Charles Junior picked us up at DIA last evening after our looong flight from Heathrow. We are 7 hours behind London so our sleep patterns will take awhile to adjust. I awoke at 6:30 am London time and went to bed at 8:30pm Denver time without sleeping on the plane. (Unable to do so) so I was awake for about 22 hours. Then……… I woke up at 2:30 am Denver time, can’t sleep so I decided to write this post.
Since we have no idea when or if we will return to London, yesterday we splurged and took a traditional taxi from our hotel to Heathrow. In talking with the taxi driver, he said that up until 10 years ago, driving a London taxi was a great job, but with the new technology, (GPS’s, Uber) it has had a big effect on the industry.
Arriving at customs has gone even further in technology. (????) Now when the plane unloads, you have to stand in a queue to go to one of the dozens of kiosks. It requires you to answer questions, takes a horrible facial photo, then spits out a ticket that enables you to go stand in another long queue. There you have your passport stamped by a human. You pick up your baggage, then go through another gate that has two humans that look at your passport and collect the tickets that the kiosk issued. At least the kiosks don’t reflect human emotions (yet). I felt rather bad for a party of five (from Europe) who were trying to go through the line to have their passports stamped and had not gone through the kiosks ritual. A very grumpy older woman was trying to explain ( not very effectively) that because they had NOT gone through the kiosks ritual, they would have to go stand in the extremely long queue off to the left. They were having a difficult time understanding her and she was becoming more flustered by the minute. The group finally understood her meaning but not before making some dour faces to express their feelings at her welcoming attitude. We were behind this party so were able to understand the impact of how they must have felt, after a long flight, to be met by a human who was having a problem in the art of patience.
Alie was happy to see us even though we awoke her from her bedtime sleep.
Over the next week or so, I will add pictures taken on my iPhone or that Charles took with his camera of our trip. It should be a little easier to do so on the computer than the app on my iPhone……..see you around😉
Yesterday we drove in the rain, (again) from Waters End to the rental car office near Heathrow. One of the staff then dropped us off at the Underground station so that we could take it into the south Kensington area where our hotel was located. We got off at Earl’s court and walked with our luggage (in the rain) to Xenia Hotel. We rested a bit then decided to walk to Harrod’s just so that I could see what all the fuss was about. I must say- it is a rather impressive store. (Do you know how hard it is to locate toilets in this city?)
We walked back to our hotel and stopped at a store to pick up wine, cheese, bread and fruit for our dinner. We’d eaten lunch at a small cafe earlier.
This morning after we had breakfast at our hotel we decided on a route to take to use the Underground so we could see a few stores. First up and in my opinion the one that was most enjoyable was Fortnum and Mason. Whole (paycheck) Foods definitely takes a backseat to this place-especially in what the employees wear- look at that guys outfit! All the employees looked great in their suits and ties. (Including the female staff).
On our way to Selfridges’s we passed the USA embassy.
Selfridge’s turned out to be the place we had lunch, on the roof of the 5th floor is the restaurant called Vintage Salt. It was fun to see this iconic store. We rode the Underground back to our hotel to drop off a few items. Then we rode up to Hyde Park and walked from there into the Kensingtom end of the park. We then caught the ride back to our hotel as our “tootsies’ we’re ready for a break.
It has been a great trip. After being gone for three weeks, we are ready to go home. We will have fun remembering the places we have seen but even more the conversations with the people we have met. The Irish and the English have been very friendly wherever we have gone.
Looking forward to seeing you Landon- is Allie still alive?
Our last day at Waters End’s Hop Bine Studio was very relaxing. We spent the day listening to music and reading out on the terrace. We took a hike and explored some of the public footpaths. Ended up sitting on a bench in an apple orchard and simply soaking in the ambience.
This area has several hops growing farms and on Friday we saw a farmer hauling hops on the back of his tractor.
There is one chicken that I have nicknamed Henrietta. She comes to greet us and will follow you (like a dog) in hopes of some tidbit of food.
We will be driving back into London and will plan to explore it on Monday and Tuesday before we fly home.
Saturday we spent the day at Leeds Castle. The property is very large. After parking, we wound our way up the paths which eventually give you your first glimpse of the castle. There are several lakes/ponds, including the moat around the castle.
First we we went to see the Falcontry presentation which involved 2 owls and an American hawk. From there we explored the formal gardens. I love the photos of the young girl watching the peahen and her little chicks. The peahen’s stance was rather royal as well as protective as she marched them toward me. Of course I had to move out of her way!
We had a bite to eat before we toured the castle. It was on the restaurant patio that we first saw part of the wedding party. We saw further evidence of the upcoming nuptials as we walked toward the castle. Guests dressed to the nines, floral arrangements being delivered, and the banquet hall was being prepared. Obviously the color purple was being put to good use.
The tour started in the lower part of the castle which had been the area where food and wine had been stored. They give an exhibit of the history and timeline of the castle. From there you go up through the rooms, the first being the queens bedroom. Lady Baille was the last owner before she turned the property over to the National Trust. She was the one who introduced black swans to the property and used them as her emblem.
We decided to take a turn at the maze. We must have walked at least 15 minutes trying to get to the middle which has a raised area. We would see the same people wondering around just as lost as ourselves. One of the employees took pity on us and gave us the clue “just go left”, and we finally found the center. It was a lot of fun and it made for many grins and laughter with your fellow “maze goers”.