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"It Will Rain Tomorrow." England Weathers The MaiTai Four.

"It Will Rain Tomorrow." England Weathers The MaiTai Four.

Old Nov 15th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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fun reading....
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Old Nov 15th, 2013, 12:08 PM
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Loved hearing about Ye Olde Mitre Pub. It is very near an old church my ancestors attended in the 1500-1600's.

I looked at Hatton Garden on google map and there is a fantastic street view going down the alley and right in to the front and back rooms of the pub.

Thanks so much. I can just imagine my folks sitting at those tables !!
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Old Nov 15th, 2013, 12:42 PM
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On my recent visit I had to return to Trafalgar Sq to get a photo of the Big <B><blue>Blue</B></blue> Cock after the fences/stage set up for the NFL rally were removed. (How many times can one capture a blue cock on their iPad )

>>>Once inside we picked up the free audio guide, which was perhaps the best audio guide I’d ever seen. “Seen,” because in addition to the audio, you also could look at pictures on the handset.<<<

I agree -- Took my cousin in May and it was the first time I'd seen those. Loved the videos/photos on the handset
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Old Nov 15th, 2013, 02:30 PM
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I am really enjoying this! Can't wait for the next installment!
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Old Nov 15th, 2013, 06:58 PM
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Still with you, Tom, and enjoying the ride....
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Old Nov 15th, 2013, 08:07 PM
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I too am still enjoying this very entertaining read.
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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 12:44 AM
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“Lector, si monumentum requires circumspice"

...is the barbarous title of a 2004 black metal album.

The mason carving Wren's epitaph had received an education clearly superior to what's available in the US these days: “Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice."

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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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If Steve Martin had seen the penquins at zoo in Coney Island, he would have walked like them instead of Egyptians.
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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 11:04 AM
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<i>The mason carving Wren's epitaph had received an education <u>clearly superior to what's available in the US these days</u>: “Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice." </I>

Ah, but I guess you skipped the all the manners classes in your British education, flanneruk? There's no need for that, particularly with the sound advice you usually give.
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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 12:09 PM
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Hanging in here!
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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 03:25 PM
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"Tom, it's my opinion that anything goes with Sticky Toffee Pudding."

I'm thinking a strong Irish Coffee with Sticky Toffee Pudding might be on our Christmas dessert agenda this year.

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Old Nov 16th, 2013, 03:33 PM
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I keep checking to see if Dick Cavett and Maitai have put up their next installment…..
so far, both have disappointed me -
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Old Nov 17th, 2013, 04:19 AM
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Well said indie-dad.

Maitatom I'm very much enjoying your report and looking forward to more.
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Old Nov 17th, 2013, 06:50 AM
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Thumbs up to indy-dad!!!!
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Old Nov 17th, 2013, 08:44 AM
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<B>NEXT: CHAPTER FIVE – Breakfast On The River, Follow The Hordes, Tombs With A View, A Slight Problem With Churchill, Just Another Magna Carta, Channeling My Inner Gerry Rafferty, The Beverly Hills Of London, The Frick: London Style, Afternoon Pub Stop, Vexed At Vauxhall, Party In The Room And Finally Some Fish & Chips </B>

To paraphrase George Gershwin, “it was a foggy morning in London town (but no rain).” Westminster Abbey did not open until 9:30, so we all decided to grab breakfast at a little place we had seen previously on our walks that sat at the edge of the Thames.

The Bean & Olive Riverside Cafe at the Lambeth Pier served us a hearty breakfast, which we needed, because we would utilize a lot of energy today scurrying to all the places we wanted to go on our last “All London Day.”

Departing the restaurant, the fog was lifting and Gershwin’s “A Foggy Day” was turning into Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.” We walked across the bridge, and when we arrived at Westminster Abbey at 9:45, there was already a line to enter (only about a 15-minute wait). Kim, Mary and I each received the £15 senior discount, while Tracy had to pay full price (that’ll teach me to marry a youngster). We collected our headsets and it was time to check this place out.

Virtually anyone who was anybody from Chaucer to Olivier to Kings and Queens are buried in Westminster Abbey. The audio guide was informative (a must if you don’t do the Verger tour, which wasn’t convenient to our hectic schedule), but it didn’t really go in numbered order all the time, so you had to keep on your toes. As a matter of fact, there were so many people going in the same direction that they were stepping on my toes.

