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TR: Solo in LONDON for ten days on unfinished business ...

TR: Solo in LONDON for ten days on unfinished business ...

Old Jul 7th, 2014, 11:28 AM
  #101  
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Hi STOKEBAILEY,

"But Midsummer is a perfect time to get lost in the forest, so maybe Richard III was playing an elaborate Shakespeare-based prank for no additional charge." Yeah, but I didn't think so at the time. Also I really wanted to see more of Hampstead Village.

Didn't you write about walking the Heath on your recent TR? Thanks for following along...
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Old Jul 7th, 2014, 11:45 AM
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Continuing to enjoy your trip report, lateday. Great info - and I have been to that Starbucks across from Hampstead station. Good memories of a very fun day for me.
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Old Jul 7th, 2014, 12:55 PM
  #103  
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HiLCBONITI, thanks for following along. Isn't Hampstead a a classy place? Only wish I had seen more of the village instead of the woods at twilight...
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Old Jul 7th, 2014, 01:15 PM
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Hampstead Heath is definitely a place where you don't want to wander off the beaten track accidentally - you might get into deep water:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/gare...b_3064059.html
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Old Jul 7th, 2014, 02:08 PM
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Hi ANNHIG,

"Hampstead Heath is definitely a place where you don't want to wander off the beaten track accidentally - you might get into deep water" No kidding. Interesting piece.

All I could think of was that if my large Swedish friend had not been with me and I fell (OMG), I might not be found until morning - the shadows were lengthening...
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 03:30 AM
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being serious for a moment, did they give you a refund?
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 04:23 AM
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Hi ANNHIG, I believe that Londonwalks did mention a refund or paying for my cab fare, but I did not pick up on that. It was so little and how would I get it?

I must say that the company acted responsibly in their correspondence. Richard also wrote a long "mea culpa" so to me that was the end of it. I really wanted to see more of Hampstead rather than trudging through the woods at dusk. But Richard said in his email that the others loved it, gave him a rousing cheer at the end. Who knows? I do think that the company recognized the liability issue (huge in the States as you know) and tried to make matters right.
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 05:20 AM
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Now that I continue to read your in depth London visit I reaize that we must return. Our whirlwind few days in the city flew by in a flash and we didn't even touch the surface.

Downton Abbey---even though you didn't see Highclere it sounded like your tour was excellent. We are all such fans, even the GD, and Highclere was at the top of our list, only to be disappointed to find out they were closed for filming in June.

London Walks seemed to handle your dilema correctly. I hardly think Richard got a rousing cheer though.
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 05:55 AM
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I am still with your post of the British Library, and I just marvel at:
'So trusted employees were given numbered, shrink wrapped, bundles for delivery. John said, "Who knows? I may have been carrying the Magna Carta."'
This may have been the safest way to do it - with people who could appreciate the value of what they were carrying. But still!
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 06:21 AM
  #110  
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TPAYT,

"Our whirlwind few days in the city flew by in a flash and we didn't even touch the surface." That's how it should be on an initial trip, especially with a young one. You sound as if you all had a ball and that's the important thing!

Yes, the DOWNTON ABBEY day was great - especially that lovely lunch at Swan's Inn. Of course, the weather was a bonus.

Agree about Londonwalks. They responded correctly and who knows about poor Richard III? He may have other issues.
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 06:56 AM
  #111  
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Hi KOSVIE,


Thanks for following along. The BRITISH LIBRARY TOUR was so interesting - I always prefer a guide when visiting these places.


It's an enormous facility with a huge expenditure - for posterity I guess..
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 08:12 AM
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It was so little and how would I get it?>>

they could have given you a credit for another walk.

I am glad that you were satisfied with there response, anyway. at the end of our trip to OZ, I booked a 1/2 day sailing with a company on line, as a treat for DH who loves the water, and they cancelled almost immediately due to a "lack of skipper" [or not enough customers for that trip was more like it we thought]. Though they were very quick to cancel, they were very tardy with their refund, despite my numerous texts and e-mails when we got home. it was only when I started a dispute with the cc co that I got my money back.

Sorry for the digression, but it was quite a lot of money and it made me quite cross.
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 09:34 AM
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I don't count it as an apology when it includes information that everyone besides oneself was very satisfied indeed.

I like the British Library architecture just fine.
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 11:21 AM
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Hi again ANNHIG,

Londonwalks did offer me the cab fare but I did not pursue it. In Richard's III lengthy email I believe he said that he did offer my big Swedish friend a refund too which the latter declined.

I am sure that the sailing jaunt you planned in OZ (is that New Zealand?) was much more costly and you did the right thing to pursue the company . Did they know about your legal connections in London???
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 11:36 AM
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Hi STOKEBAILEY,

Your wrote: "I don't count it as an apology when it includes information that everyone besides oneself was very satisfied indeed."

