Welcome to London

An early start and it was raining. Great decision to get a taxi to take us to Waverley Station. Edinburgh to London on the 9:11 was packed. Passengers scrambled for luggage space and although it was a mission to lift our 18kg bags over our heads and into the tray, we did it! They should have been in the luggage storage area at one end of the train but when I saw the mess that was in, I was pleased we made the superhuman effort that we did.

The four hour and a half hour journey ended at our old stomping grounds – London King’s Cross. It was an easy change and we headed for the Victoria line and our new residence in Pimlico for the next fortnight. We found the street easily enough but then we were bamboozled – but then of course – 96, 1A, 1…We’re in London! We knew we were in a good area as the directions to retrieving the keys were, well, let’s say very uncomplicated!

We broke our travel pattern. We arrived in London and stayed in London!! Where to start! Planning was going to be essential. Of course we didn’t and the first week flew by. What had we achieved?

I did return my umbrella. That was major! The last time I was in London, in 2018, I bought a collapsible umbrella from James Smith & Sons. It failed and I was determined to return it. So it stayed in the drawer for four years and as soon as we made plans to go to London, that was the first thing I packed. Of course I didn’t have a receipt but that is the benefit of a credit card purchase. I took the statement page and my umbrella will be repaired and sent to my home address. It may take a few weeks but I was very satisfied. No wonder they have been in business for almost two hundred years.

We became very familiar with Vitoria station and particularly the buses. It is the third busiest station in London after Waterloo and London Bridge. The city was at our fingertips. We discovered London red buses were not always red, the tube is still the fastest way to get around but you do a lot of walking and London can choose to rain on you on a whim.

John discovered, to his horror, that his favourite bookshop, Stanfords, had moved but worse, it had downsized and moved! Three stories of maps and travel books were reduced to two. The city map covering the floor-gone. The amazing travel magazine section – gone. Turns out that had it not been for generous public donations the store would have collapsed altogether. John still gets agitated by all sorts of change…the grounding of the Concorde, the fact that Lindt discontinued pistachio chocolate and Pret no longer does rocket and crayfish sandwiches…Oh well…things change!!!

We visited old favourites, discovered new things, got caught in the rain, had lunch at Cicchetti on Piccadilly, even took in a show and still had eleven days to go.

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