A Travellerspoint blog

London - Saturday, 27 April 2019

storm 12 °C
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Goodenough Hotel - Room 491

Today is our worst day weatherwise, except for that first Monday in Cornwall. It is bleak, windy and trying to rain and only getting to a max of 12 degrees (if it gets there). Lucky we are spending the afternoon indoors at Aladdin.

We wandered over to the Great Hall at Goodenough College for breakfast and there was no one there. The room is all set up for a function - rows of chairs everywhere.

Mmmmm, back to the Goodenough Hotel and down to their breakfast room - no one there either and no one around. Went to reception only to be reminded that all breakfasts are served at the college on the weekend and if there is something on in the Great Hall, then breakfast is served in Freddie's Bar. Right! Back to the Goodenough College and into Freddie's Bar. Success! Breakfast at last!

We phoned for an Uber Pool car which means we are happy to share and we waited and waited in the freezing cold wind. The car came and for some reason the trip was cancelled. We phoned another one and it kept going in a different direction from us and waiting time went from 8 to 12 minutes. We are freezing in this wind. Finally we cancelled that trip which cost us 4 pounds and phoned an Uber Exec, which means it was just for us. What a kerfuffle. We are freezing.

We arrived at the theatre at about 12 noon and picked up our tickets for Aladdin. We decided to spend some time in a pub, to have a drink and a nibble to kill some time. On the way to the loo, I spotted a guy from Canberra who used to be a member of the Sing Australia Choir with me. He is in England with the Rugby Choir and is going to Cornwall in a couple of days to compete in a choir competition for the next week, singing all over Cornwall. Small world again!

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We went into the theatre and have great seats again - six rows back and in the centre of the row with an aisle right in front of us. Phil is very happy as he can stretch out his legs. The show was great - the music was great - the sets were great - the genie was great - in fact, the whole production was tremendous. I think Phil is enjoying his introduction to musical theatre.

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After the show, along with the rest of London, we tried to find a restaurant for dinner before we went home. We went into Limoncella Restaurant but there was no room in there but the owner directed us to his other restaurant, Melanie, just across the road. It was a bit bigger, with the same menu and room inside.

We had a jug of sangria (which was a particularly nice one and not too alcoholic) and Phil had a pizza and I had ravioli. Very nice.

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Caught an Uber home and are now settling in for the night, watching the world championship of snooker.

The weather is improving. There is blue sky and the wind has dropped.

Posted by gaddingabout 10:56 Archived in England Comments (0)

London - Friday, 26 April 2019

semi-overcast 14 °C
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Goodenough Hotel - Room 491

Slept in this morning because the alarm didn't go off because my tablet is not charging, so I turned it off overnight.

It is quite cool with a bit of a breeze blowing.

After breakfast we decided to walk down to the Samsung shop to have them check my tablet to see what is going on with the charging. It took about half an hour to get there and the shop was very modern and new with staff everywhere. We had an initial consultation about our problem, then we were passed to a guy who tried to work it out for us, then we were allocated one more person, who would decide whether or not we needed to give my tablet to a technician. The issue is that it is not charging AND the tablet and battery are about five years old, so I am wondering if I need a new battery.

He checked my cable and determined that it was not working. Well, that was a surprise because it is only five months old! I bought a new cable and am happy to try this until I get home and then look at perhaps buying a new tablet. We actually looked at the latest tablets and the Tab 5 seems the way to go, but it is interesting that different tablets are released in different countries, depending on what the Samsung market survey says.

We called in the Argyll Arms for lunch and then strolled around busy Oxford Street and Soho Square. I had a pint of cider that was included in my lunch deal. Wow! I could hardly walk a straight line after that!

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Our legs are getting tired, so we called a cab and headed for our hotel.

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Posted by gaddingabout 10:33 Archived in England Comments (0)

London - Thursday, 25 April 2019

ANZAC Day

semi-overcast 14 °C
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Goodenough Hotel - Room 491

I am so tired after a long day that I don't know if I will get today's blog finished before I simply fall asleep. Also, my tablet doesn't seem to be charging and I don't know why. At least I have the correct cable connected, not like last time!

