I was awakened by the badger again this morning at 4:00am. Apparently he demands to be fed three times a day. I tried appeasing him with thoughts of the delicious-looking gluten-free bread we got at Sainsbury’s last night, which had an appointment with some scrambled eggs in the morning; or the gluten-free crumpets (!!) that were engaged to some lemon curd. While he wasn’t as hungry as he had been last night, he was having none of my ruse so once again I shut him up with macadamia nuts. He rolled over and went to sleep; unfortunately my wide-awake brain did not.
So much stuff to see! Harrods! Foyles and Waterstone’s! Dickens’s House! Pollock’s Toy Museum!…Oh, and the National Gallery et sim.
I did eventually get back to sleep, though, and have now just finished with my scrambled-egg sandwich. Thumbs up on the GF bread, Sainsbury’s.
We sought out the Sainsbury’s last night in spite of having gone to Tesco Metro the night of our arrival. Apparently as an American I am spoiled for markets, super- or otherwise; if I had stumbled into that Tesco in Seattle I would have backed out quickly and checked the street signs, certain that I’d fallen into a slum area where even Safeway wouldn’t operate. Not in the ‘slovenly’ sense but in the sense of ‘Package of raspberries? Yes, we have one. Have it quick – ’cause that’s it.’ Sainsbury’s was significantly better, going so far as to have things of delight and amazement such as gooseberry-fool-flavored yoghurt. And did I mention the gluten-free crumpets?!
|These so came home with me.|
|These did not. This is why English food has a bad name.|
While at Sainsbury’s looking at the floral display, all of the ‘Treat Your Mum!’ signs I’d been seeing rose from my subconscious like a Leviathan, and I realized: ‘Hang on, it’s Mother’s Day? But I was born on Mother’s Day…in May.’
Same merchandising, different country, different date. We’ll be doubling up, it seems.
‘Happy First Mother’s Day! I guess you get two this year. I’ll get you some flowers…what would you like?’
She chose the little yellow roses at £3 and then said ‘I’ll get them, I have to break a fifty.’
Well, dear reader, I tried.
She did request that I tell you how good she’s been. Yes, she has. She’s been lovely. For someone who’s been terrified of flying for the last forty years she handled the plane ride beautifully with only two Valium and an understandable bit of complaining about the sardine-can seating conditions. (The airlines have been shrinking the space bit by bit in the hopes that regular fliers will not notice that they’re being gradually compacted like the heroes of Star Wars in the garbage compactor. Soon, flights will be standing-room-only.)
And perhaps more importantly, she has kept up with my running-around, a not at all insignificant feat considering that her daily exercise typically includes such high-energy activities such as ‘standing in line at the Post Office.’ And thank God for that.
I won’t tell her that I still want to walk twice as fast as we have been. At least on the clear bits of street….
That’s worthy of an explanation. I haven’t shown you any street scenes yet but believe me when I say it’s solid people. There are autos (largely cabs and buses due to the congestion charge). But ask a native and they’d say: ‘Sidewalks? Oh, you mean those raised bits? Those are for people? And the lower bits are for cars? And those signs that change between red and green, they mean something? You’re having me on, mate!’
|Shaftesbury Ave. Rather less crowded than many other streets.|
|Wasn’t planning on it.|
We started off in the morning with the intention of using the last bit of our 24-hour tour bus pass, but by the time we found the stop for the proper line it was expired. At least, the map the tour company had given us said it was the proper stop; but the director at the stop said that they weren’t using that map any more, so we’d have to take the Yellow Line that we’d been on yesterday, go to Marble Arches and transfer to the Blue Line there.
Forget it. Just forget it.
Got to see something amusing across from the stop though:
|Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.|
Conveniently, we were near Regent Street, so we segued easily went shopping.
|If all shopping streets were this beautiful I’d spend too much money.|
|Brooks Brothers’ odd-cute lamb.|
|This photo is for Kirk.|
|This one’s for Ashley, Jeremy and Jimmy.|
The ThunderCats display was from Hamleys toyshop, which required all of my self-control to escape from without spending hundreds of pounds.
Although I will go back to buy the stuffed triceratops tomorrow. It’s hard to find a good stuffed triceratops.
|This one’s for…anyone who can figure it out.|
After a while we ended up on Oxford Street. I had sold Marks & Sparks to my mother as a Macy’s substitute and she was game. It was getting late by this time so we closed them out. Selfridges, Debenhams and Waterstone’s will have to wait for another day.
I keep wanting to put punctuation in those names. Shouldn’t it be Selfridge’s, Debenham’s, to go with Waterstone’s and Sainsbury’s?
One last stop into Boots to get a nail file for her and a cold pack for my laptop. It overheats, and has spent the last two days sitting on a frozen (and thawed and re-frozen) lasagna. I’m all for making do but I’m afraid my coolant system is going to start to smell soon.
Oh, and we also picked up a bath scrubbie. I’m not sure why this flat has no washcloths. High-theft-potential item, are they?
Dinner was a snap decision as we passed Pierre Victoire on our way home and our eyes fell on the £12.90 prix fixe dinner menu.
I’m not really sure why England has such a reputation for bad food.
All you have to do is eat at French restaurants. Duh.
Actually, I bet French food + adorable Welsh waiter is the best combination you can get.
(‘You’re on holiday for two weeks? What are your plans?’ ‘Well, we’ve lots of things we want to see in London, and then we’ll be doing an overnight in Cardiff…’ ‘Ah, Wales! I’m from Wales.’ ‘…to the Doctor Who Convention…’ ‘Oh, is there any other reason to go to Wales than Doctor Who….’ (cheerful eye roll))
‘Mum’ had amazing mussels done ‘escargot style’ in garlic herb butter, and chicken schnitzel; I had bouillabaisse and – this is where I die from pleasure – pork belly with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, some kind of sausage, and apple sauce. (That’s a French sauce with an apple flavor, not mushed apples.) And we shared the chocolate mousse.
And, um, I had a half of one of my crumpets with lemon curd when I got home. Because I wanted to know if it was good.
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