2 Antiques Go Antiquing In London

Old Mar 29th, 2010, 10:04 AM
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2 Antiques Go Antiquing In London

Rebecca took us to airport, got wheelchair and checked in. The AA desk arranged for chairs in Miami and London. This is a great way to get thru security quickly, try it even if you don’t need a wheelchair!
Full flight, disgusting meal and drinks are $7.00 but what the hell we are on the way!!
March 12
Early arrival but Justairports are waiting. The return trip shuttle was less expensive than the HEX and a cab from the train station.. Arrived at Jurys Inn Chelsea before 9 AM but our room is ready. Unpacked a bit and David hit the sheets and I hit the streets!! The new tube station is located just behind the hotel so filled up our Oysters and then walked over to Imperial Wharf to check out the shops. M&S closed down so there is no longer a grocer nearby but there is a wine shop. Walked out to the river and enjoyed the sun for a bit. Back to the room , D is up and having a bath. He turned on the shower and the shower head promptly blew off and threatened to soak down the bathroom. Reported it to reception and as it couldn’t be fixed quickly they changed our roomJurys does give good service and the staff is most pleasant. It is a bit far from the center but transportation is great and I usually can get a good rate.
Stopped along the King’s Road for lunch, can’t remember just where and wandered among the shops for a bit. We were disappointed to see Antiquarious was closed and replaced by Anthropologies. Bummer!!
Back to the hotel to change for dinner at La Famiglia, always our first food choice for our first night. All our old friends are there and David’s mussel order was placed even before we sat down!! David had the mussels, swordfish and tiramisu and I had fried baby artichoke hearts and the thin lamb with mint. A nice bottle of red to accompany it. And so off to bed, I’m finally pooped!
March 13
Up early and after a full English breakfast at our hotel, left to get the tube to Leicester Square hoping to get tickets for Oliver. David got in line and I sat and enjoyed the sun in the square. No Oliver tickets today so got them for Priscilla , queen of the desert. It’s a short walk to the National Portrait Gallery from the square so we headed off there . Spent about 2 hours wandering thru the galleries then went to the Porcupine for some Cheddar and pickle sandwiches Got to the theatre a few minutes earlier so had a coffee at the pub next door. Shared the table with a lovely lady from Cambridge who was in town for some theatre.
The play was really funny and well acted. It’s about 3 drag queens traveling to the Australian Outback in a lavender bus named Priscilla. Their adventures and misadventures along the way , the costumes and the acting were all super. All the chorus “girls” are guys and I envied their great legs and butts!! The music is mostly ABBA and a lot is lip-synched but the audience was rocking!!
Dinner tonight was at Chez Gerard on Kensington High St. Had a darling French girl as our waitress. She pronounced all the English words with a charming accent. David had whitebait and Snepper, actually it was snapper but that it what she called it. I opted for their Onglet with Bernaise sauce. I always seem to have the same thing there. A nice couple from Richmond were sitting next to us so we had a long conversation with them about many things over after dinner drinks.
March 14th
Up early and headed to Waterloo for the train to Portsmouth Harbour. The stop is right at the harbour so not much walking to get to where we were going. We could see the Spinnaker Tower behind us and The Warrior ahead. The main purpose was to see Nelson’s ship the Victory. The whole place is amazing. You can see 200 year old ships and modern warships right ahead of you. There is also a ferry to the Isle of Wight. We are going there sometime, if I have my way. Went thru the Victory and almost knocked ourselves out a few times on the low beams. I takes a good hour to go thru the ship, went into the navel museum and browsed briefly before having lunch at one of the cafes on site. There was also a huge antiques center there so we spent quite some time going thru that before heading back to London.
Dinner at Café Montepeliano, osso bucco with a yummy saffron risotto for me and Mushroom ravioli with a mushroom gorgonzola sauce for David. It was so good I made it the other night for dinner at home. A shared piece of torta della nonna and then we headed back to the hotel. Café Montepeliano is an excellent café , right across from Harrods and very reasonable for the quality.
March 15th