We were up quite early this morning, after the alarm went off and were back in our room from breakfast at about 9.30 am which gave us plenty of time to get ready to leave for Westminster Abbey by 10.30 am.

We phoned for an Uber car and were on our way for a trip that is supposed to take 23 minutes. One hour later we arrived. Was I in the back seat panicking - just a bit! The traffic was horrendous. Ticket holders were to be seated by 11.40 am so we had made it with a few minutes to spare. This was the first time I had been inside Westminster Abbey and it is stunning. We were directed to our seats and they were right down the front of the Abbey, just to the side of the altar. Thank you to the Australian High Commission.

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It is such a huge place that there are television screens all over the place so everyone can see what's going on. The Duchess of Cambridge arrived but Prince William is in Christchurch for ANZAC Day. Prince Harry arrived too but he wasn't mentioned on the program and I only saw him when he was leaving. We were sitting about 10 rows back from the main aisle and as Phil is so tall, he had a bird's eye view of Cate.

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Kathy Letts (Australian author of Puberty Blues and married to QC Geoffrey Robertson, was sitting across the aisle from us).

There were thousands of people there and the service took an hour and was just enough. It was a very special way to spend ANZAC Day away from Australia.

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Our section was the first to leave the Abbey, but we held back and wandered around the Abbey until everyone had to leave. There were thousands of "paying" tourists outside, waiting to get in, so we weren't allowed to stay inside. But I have now been inside and attended a special occasion and it was wonderful.

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This is Trevor Desmond.

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The weather is quite cool - a little bit of rain but very windy.

On the way out of the Abbey, Phil scratched a B for Button on the front door step! He didn't really, but I wonder what it was doing there. It looks very old but I can't find a reference to it anywhere.

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This is the queue of thousands of tourists waiting to get into Westminister Abbey.

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The cenotaph was just down the road a bit so we looked at the wreaths that had been laid earlier this morning. There were wreaths from Western Australia and Queensland and Australia, but none from the ACT.

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We walked up Whitehall and passed No. 10 Downing Street. How times have changed. In 1998 we walked right up to the front door and had our photos taken. Not any more. It is a different world.

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The horse guards are glorious. "Stand closer", says Phil. No way, those horses are huge and one kept waving his head from side to side. A whack from that would hurt.

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Getting peckish, we called into The Clarence pub for a late lunch. Phil had a beef pie and I had a chicken, ham and leek pie. Yum, yum.

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There was a group of people at an adjoining table and I heard them mention "Bruce Stadium" so I asked them in they were from Canberra. Yes. The parents were visiting their daughter and her husband who are attached to the Australian High Commission and their two sons had done two readings at the ANZAC Day service we had just attended. Very, very small world.

After lunch we walked on to Trafalgar Square, took some photos and then spent an hour or so in the National Portrait Gallery, mainly in the Tudor and Stewart sections.

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By now, my feet are killing me and we decide to head home but need to walk a bit to get away from these very busy streets, so the Uber driver has somewhere to stop. We walked several blocks and finally came to a quieter street, phoned the taxi and arrived home in a few minutes with sore feet, but very happy after a lovely day.

Posted by gaddingabout 10:08 Archived in England Comments (0)

London - Wednesday, 24 April 2019

all seasons in one day 18 °C
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Goodenough Hotel - Room 491

This morning we caught an Uber taxi to Marks and Spencers at Islington where four pairs of trousers were waiting for Phil to try on. Surprise, surprise - two of them fitted so we left with two new pairs of casual chino trousers. Success! When we came out of the shop, it was raining - quite hard, so we ducked into a pub to have a discussion about what to do next. We decided to phone a cab and come back to the hotel, which we did.

