel, and headed to the stop to wait. Don’t ever get tickets for this bus – get tickets for the Big Bus, Golden Tours, or London Hop and Off – at least 3 each of these buses went past whilst we waited for the Original Bus to appear!

The bus was due at 10am, by 10:40 we were getting pretty frustrated, along with other people also waiting for this company, who like us were watching numerous other tour companies come and go in this time.

Finally the Original Bus arrived and off we went. We stayed on the bus for about and hour and half looking at the sights, and then we got off by Hyde Park and looked around the outside of Buckingham place and Westminster Abby.

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Buckingham Palace

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Westminster Big Ben

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Westminster Abbey

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Trafalgar Square

I got a photo of me in a red phone box with Big Ben in the distance, looked at the horses by 10 Downing Street, and at 10 Downing Street from the gate.

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Horse Guards

We saw theaters (Phantom of the Opera has been running non stop for thirty years), and London Taxis and double decker buses, and hordes of tourists. There are a number of places I wanted to go to but ran out of tourist enthusiasm, as well as time –  Platform 9 3/4, Harrods, to name but a couple).

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Victoria Tower Gardens

We got on a cruise to go up the Thames back to Tower Bridge, and got off at the Globe Theatre stop, and looked at it from the outside. After looking around this is also on the list for the next trip.

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Westminster. Parliament House under repair

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River cruise back downstream

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The London Eye

It was nearly 3pm and we had not had lunch so we went into a pub to try the pub pies. I had a Steak and Ale pie, which came with gravy, mushy peas and potato. The pie inside was nice, but the pastry was really tough. Shellbe said later this is usual for them, rather than it having been over cooked. Brett had a Beetroot and Camembert pie which was also pretty nice.

Then off to The Shard which has a viewing platform on the 68th floor, where you can get a pretty good view over London.

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View over the River Thames and the Tower Bridge from The Shard.

Then back to the hotel to get changed before going out for dinner. We had dinner with Shellbe, Brett’s nephew Ben who lives in London, and Brett’s stepson (also called Brett) who was in London for work.

We all met at Canary wharf at an Italian restaurant called Amerigo Vespucci. I had risotto with truffle and salad, it was really nice.  We went both ways on the metro, I am starting to get a bit more familiar with changing lines.

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Last night in London

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Editor’s note: The caption that came with this picture was “No miracles just don’t happen” . . . 

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Monday 3 July: Amsterdam to London

Today we had to get packed and get to the airport to fly to London. I was quite excited, never having been to London before. We flew KML airlines to Heathrow and managed to arrive with bags, bike boxes, etc without any issues.

We flew into terminal four and then caught the train to terminal three (flying out from there), where the bike boxes are being left until we fly home. So much easier than having to cart big boxes around, and gives a range of transport options that would otherwise not be available. Thank you Shellbe for sorting this out.

We then caught the tube with a couple changes into central London, with Shellbe as our metro guide. We are staying at the Tower Hotel and the room has an amazing view of the Tower Bridge.

Once we were checked in we went out and had a meal at a nearby pub, at St Catherine’s Dock.

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St Katherine’s Dock

I had the house specialty, which was fish and chips with a container of mushy peas, gravy and tartare sauce. I was not convinced about mushy peas, and dipping chips in gravy sounds weird but was quite nice.

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Lunch at St Katherine’s Dock

After dinner, it was time to walk Shellbe to the Tower Bridge tube, but will see her again tomorrow.

The view of the Tower Bridge is stunning, and I especially enjoyed how different it looked at the different times of the day.

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Sunset over Tower Bridge

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Sunset Tower Bridge

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Tower Bridge after dark from Tower Hotel

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