London - The First Day
Trip Start Jul 05, 2010
33Trip End Aug 13, 2010
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Where I stayed
Here we are in London’s Heathrow Airport, a bit bleary eyed although not as tired as I imagined I’d feel. Melien was quite sprightly, although the tooth she had trouble with before we left was playing up again. She is on the Panadol regime every four hours - not much good for a holiday. If it keeps up we’ll have to go to a dentist, Lord knows what they might charge!
With over 600 people in the Immigration hall, it looked like a long wait. So here we were at 6 am, queuing up with people of all ethnicities, sizes and colours, trying to get into Britain (does that still exist any more - or is it just the UK?). Eventually we got to the desk and the official, although distant, asked courteously if we were together, stamped our passports and waved us through. The ones I felt sorry for, surprisingly, were the EU passport holders. They had this electronic iris scanner, contained in what was a glass cattle pen with automatic doors. You were summoned by the opening of the doors and stood like a dummy, looking at an arrow on the screen. If you were too close, which most people were, this recorded voice screamed at you (it was loud), “Move back, move back”. Or if too far away, “Move forward, move forward”. I’m surprised that more people didn’t have nervous breakdowns.
Eventually getting out of the hall we milled around getting our luggage. Again the crush was so great that when the tide moved out the door marked “Nothing to Declare” we were carried along with them. Mind you I should have declared the bottle of wine I bought in Singapore for consumption in that country ended up unopened and in our suitcase. Most wine in Singapore is Chilean or Spanish with some Australian wines. The cheapest bottle was S$35. I managed to buy a 2006 McLaren Vale for about S$45. We are going to give it as a gift to the friends we will stay with at York.
Outside there were cabs, but some gentleman offered us tickets on a something called the Heathrow Express, which got us into London’s Paddington Station in 15 minutes. Frome there we caught a Taxi to the London House Hotel.
Most of the rest of the day was taken up with unpacking, mainly computer gear and chargers for me and a few coats and long trousers to hang up. Everything else stayed in the suitcase. I should have taken some shots of the room, which was quite small, but overlooked a small walled garden over the road. I found out just as we were leaving that the park was shared by all the houses around that Kensington Park Square! We could have been enjoying a cold one under the shade in one of the chairs available. The park view was 5GBP extra a day, someting else I don’t remember being told, along with a 3% surcharge on any credit/debit card and a pay in advance policy! That almost caught us out.
We walked Queensway street to Bayswater Road and into Kensingon Garden. We looked for Lady Diana’s memorial Fountain, but only got as far as her playground. The gardens could do with a bit of Asset Management. They had mown the edges of the grass and left vast swathes under the trees, uncut. I think the bloke with the other mower must have gone on holiday. After a few days eventually it got done. Hundreds of people use the park, cyclists in the broad avenue down the centre, dog walkers and others down the side paths and lovers, lunchers and squirrel feeders on the grass.
A bit footsore and tired we headed back to the hhotel and went to bed early.