Spent the day at the Imperial War Museum , it’s a must for every trip. They had a new exhibit on war time foods that was very interesting. The guard at the school entry door said he was surprised to see us so soon again. I always make a joke with him about the noisy children and offer him ear plugs. Had lunch there, they have the best mac and cheese! Took a different bus back and stopped off at some areas we hadn’t visited before just to walk around.
Back to the hotel and had a drink in he bar as M&S has closed their store at the Wharf and the only wine shop in the complex is very expensive. I’ll stop at Waitrose tomorrow and buy some cheap wine for the room.
Dinner at Orsini across from the V&A. Shared their big antipasto platter and both had calamari and a salad. Another inexpensive evening.
March 16th
Caught the bus after breakfast for Grey’s Antiques Market and spent about 2 hours browsing thru all the shops. Too much jewelry there for my tastes and our favorite dealer has closed up shop. Walked over to the Wallace Collection to see David’s favorite painting, The Arab Tent by Landseer and to walk thru the beautiful rooms. It really is worth a few hours visit. I remembered Sheila said she had a good lunch or tea there so we sat in the covered courtyard and enjoyed some game pate and salad with Parma ham. It’s worth the visit just for lunch! Took a stroll thru Selfridges and along Bond street before heading back to the hotel.
Dinner at the Cadogan Arms on King’s Rd. A top table reservation got us 25% off the bill! We both had Sea Bass with baby vegetables , I had sticky toffee pudding and D had an orange marmalade cake. I need to find a recipe for that.
Bus problems on the way back but no big deal
March 17th
Off to Drury Lane theatre to get Oliver tickets at the box office. Sometimes going to box office on the day of the performance you want to see is even cheaper than TKTS. We got 50 GBP seats for 25 GBP 7 rows from the stage.
Took the bus over to Somerset House to see the Michelangelo drawing exhibit. Fantastic! Spent about 2 hours there then headed back to the theatre district for lunch before the performance. Lunch at the Marquess of Anglesey pub right across from the venue. I stuck to cheese again and D had a disgustingly overcooked burger.
Seats were great and the music was lovely. The boy playing Oliver was excellent. The actor playing Bill Sikes was evil incarnate. At the curtain call people were clapping and booing him at the same time. About the only time I’d consider booing a compliment. All the children were excellent
Back to hotel to change for dinner at The King’s Road Steakhouse- Marco Pierre White. We both had rack of lamb, 6 ribs each !! On a bed of braised red cabbage with roast potatoes and a side of spinach. Both went with Sticky Toffee again. This was another top table reservation and 50% of the main courses. Can’t beat that for a real bargain.
March 18
David’s birthday and reservations at La Famiglia…except he woke up really sick. It must have been that burger as we had the same things the night before. Canceled La Famiglia and booked for tomorrow. I’m an optimist and was sure he’d be better by then.
I took off for the antiques fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall and spent quite a bit of time browsing before heading off to Carluccio’s for lunch. Did some window shopping and stopped in Waitrose for some of their packaged olives to bring home. I’m addicted. They also had Villa Maria wine on special at 5 GBP a bottle. What a deal , wish I could have carried some of that home as it’s almost $20.00 a bottle here. My friend Bob owns the vineyard in NZ that supplies their grapes.
Back to hotel and D is still sick so went down to the bar to get some dinner. The bar was packed with gents in tuxedos and formal kilts! One guy in a kilt offered to buy me a drink….the highlight of my trip!!
Had a good pasta dish, the food in the bar is the same as the restaurant but several pounds cheaper, can’t figutre that out!
March 19
David is better this morning. Set off for Christies as I had some pictures of things I wanted evaluated. Got a nice surprise on the 1 item!1
Then back to the Duke of York plaza for the BADA antiques show. There is absolutely nothing there we could ever afford but it is fun to look and talk with the dealers. Spent a few hours then left the show to have lunch at Partridge’s grocery right next door. Bought some more goodies I had quiche, spinach and peppers D had squid. Then back to Bada for another walk thru. Took the bus down to Chelsea Old Town Hall so D could check out the show there.
Got back to hotel just in time to change for dinner at La Famiglia. We both had veal, mine Marsala and D’s stuffed breast. We had dessert and then our waiters surprised D with another with a candle for his birthday. Of course he ate that piece too!
March 20
At the V&A as it opened the new Medieval and Renaissance rooms are open and spectacular!! Really
a special visit. Took a bus down to the Royal Academy to see the Van Gogh show but the lines were enormous. I should have booked online. Figured we’d probably seen most of the stuff anyway in Amsterdam so went across to Belagio for some lunch.