Henry VIII’s Lady Chapel was our favorite part of Westminster Abbey with its marvelous lacy, gothic ceiling. Tracy said it was her favorite ceiling she has ever seen, topping her previous winner, St. Chapelle in Paris. Kim was partial to Henry VII’s tomb.

The abbey has hosted nearly 40 coronations and a ton of royal weddings. Every hour there is a slight pause for a moment of prayer. I prayed the hordes of tourists didn’t trample us, and my prayer was answered.

One of the last areas we visited was Poet’s Corner. Besides Chaucer and Olivier, there’s Dickens, Tennyson, Kipling and a host of other tombs and monuments dedicated to those buried (and not buried) here. Sadly, the Benny Hill Monument was nowhere to be found.

Afterward, we toured St. Catherine’s Chapel Garden, the College Garden and another Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Celebration exhibition before departing Westminster. FYI, there is no photography inside Westminster Abbey, but you can take pictures in the other areas.

Next we took a short walk over to the Churchill War Rooms. This is where we would encounter our first 2FOR1 problem thanks to a guy who I’m sure was a hall monitor in high school and who drives the speed limit in the fast lane as an adult. Perhaps, after seeing his snide comment above, it was flanneruk himself

Kim and Mary preceded us in line with no questions and problems (they always come across as so innocent). Obviously I must have looked like a scofflaw, because the guy asked me to show my train ticket. I confidently showed him my 7-Day Travelcard. “That’s not good for a discount,” he said with a bit of a sneer.

Being that this was the Churchill War Rooms, I showed a stiff upper lip and said, “It sure as hell does.” As the line of people mounted behind us, he eventually gave up his quest for full payment, and we received the 2FOR1. Quoting Winston, I said, “The problems of victory are more agreeable than the problems of defeat, but they are no less difficult.” We moved on.

The actual War Rooms that you see at the end of the self-guided tour are very interesting, but we were all dissatisfied with the way the actual museum is set up exhibiting mementos and the history of Churchill’s life. There is no coherent order to walk through the museum. At one point we were standing looking at stuff he did during World War II, and then we’d be reading about his childhood or looking at a video of his funeral. What we saw was certainly worthwhile, but it could have been presented in a much better manner, in our opinion.

We took the tube to the Euston Station and had lunch at another Caffé Nero. For a fast food joint, this chain is pretty good.

After lunch, we walked a few blocks to check out the British Library. Fortunately, the British Library puts all the big-ticket items in one room (I think it’s called the Sir John Ritblat Gallery). I don’t how many Gutenberg Bibles there are, but it seems like I see one every trip.

Oh, and what about that darned Magna Carta? Although there are supposedly only four originals, the four of us have seen so many originals of that document (often times at museums where one of them is on loan) that we all feel like we’re now close, personal friends with King John. Maybe we should vacation next at Runnymede.

Speaking of John, the best part of the British Library (to us) had nothing to do with bibles, ancient legal documents, Shakespeare’s folio, Da Vinci’s notebooks or the journals of Captain Cook. It was the display of stuff from four lads from Liverpool. Damn, I wish I had kept my Beatles Fan Club Membership Card.

We hopped back on the tube to a very old station in London. Baker Street is one of the original underground railway stations. It opened in 1863.

Of course, being at Baker Street, I asked Kim and Mary if they liked that Gerry Rafferty song. I had momentarily forgotten that (except for the music from Les Misérables), Kim’s musical memories pretty much died when Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin kicked the bucket.

“I don’t know the song Baker Street,” Kim said.

Sadly, both for our group and anyone within close proximity of as we walked toward the Wallace Collection, I tried singing Baker Street (rather poorly I must admit). Finally, he said, “Oh, I think I know that song after all,” although I’m convinced he said that just to shut me up.

The Wallace Collection, which is housed inside an historic London townhouse, had been recommended by so many people, so it was a natural, albeit out of the way, stop for us. Lady Wallace stated that the paintings and other belongings had to stay put after her death, and the collection of masters is very impressive. Even with Rembrandts and Titians on display, I liked “The Laughing Cavalier” by Frans Hals the best.