We only had enough time to google restaurants in the vicinity of the Queen's Theatre where we are attending a performance of Les Miserables this afternoon before we phoned for another taxi and off we went. Unfortunately, the Queen's Theatre is in Shaftesbury Road and there are a lot of road works going on there so it takes ages and ages to get down this road. It was the same yesterday when we were on the Hop On Hop Off bus. We were stuck in Shaftesbury Avenue for ages.

We picked up our tickets from the Box Office (I only ordered them on line last night) an had lunch in a nice little Italian Restaurant just down the road.

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We had great seats - in the middle of the second row in the Dress Circle.

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And so it began. My God - it is the longest running musical EVER and you can see why. I had seen it in Sydney about 30 years ago but Phil had never seen it, so I was so glad when he said he would like to see it. He loved it and was amazed at the set production and the performers. They were SO good. I really can't remember feeling so emotional the last time I saw it but today I cried all the way through the second half and quite a bit of the first half. I am emotionally drained! Must be getting soft in my old age.

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This is St Anne's Church, just around the corner from the theatre.

Back at our hotel and are spending the night in and having an early night, getting ready for ANZAC Day tomorrow, when we will be attending a service in Westminster Abbey, as guests of the Australian High Commission.

Posted by gaddingabout 10:24 Archived in England Comments (0)

London - Tuesday, 23 April 2019

overcast 22 °C
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Goodenough Hotel - Room 491

For some reason we were so tired last night and this morning that we slept in. Because the long weekend is over, we can now eat breakfast in our building and not have to walk across the square to the Goodenough College. So, we arrived at breakfast at 9.30 am only to be told that it had closed and we would have to go over to the college, but hurry up because it closes at 10 am. Total confusion. The manager explained that the timings for breakfast are different on long weekends, weekends and week days!! So we raced over to the college and had breakfast as usual, albeit a bit rushed, hoping we could fit it in before it closed.

Today, we have decided to have a ride on the Hop On Hop Off bus so we walked to the shop front and bought our tickets - 27 pounds each. The plan was to get off at the Royal Mews, but Phil needed to go to the loo, so we hopped off and found ourselves at Bubba Gumps, where we decided to stay for lunch. We had a meal at Bubba Gumps in New Orleans and were happy to find the same things on the menu. 54 pounds.

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Back on the bus and we hopped off at the Royal Mews - paid 11 pounds each - and set off with our individual audios. I have always wanted to go there because every time I come to London, Buckingham Palace is closed, so this is the next best thing. It didn't take very long and there were only a few people there, so that was good.

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The gold coronation coach is stunning up close, all covered in gold leaf and it is only used for the coronation of the new monarch - when Prince Charles becomes King Charles III.

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I had fun dressing up and practising my royal wave!

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This is the Diamond Jubilee Coach, manufactured in Australia for Her Majesty by Jim Frecklington, formerly of Dubbo, now of Manly. I was actually present at Government House, Canberra in 1988 when it was presented to her.

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We called into the Mews Shop and bought a few mementoes for the grandchildren and a Christmas decoration for Penny and me. 46 pounds.

We walked around the corner to photograph Buckingham Palace and the Mall. It never loses its fascination.

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More protestors - this time outside the Houses of Parliament and about brexit.

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The architecture in London is wonderful. Back on the bus, up top, and it's pretty chilly. Rain and cooler conditiions are forecast for the next few days.

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We hopped off at Australia House at the Strand and took some photos and went into the George Hotel (400 hundred years old) for a beer and a light dinner before we called an Uber to take us back to the hotel.

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This is the Church of St Clements that is opposite Australia House and when we were there at 5 pm today, the bells struck 5 and then in quite a recognizable way, they started playing The Bells of St Clements! Lovely!

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Now catching up on my blogging. It has been quite an expensive day.

I also went online and got some great tickets for Les Miserables tomorrow afternoon. I saw it about 30 years ago, but Phil has never seen it and I am sure he will love it.

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Posted by gaddingabout 12:22 Archived in England Comments (0)

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