Stopped at Harrod’s on the way back to the hotel to check out the antique furniture and the Food Hall!
Back at the hotel a bit early so we walked over to Imperial Wharf and strolled along the river for a bit.
Had a 7 PM reservation at Frankie’s Criterion- Marco Pierre White. Got there right on time and were pleasantly greeted by the receptionist. This was the LAST pleasant thing about it! Told our table was not quite ready and have a seat in the lounge area. Sat down across from a group of boys. I have no idea what they were doing in a place like this. Dressed in hoodies and pants on the ground. One appeared to be seriously drunk. David thought someone might have hit him really hard. The maitre d’ didn’t seem at all concerned. They finally left. After 10 minutes they showed us to a bare table. No silver, no napkins, no menus and no one asking if we’d like a drink or to order our wine? The couple at the next table were in the same condition. And had been waiting even before we arrived. After 20 minutes with no waiter appearing we got up and left. Boy did I write a review on Top Table and Trip advisor! Walked up the street and went to café Montpeliano again. They were just as busy as Frankie’s but we were quickly seated and served. I had the same Mushroom gorgonzola pasta David had before and I forgot to write down what he had. I think it was fish.
March 21
Meeting a friend from Our Paris Forum, Megan at noon, so just went for a troll down the King’s Rd and to peek in a church we’d missed on previous trips.
Back to hotel and Megan showed up right on time. She lives in Woking and the train/tube station is right behind Jurys. Talked a bit in the lobby before heading off to Langan’s Coq d’Or. This restaurant used to be owned by our friend, Peter,family before it was bought by Michael Caine. I remember my old boss in Pittsburgh telling me about dining there.in the 60’s
It is a very pretty restaurant and has an excellent well-priced menu. It is going on my permanent list. Megan had sweetbreads, D, lamb and I had the Sunday roast, nice rare beef and Yorkshire pudding with roast potatoes and veg.We all had crème brulees for dessert.
We parted outside the restaurant, Megan was going off to visit a relative and I wanted to pack and have a nap so we headed back to the hotel.
Still full later in the evening so went down to the bar and David had a sandwich, I ate ¼ of it along with some wine and off to bed!
March 22
Lat day and there is still lots on my to do list, as usual. First went to the National Gallery for a few hours the off to St Paul’s. Hadn’t been there in ages. It was free that last time we went , it’s now 11.50 OAP rate per person. You ought to see it at least once and the money does go to a good cause. Had a nice sit in the sun in the church yard before going for some lunch at some pub or other.
Walked over toward the Museum of London but it was getting late so decided to head back. Couldn’t find the right bus stop so took one that was going to Liverpool St station as I knew we could pick up the 11 there. Had a real sightseeing tour. I don’t know why people spend money on the HOHO buses when they can take the 11 and it hits almost all the tourist spots!
After our long bus ride we didn’t feel like going far afield so went to Carluccio’s. David has decided it’s his second favorite London restaurant. It is noisy but it’s a pleasant buzz, the food is excellent and the price is righted had mussels and clams for a starter and said it was as good as La Famiglia, the sauce was different. I ordered a plate of proscuitto, expecting a small side plate of ham. It was a dinner plate covered with ham, almost more than I could eat so D helped me. We both had sea bream which really really was extra good and big portions. No room for dessert though. Back to hotel for an early night as our driver is picking us up at 5:30 AM.
March 23
Driver right on time and with no rush hour traffic we were at LHR by 6 AM. Got some breakfast at EAT and hung out until our 9:30 flight. Thank God for wheelchairs or I’d still be at LHR. It was miles to the gate area from check in and the moving walkways weren’t moving this morning.
Flight held up about an hour on the runway and I was stressing we would miss our flight from JFK> Good tailwind though so we arrived as scheduled. Still a tight co0nnection as even though you don’t leave the secure area you have to go thru security again. And Honest Jody told the custom guy she had food so we also had to go thru customs. I told him it was only olives but he didn’t care!
All our flights were full. We had a funny flight attendant on the JFK/MCO flight . He was from Pittsburgh so we had a nice talk with him and got a free drink!!
Home again and I can start planning our London/Paris trip in October!!