Rather circuitous, but This is what Richard III wrote, contained within a larger email from LONDON WALKS:

"Definitely my fault. It was just stupid of me. I said, it was the longest night of the year, as this woman says, would you like to go for a longer walk, but it was longer than I anticipated. But I did say it would be a longer walk than usual. I stopped a number of times to make sure people caught up, but I freely admit I was walking too fast. I also stopped and did my whole talk about the origins of the heath, during this time. Not everyone was unhappy as people clapped a great deal at the end. One other man was not happy. I gave him his money back, which he took, then he gave it back to me at the end. This man with the big girth has been on about six walks with me and was fine about it, quite rightly saying I was walking too fast on the heath. My fault entirely. I should not have been so ambitious, but we finished just before 9.40 and, as I said, people applauded a great deal. I will of course refund this woman's taxi fare as I accept that this was my fault."

Richard
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 12:07 PM
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I will of course refund this woman's taxi fare as I accept that this was my fault.">>

being referred to as "this woman" would not have impressed me, and i'm with Stoke that he should have taken far more care of you - in fact, he had a duty of care and had something bad befallen you, he might well have found himself being sued. it sounds as if he had lost track of how many "passengers" he had and didn't realise that he'd lost you. Not impressive at all.

<<I am sure that the sailing jaunt you planned in OZ (is that New Zealand?) was much more costly and you did the right thing to pursue the company . Did they know about your legal connections in London???>>

OZ = Australia, NZ = well, I think you can work that one out for yourself! no, I didn't mention any legal connections, nor would they have got me very far as we were leaving the next day and I didn't fancy starting a legal case from 10,000 miles away. a good reason for using the credit card - it was the threat of being out of favour with them that did the trick I think.
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 01:30 PM
  #117  
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ANNHIG,

"it sounds as if he had lost track of how many "passengers" he had and didn't realise that he'd lost you. Not impressive at all."

True, but he realized it later I guess as I sailed by in a cab. If this had been a regular walk through the streets of the city, I could see how a person my choose not to continue and leave the group - no problem. But in HAMPSTEAD HEATH at dusk, as shadows descended, better to be careful.

Let's put it this way - he won't do it again.
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 06:22 PM
  #118  
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************************************************** ********
SUNDAY, JUNE 22 - the Royal Mews, swanky Maida Vail, a ride on Regent's Canal, return to Camden, pub dinner on "Northside"

************************************************** ********

Sunday was another sunny day, but hot. I had planned to visit elegant SPENCER HOUSE near Green Park, "the city's only great eighteenth-century private palace to survive intact." The mansion, restored in recent years by Rothschild money, is opened to the public on Sundays, but I had had enough splendor already between Mansion House and Blenheim.


I decided to visit the ROYAL MEWS, the combined carriage house and garage containing Royal vehicles which is part of the Buckingham Palace complex, near to the QUEEN'S GALLERY. This time I headed in the right direction from Victoria station to the Palace.

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/visitroyalmews £8.75


The previous afternoon, I had watched on TV the Queen's entrance into the Royal Ascot racetrack in an open Landau, led by two pair of "greys." I later learned that the same carriage had carried Pippa Middleton and other little bridesmaids back to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey after "the" wedding.

I joined the 11 o'clock tour with a few others. Ursula, our guide, had worked for Royal Collections (of which the Mews is one part) for many years. She defined "mews" as "a stable with provision for boarding above." The apartments, used by grooms and staff, surround the large square courtyard where the horses are exercised and groomed. The graceful complex was designed by the architect John Nash in 1825, though remodeled as needed over the years.

Most horses in the Mews are either WINDSOR GREYS or CLEVELAND BAYS, the latter being enormous animals trained to pull larger coaches. This is a "working stable" we were told. Horses are "worked/exercised" on a daily basis by being brought out into the streets of London where they are trained to remain calm in the presence of large crowds or the sound of gunfire from royal salutes and such. Ursula said that many of the horses had not yet been returned from Royal Ascot at Windsor which had just ended the day before.

We began by admiring the GOLD STATE COACH, an ornate fairy tale affair, build in 1762 and used for the coronation of every monarch since George IV. Note: "the coach's great age, weight, and lack of maneuverability have limited it use to grand state occasions and coronations." Ursula said that one monarch was almost seasick on the way to a coronation because the coach was so unwieldy. We then continued along the mews admiring a variety of coaches - some open, some enclosed - including BAROUCHES, PHAETONS, BROUGHAMS, and LANDAUS . All were impressive and had their own stories.

The Royal Family also owns a variety of vehicles including the grand 2002 BENTLEY STATE LIMOUSINE. While it looks black, it is actually "burgundy," the royal color. Kate Middleton and her father were driven through the streets of London in this limo on their way to her wedding at the Abbey in 2011. Ursula said that only the Superintendent of the Mews and his nearest assistant are allowed to drive Her Majesty.