There are numerous rooms filled with antique furniture and decorative art. It’s definitely a place I would recommend. The café at the Wallace Museum looked cute, too.

By now, we were pooped (yes, the late afternoon poop-out), and what do pooped people do? Well, these pooped people found a pub. Very near St. Christopher’s Place (a courtyard filled with numerous restaurants) off of James Street (and only about a five to ten minute walk from the Wallace Collection), we popped into the nearby Lamb & Flag pub.

Kim and Mary tried some Czech pivo, while I had another cold Guinness. Tracy (not a beer drinker) continued to order wine, and today’s choice was actually better than most she had tried.

The Marylebone neighborhood where the Wallace Collection and St. Christopher’s Place are located caught our eye immediately. “It reminds me of Beverly Hills,” Tracy said. Cute restaurants and shops abound here, although I’m not sure the entire area is Marylebone. Perhaps a Londoner can tell me where we really were (the neighborhoods were all running together by this time).

Although Beverly Hills might not be the correct description (it reminded me more of Pasadena), I think the reason we were enamored of this part of London was that it was one of the few spots in the city with no construction and dust.

After our beer break, we popped over to the nearby Bond Street station and headed back to Vauxhall. When we got to Vauxhall station, we stopped to inquire with the ticket agent about purchasing train tickets for the next morning when we were going to travel to Hampton Court. This wasn’t the first person we had asked during the course of the week, and nobody could give us a straight answer where we could purchase the tickets. Finally we said, “To hell with it; we’ll figure it out tomorrow morning.”

We all got a little relaxing time in the late afternoon, and then, about 6:30, Kim and Mary arrived at our door bearing cheese, bread and a bottle (might have been two) of wine. There’s nothing like eating before heading out to dinner.

We had not gone to a Fish & Chips joint since we had been in London, so we decided on a restaurant that had been recommended by some locals on our Buckingham Palace tour. Off we went in search of the Sea Shell Of Lisson Grove in Marylebone.

Mary had a fish pie that consisted of cod, salmon, prawns, mushrooms and veggies topped with a “Cheesy Mash.” She was unimpressed. The fish & chips, on the other hand were quite good (Kim said they were the best fish and chips he has ever eaten).

The restaurant itself, however, could definitely use an ambiance makeover. The lighting was so bright that it felt like we were dining at a Denny’s. Even though it was monkeys outside (well, I guess it wasn’t that cold, so let’s say it was chimpanzees outside), we were sweating buckets in the area where we first were seated (by the fish tanks) and needed to change to a table by the window for some fresh air.

Obviously I had not eaten enough at dinner, so tonight Tracy and I stopped at The Rose for a nightcap and a slice of Orange Cake. The Orange Cake with vanilla ice cream and caramel was delicious. The Espresso martinis weren’t too shabby either.

The following morning we would wake up early to catch a train…if we could find someone to sell us a ticket. We would beheading out to Henry VIII’s residence where we would spend the morning before returning for our last few hours in London. We would not be disappointed… Hampton Court Palace certainly lived up to the hype, but as good as the inside is to tour, it was the outside that is forever etched in our collective memories.

<B>NEXT: CHAPTER SIX – Coming Out Of The Closet, That’s The Ticket, I’m Henry VIII I Am, Garden Splendour, A Return To St. Christopher’s Place, A Lesser Palace, Party In The Room: Part Deux and “You’re Back!” </B>
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Old Nov 17th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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Fish and chip shops are in no way about ambience or even much comfort - locals are more likely to do take out. And they are places to eat fish and chips, anything else might be edible, but easily might not.
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Old Nov 17th, 2013, 09:58 AM
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Good job with the War Room nazi!
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Old Nov 17th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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St Christopher's Place is off Oxford St!

Loving the report!
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Old Nov 17th, 2013, 11:27 AM
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Tom, continuing to follow along. Boy, you guys certainly covered a lot of ground. Glad you enjoyed the WALLACE COLLECTION ...
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Old Nov 17th, 2013, 12:19 PM
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Freudian slip? " . . . beheading out to Henry VIII . . ." I'm loving this report.
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