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goddesstogo and mr. goddess's big London adventure (an ongoing tale)

goddesstogo and mr. goddess's big London adventure (an ongoing tale)

Old Nov 9th, 2010, 01:41 PM
  #541  
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I'll wear something scary. A bike helmet. A balaclava. And we'll speak in secret fodor's language.

I'll email you.
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Old Nov 9th, 2010, 02:11 PM
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Looking forward to hearing about your time in the Cotswolds. Are you going for more than a day ? We had 2 nights/3 days in various towns and villages and really loved it.
You might even bump into Flanner.

M
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Old Nov 9th, 2010, 02:20 PM
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GTG - I'd love to, but work beckons. also, you can't actually do a day trip to London from this far west - by the time you've arrived, it's time to come back.

i do like the idea of a secret ritual. a rolled up trouser leg? [oh no, someone already has that one]. a red flower behind the left ear? [a bit kitsch]. how about carrying a fodor's guide under the right arm?? preferably one with one's own contribution in it so we can prove our identities? - a sort of fodor's passport.

Patrick - your description of cracker pulling is priceless - the problem is that you haven't actually told them what to pull!
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Old Nov 9th, 2010, 02:39 PM
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ltr - flanneruk has described Xmas crackers - here's a wikipedia history - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_cracker

I expect Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and Harrod's have great crackers.
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Old Nov 9th, 2010, 02:45 PM
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Yes, we're going for two, maybe three days. We're meeting our friends at Heathrow early tomorrow morning and then we're off. They'll have rented a car and booked the rooms and from then on I think we'll wing it. We'll have all day tomorrow and Thursday and then some of Friday, depending on when they want to come to London. They'll be here till Sunday so we'll get to spend some time with them here too. We always have a great time when we travel together. They travel like us -- not over-scheduled and leaving lots of time for wine and food!
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Old Nov 9th, 2010, 02:47 PM
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ltr - Harrod's have 6 crackers for 549 pounds!

GTG - jealous!
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Old Nov 9th, 2010, 02:53 PM
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549 pounds! Holy cats, mg -- I want to go to that Christmas party!
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 12:13 AM
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If you buy nice (but cheaper) crackers that are expensive looking? It is possible to open them - pop out the (plastic) gift and replace it with a more suitable present for the guests around the table.

Just make sure you mark which one is for which guest - Tommy might not be too excited by the tie pin although Uncle Fred might appreciate the Harry Potter stickers
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 01:47 AM
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I love that Patrick capitalised "A Joke". Is it a required tradition that the jokes are dire?

Enjot the cotswolds, gtg. Looking forward to the report
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 01:54 AM
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I love that Patrick capitalised "A Joke". Is it a required tradition that the jokes are dire?

Oh yes...
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 06:41 AM
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I'm not at all sure I'm reading this in proper context, but I would caution everyone NOT to attempt to do airplane travel with Christmas/New Year crackers, even in checked luggage. The scanning equipment will detect the substance that gives the cracker its "pop", and you <i><u>will</i></u> be detained by the authorities, whether they're in checked or (worse) carry-on luggage. A word to the wise is sufficient.

BC
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 11:37 AM
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Alya - personally, I can guarantee if I ever took a cracker apart it would never go together again!

Googled and found the following re bringing crackers home on the plane - dated last year so very well possibly changed by now.

"Can I take Christmas crackers in my hand baggage?
Many airports have now banned the carriage of Christmas crackers in hand baggage for security reasons, given that they may contain restricted items within them. Therefore, we recommend that crackers are packed in your checked baggage.
Please note the following restrictions:

no more than 2 boxes per passenger
they must be commercially manufactured and be in the manufacturers original packaging
for personal use only
homemade, assembled crackers are not permitted."

and this:

"...Christmas crackers. Provided the Christmas crackers are in their original retail packaging, they may be carried by passengers. Check with your airline as some airlines have decided not to allow the carriage of crackers......

The above is a clip from the document 'What Can I Carry?' which is on the CAA's website as srg_dgo_whatcanIcarry20090925.pdf

I got it from my recent visit to Global Air Training who have a pretty good Dodgy Goods team but can not seem to attach the document to this post. PM me if you would like a copy by email

You will find a link to it here Information for Passengers | Flight Operations | Safety Regulation.

Note, it does say that it is operator specific. Updated on 24 Sept 2009 so fairly recent. It's under Miscellaneous Items - scroll down."
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 11:57 AM
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Frankly, after last year's "Underwear Bomber" on Christmas Day, I wouldn't risk it. And since it's at the discretion of each individual airline, they can both change their preferences and enforce their preferences at will. Just my two cents/tuppence.

BC
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 01:09 PM
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Since one can get cheap, middle-ish, and posh crackers just about anywhere in North America - I personally wouldn't use precious luggage space for them (even IF the explosive wasn't an issue)

Have fun in the Cotswolds!
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 01:16 PM
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gtg, I'm just catching up on your thread and enjoying all of your wonderful adventures. Please keep having them on our behalf!

I have to ask - have you gained weight with all the fabulous meals out or is all the walking cancelling out the calories?
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Old Nov 11th, 2010, 02:25 AM
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Can't speak for goddess but I found that even though I ate more fattening foods in London-chocolate, cream teas, fish n chips-all the walking plus all the Underground steps made me lose weight. I call it the vacation weight loss plan!