Ursula had saved the best till last - the DIAMOND JUBILEE STATE COACH, a gift from Australia, presented for the QUEEN'S DIAMOND JUBILEE in 2012 - "only the second coach to be built for the Royal Household in over a century and [that] has successfully combined traditional craftsmanship with modern technology." A magnificent gold and black fairy tale coach with every convenience including heat, AC, media screens, and pure comfort.

This Diamond Jubilee Coach now takes pride of place at the Royal Mews. It's worth the trip just to see it.

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/vi...ee-state-coach

I was really impressed with Ursula and the staff at the Royal Mews who hold such love for the horses, the regalia, and the traditions of the Monarchy. They never refer to "the Queen," it is always "Her Majesty." When mentioned, each member of the royal family is given his/her complete title. It's another world, but one well worth keeping.


Leaving the Mews, I took the Tube from Victoria station to Oxford Circus, then to Warwick Avenue with the vague idea of doing another Londonwalks of LITTLE VENICE. The neighborhood is describe in their brochure as "a unique combination of white stucco, greenery, and water, it boasts the finest early Victorian domestic architecture in London; a Who's Who of famous residents (Robert Browning, Edward Fox, Joan Collins, Annie Lennox, and Sigmund Freud to name but a few); and a jewel of a "village" street." Then there is the Regent's Canal which I had wanted to explore on the previous day.

Emerging from the Tube, I had no idea what a luxurious neighborhood this was. As I approached Little Venice, a leafy pool at the beginning of the canal, I noticed a series of gorgeous white mansions designed in the early 19th century by John Nash - truly a high rent district. At the canal, surrounded by shops and inviting cafes, I spied the REGENT'S CANAL WATERBUS departure point. Why not? I decided against the two hour walk in favor of the canal ride which would drop me off back in Camden Town.

http://londonwaterbus.co.uk/

Adult £8.50 one way/£11.50 round trip

I enjoyed the picturesque scenery as I joined many others waiting for the 1:15 departure. You must step down carefully into these narrow boats, some of which are on the NATIONAL REGISTER of HISTORIC SHIPS. We gilded gently along Regent's Canal that was totally lined with houseboats for quite a distance. Truthfully, many of these crafts seemed a bit seedy as seen from the waterside. Whatever, many of the "boaters" were enjoying lunch in the sun although it was obvious that they were not going anywhere. The canal is quite narrow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=646tPG3ibqw

We soon floated past the houseboats and into a part of the canal lined with gorgeous mansions on either side with wide, sweeping lawns down to the water. Signs on most fences read: "INTRUDERS WILL BE PROSECUTED. GUARD DOGS ON PATROL." Our skipper said that some were "Crown Estates" within Regent's Park, one of which is the residence of the US Ambassador to Britain. Some passengers disembarked at the London Zoo which is within Regent's Park.

Moving along, we were soon at Camden Lock where we could see hundreds of folks enjoying the summer sunshine from the many cafes that lined the bank and the blue iron bridge over the Canal. Adding to the festivities was a troupe of the Hare Krishna sect, in orange togas, chanting and banging their instruments to the amusement of the crowd. Several revelers joined in, forming something of a conga line.

I made my way back through the crowds to the Camden Tube station. Unlike the day before, the station was closed for repairs. What to do? I was advised to take Bus 24 across the way that terminates in Trafalgar Square. Traffic was not too heavy and I had a chance to pass by UC London and Foyle's Bookstore, both on my radar.

I was happy to return to the solace of the Strand Palace where I crashed for a few hours reading the hefty Sunday LONDON TIMES - boy, do I enjoy those London papers!

Later leaving the hotel, I took a left on the Strand (instead of a right toward Trafalgar Square) and had dinner upstairs in the nearby the Victorian WELLINGTON PUB on the corner of Aldwych. A fellow with a porkpie hat sat beside me and we started chatting. He told me that he lived in California and had just flown in from Beijing so he was a bit jetlagged.

He said he was a screen writer, spending a few days in London scouting venues for his next project. I told him that my birthplace, Lynn, Massachusetts, has become a popular film site because it retains (for better or worse) that 1970s industrial patina. Scenes from AMERICAN HUSTLE and BLACK MASS have been set there. Interesting, we agreed.

On my first night in London when I was on my way to the LSE talk on this same corner, a friendly guy was passing out maps and saying, "Welcome to the NORTHBANK." Included is the area roughly from Trafalgar Square through to Temple including CHARING CROSS, LEICESTER SQUARE, COVENT GARDENS, and the LAW COURTS. This NORTHBANK Business Improvement District (BID), according the Financial Times is " regarded as a brazen attempt at rebranding in response to the major regeneration of the South Bank." Just another example of London's competitive rejuvenation.
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 06:37 PM
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Sorry, here is the correct link to the ROYAL MEWS

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/royalmews
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Old Jul 8th, 2014, 10:48 PM
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>>Just another example of London's competitive rejuvenation.<<

There's a bit (basically High Holborn) that's decided to call itself "Midtown". Ick.
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