Saturday, November 10, 2007

Back to London again

We travelled to London today, partly to box up the extra stuff we’re sending home separately, and partly to catch up with one or two people (and London itself) who we won’t see again for a while. And thirdly, to check out with Korean Air as to whether we could alter the dates for our return. We’ve decided we want to come back a bit sooner. Korean Air was very helpful, and will do the alteration for free! So we’re going to leave England on the 26th November, rather than the 2nd of December.
Korean Air is situated in Piccadilly, so after we’d been there we wandered back along the street looking at the shops, including one extraordinary place (called Andy and Tuly) that supposedly sells waistcoats primarily, but had nothing but cufflinks in its windows, hundreds of pairs of them. And all of them priced over the £100.
Crown Relocation, who are sending our extra stuff home, couldn’t have been more helpful. They provided everything, were very pleasant with it, and best of all: we managed to get everything we’d taken with us into the two boxes.
We’re staying in a rather unusual accommodation: it’s over a Café in North West London - South Ruislip, to be exact. The café obviously caters for drivers and other blue collar workers and its food is good old-down-to earth English; the room we have isn’t the best we’ve had (!) but for three days it’ll be okay. The leg of one of the beds ’broke’ when a certain wife sat on the bed after we arrived, but the leg has obviously been broken for a while. I told the owner, and he feigned surprise - I say, ’feigned’ but it may have been genuine. The room has a tv, fridge, microwave and a kettle - the latter item is something that’s always been missing from European hotel rooms.
I drove all the way into Ruislip today - a first. I haven’t driven in London at all before. It certainly wasn’t as bad as the previous two times we came when we got stuck in long traffic jams and the brakes heated up and failed.
The Indian community is apparently celebrating Diwali - or else there are a lot of people using up unused fireworks out there. One enthusiastic lot let a whole pile off while we were standing at the South Ruislip station this afternoon - it was a bit pointless since none of the lights could be seen. However, there was a much more timely display later on, when it was dark, while we were sitting in a café in Shepherds Bush having milkshakes (with NZ icecream in them).
We had a meal in the West End, at a some sort of noodle house in the Haymarket. The food was great: I had a chicken satay and Celia a large noodle soup with chicken. This was after we’d spent some time exploring the five storeys of Waterhouse’s - good grief. Too many books, but I finished up buying one on Alfred Hitchcock and his movies anyway, by Patrick McGilligan.
Then we got the bus back to Shepherd’s Bush, pointing out well-known places as we passed them, checking out the Christmas lights in some of the major shops (Fortnum and Mason’s is celebrating its tricentenary and have done the Twelve Days of Christmas as their window display. Hugely detailed and wonderful conceived.
We also stumbled on the Orlando Chamber Choir rehearsing for their performance tonight of Handel’s Jephtha. It was a bit bitzy, as you’d expect, but worth sitting in on all the same.

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