Agree with janis about the crackers, here on the East Coast they're showing up everywhere-even Target had a selection.
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Old Nov 11th, 2010, 11:47 AM
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Thanks for the info on the crackers. It sounds like a new tradition might get started in our house. Not sure if I will try to bring them home. I am on the West Coast and have not seen them at Target, but I have not looked at the Christmas decorations this year. We arrived in London a few hours ago and are just settling in so I have some time to decide what to do.
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Old Nov 11th, 2010, 02:41 PM
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Hi ltr,
You could ask the store if they'd send them home to you. Or buy and mail them yourself. They don't weigh very much and even by regular mail, you'd have them well before Christmas. Do it early while you're in London and you'll have them shortly after you get home.

I'm definitely eating more and more fattening foods while I'm in the UK. I'm not losing the pound a week I'd hoped to lose but I'm not putting on much. Still, I'd like to get back in control.

Having a great time in the Cotswolds. Will tell you all about it when we get back to London.
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Old Nov 13th, 2010, 01:09 AM
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Well, we're back from the Cotswolds and had a lovely time. We've been traveling with our Washington DC friends who we rarely get to see but feel lucky that this is our second visit this year.

They flew into Heathrow and we met them there early Wednesday morning and the we picked up the rental car and drove out to the country. We were there for all of Wednesday and Thursday and came back to London yesterday afternoon. Here are the towns we visited on Wednesday (with mini-reports):

Upper and Lower Slaughter -- very picturesque but you know me; I need a High Street. We did spend quite a while in the church in Lower Slaughter.

Stow-on-the-Wold -- we really only did the town square here because this is where we stopped for lunch. We ate at Stow Lodge Hotel and then walked around the square stopping in a few galleries and shops. I would have liked to see more of the town but if we wanted to see anywhere else, we had to get going because it gets dark so early now.

Bourton-on-the-Water -- I think this was my favourite of all the towns we visited. We had a long walk on the canal, and stopped into a couple of shops including the Cotswolds Perfumery. (We didn't make our own perfume though. You need a day and a lot of $ for that.)

After that, we went to our inn and checked in. We were staying at The King's Head in Bledington and liked it very much. The only problem we had was the wind blowing the outside flaps of the bathroom fan and making a noise but it wasn't much of a problem with the bathroom door shut tight and they said they're working on fixing it. We were also woken up by a rooster the next morning but, hey, it's the country, right? I think the King's Head is quite expensive but because our friends had stayed there before we got a good rate.

We had dinner there that night and it was very good. The breakfasts were included in the price of the meal and they were excellent, with nice choices.

The towns we visited on Thursday were:

Winchcombe -- we all liked this town. We had a very long walk here and a long visit in the church. They were having a Rememberance Day display and we got into a good conversation with a gentleman who showed us some of the war-time photographs, told us much of this history of the town and a great deal about the church. We would liked to have gone to Sudeley Castle but it was closed. It didn't say whether it was closed for the season or just for that day.

Tewkesbury -- We all felt that this was the least charming of the towns but that it had two outstanding points - the church and the very charming teashop named (I think) Bertie's where we stopped for a cream tea. The church was huge and so interesting and we spent a very long time in there. It's worth going to this town just for that. We walked along the Avon a bit but it was not an especially pretty place to do that, and then back on the High Street which, except for some leaning half-timbered buildings, was more of a standard small-town street with your Boots and local Tescoes.

That night we took janisj's suggestion and had dinner at the Kingham Plough which was just a mile from our inn. I'll start by saying that the food itself was very good (although I felt our inn's food was equally good) but I did feel the menu was a bit pretentious. My steak was tasty and well-cooked but honestly, it really didn't seem to make a difference that it was steeped in warm water (or something) for 56 minutes. And adventurous eaters that we all are, none of us was interested in brown bread icecream over prune terrine. Still, if you're interested in that sort of cuisine, this is a good place to go.

Yesterday we drove back to Heathrow via a different route so we could see a bit more of the country and one of the towns we drove through was Bruton which looked very charming. We didn't stop, though, and we got back to London mid-day, checked them into their hotel, and went for a walk.

Our friends have been to London many times and know it well, so we didn't have to do anything touristy. We stopped at Leicester Square to see what tickets we could get but there wasn't anything we wanted to see so we had lunch and then we browsed a bit in the antiquarian bookshops on Cecil Court. I'd been wanting to show SO the Clive Head paintings at the National Gallery and we all wanted to see the Canaletto exhibit so we went there. If you get a chance, make sure you see both exhibits. The Clive Head paintings are there because the Canaletto ones are there and there's two good little films about how they relate.

We took a nice long walk back up to Euston, topping the evening off with a drink, walked them back to their hotel and that was it for the day.

Today we're meeting them at Covent Garden Market and then possibily going to Hampstead where I have to do an errand and then coming back to our own little West Hampstead neighbourhood for dinner.

Thanks, all, for your advice about the Cotswalds. If you're planning to go for a first visit, stop at one of the tourist offices and pick up a copy of the Cotswolds Visitors Guide for a pound. It was very helpful in describing the towns and it had a good map.
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Old Nov 13th, 2010, 05:41 AM
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Very nice report GTG, and glad you liked the Cotswolds. That area (as well as the Dales and Penninnes) is among my favourites. Agree that the Slaughters are pretty and so is Boughton-on-the-water, where we overnighted. I recall waking at dawn and going on an early morning photographic walk as the town slowly awakened. It was May. Even bought some pottery. Bibury and Stow-on-the-wold were also on our itinerary, the latter being where we first tasted and now search for a cheese called 'Stinking Bishop'. BTW, don't know about the prune terrine (though I imagine it must do wonders for one's innards) but brown bread ice cream, if made well, is pretty good.
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