And I forgot something really interesting. While we were waiting for the National Gallery to open we were talking with the Trafalgar Square clean up man. He was most interesting. Told us he was just back from India and was planning on NYC for Christmas. David asked how the pigeons got shooed off so effectively. Seems there is a Hawk Man that comes every day and flies 2 hawks around the square. The pigeons stay far away. We came out later and he was there so took a lot of pictures and David had a long talk with him
Forgot another funny story.. We were in one of the museums, I think the National Gallery. There was a group of little boys , around 5 years old and in their school uniforms, They were being shown various pictures and having them explained. The teacher was sitting on the floor surrounded by them and they were all so cute. She asked who the baby was in the picture, all the little hands went up..Baby Jesus, Correct Now who was his Mum? Mary.Right . Now see this man here , he was Baby Jesus's father, what was his name? No hands!! Okay I'll give you a hint she said. It starts with a J. At once a little hand went up. JIM!!Cracked me up and I don't know how the teacher kept a straight face.

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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 11:20 AM
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Probably should have noted , there is not much touristy things in here. We've gone to London at least once or twice every year for thw last 40 so been there done that!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 11:26 AM
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Antiques? I don't think so. (The participants, not the objects of desire.)
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 11:43 AM
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That was D's 72nd birthday we celebrated!And I'm not far behind!!!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 11:48 AM
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Love your cool story about the Hawk Man!

I guess the 5 year olds in the gallery might have been confused that Jesus's father's name began with a J perhaps some had heard stories that he was the son of god! (Jod?).
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 12:15 PM
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Forgot another incident in London last week.

Got on a bus , and there was a poor old man behind me with ever severe Parkinson's or some kind of palsy. His whole body was shaking all over. Looked in the priority seats that are reserved for the elderly, the disabled or the pregnant. The second set of seats had 2 boys about 10 or 11. I asked them nicely to stand up and give up their seats . A lady in front of them also in a priority seat , turned around and yelled at me! You are not asking them to give up the seats!! I responded ..Yes I AM! And if you're their nanny, I was sure she was not the mother, you should be teaching them that! The boys got up and nanny also . The old shaky man and I then sat down. D was having a good laugh further back in the bus! And another older lady, sitting in one of the priority seats thanked me!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 12:28 PM
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Thanks for the info. I am going to London this weekend and noted some of your restaurant picks.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 01:10 PM
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J, enjoyed your report.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 01:42 PM
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Thanks for all the good eating place tips!I'll try some of them out in April/
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 02:12 PM
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Lovely trip report, Avalon!

I doubt this is the same orange marmalade cake recipe, but I have tried this one, from Jan Karon's Mitford book series, and it's very good.


Lee Ann
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 02:21 PM
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Thanks for your report. We checked out some of your ideas and are very pleased!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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Great report. We're arriving for our 2 week London/England/Wales trip 4 months from today! Yea! So I'm really enjoying others' recent London experiences. And your still traveling into your...older years is very encouraging! I especially enjoy trip reports like yours that reveal a bit of the personality of the travelers, too. Thanks!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 02:40 PM
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great report, avalon.

your antique hunting takes me back to when I used to work in London and spent a lot of my spare time wandering round antique shops, mainly looking for plates to add to my collection. looking something specific always made the wandering more interesting.

Do you have anything that you look for particularly?
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 03:09 PM
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Also enjoyed the hawk story. How nice to return and really explore. Thanks, avalon.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 03:36 PM
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Your story gives me hope that we might not be too old for antiquing in London. Have been to Bath and Sussex but never actually stayed in London. Husband would like to visit the antique markets but exchange rate has kept us away. He is into small stuff like advertising, old toys, etc. How were prices this trip, now that the pound has devalued a bit?
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 03:49 PM
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Great report! I really enjoyed it...sorry you DH was sick...that's the pits
I want to try Carluccios next time.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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Thanks. Some good ideas in here!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 04:39 PM
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You always do GREAT reports!!!! Kudo's to you for getting those kids moved on the bus!!
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Old Mar 30th, 2010, 05:27 PM
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Fun details, avalon. Thanks.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 05:31 PM
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Antiques - te trade has changed a lot in the last decade, but it does mean that those still interested can get some fantastic bargains.

The V&A is a mecca for me - I was a bit disappointed in August last year as so much was either "out on loan" or just not on display - a lot of renovation to the building going on then.
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