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We saw a fox on Great Ormond St (and other sights up and down the Thames)

We saw a fox on Great Ormond St (and other sights up and down the Thames)

Old Mar 29th, 2014, 11:16 AM
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H accused me of speaking to every single uniformed employee around the Palace, which I stoutly deny: there were several I merely nodded to. I was curious to see what they would say about the rooms they stood in all day, and the answer was A Lot. Also, these were all genuine British people paid to be polite and informative to tourists, maybe decended from someone who walked there centuries ago, so why not get my money's worth?
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 12:08 PM
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lol ! Stokebailey, you're too funny. And yours is one of the most enjoyable trip reports to be found on this site
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 03:56 PM
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Mathieu, that's too kind. Thank you.
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Old Mar 29th, 2014, 09:23 PM
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LDT writes some great reports too. (LDT, in case you're reading this, I'm hanging my head in shame - you know why. I promise to make amends soon.)
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 02:08 AM
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Stoke- i haven't been into Hampton Court for at least 15 years, before they found these historical relicts. you are making me think that we ought to go again, if only to find Justin! [not a very historical name, that. Have you ever heard Alan Bennet's story about a nursing home matron that begins "We've had our first Kevin"? ]

BTW - it wasn't just granny who only paid 5p [or 6d in those days] to get into Kew, it was us! [The change in the pricing policy happened only a few years ago.]
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 07:53 AM
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Hi Mathieu,

Nice of you to remember my past TRs. Hoping to do another one after my solo jaunt to London in June if all goes well. This time I do not expect to join a tour (how many times can you see Stonehenge and Stratford?) So I am a little concerned that I will tire of my own company  but plan to forge ahead checking out those points of interest missed on previous trips.

The problem is that there is so much more to see/experience, don’t you think? I expect to have eight full days. Hope to visit both Tate Museums, do Regent’s Canal, British Library, London Library (there is one), and catch a few public lectures at the LSE or similar venues. May even take a day trip to Cambridge. The beat goes on.

Hope all is well with you. Are you planning to return to London any time soon?
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 08:38 AM
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lateday - I've not done them, but London Walks seem to get good reviews here. If I had a week in London by myself, I might well book one early in the stay to try them out.
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 12:22 PM
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Hi Annhig,

Agreed, I do plan to take a few London Walks. Did Literary Bloomsbury Pub walk last year. Looking at the LONDON & WORLD WAR I trek. I hope to catch a few exhibits/talks related to the Centennial of WWI. I noticed that the Cenotaph memorial on Whitehall was being spiffed up last summer for the event.

Also interested in the THAMES PUB WALK on Friday night which ends at ye olde George Inn near Borough Market. I know that I will never do all that I want, but I intend to give it my best shot.
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 01:06 PM
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LDT, I recall the George Inn well as it was the site of a mini London GTG I attended with three London Fodorites in 2012. Very interesting place... and the beer's good !

Thanks for your note above. PM to you imminently.
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Old Mar 30th, 2014, 02:25 PM
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Nice ideas, lateday. I like the sound of that pub walk!
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 01:17 AM
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Stokebailey, although your trip report ended, the beat goes on. So much to do and see in London.
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 02:44 AM
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... and I should add Oxford!
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 06:04 AM
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I'm another fan of London Walks. My last trip I did the Inns of Court walk and recommend it.

I was just reading a blog post by someone revisiting London after living there for a year. Her mentions of a Mad Hatter's Tea, and of a "Gentlemen’s clubs of St James’s" walk (with Mark Rowland) made me think of this thread. See: http://beachbums1.com/2014/03/31/london-last-day-plans/
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 06:15 AM
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lateday - if you've never been to the area of london known as the Temple, which stoke and i were discussing up thread, that Inns of Court walk mentioned by thursdaysd could be for you!

I see from one of your other threads that you're going to be in London in June, when the gardens should be exceptional.
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 07:54 AM
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Our first Kevin.>>>> LOL!
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 08:51 AM
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lateday, I agree the main problem with London is too many interesting and fun things to do, and we're all limited to a lifetime or less to fit them in. I do plan to drone on with this report a little more, since I haven't even gotten all our way up the Thamesis yet. (note to self: figure out pronunciation of that word, in future refer to river using a dead language that no live person can quarrel with.)

I had originally planned a London Walk one of the days H was in class, but since she wanted to join one, too, we put it off until our last day in town. Then of course we had too many other Must Do's on our list so never got to it.
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 11:08 AM
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Annhig, I do hope to stroll through the Temple grounds, right near my hotel. Must be lovely in June.

Thursdayed, good suggestion from another solo traveler – “ ‘Gentlemen’s clubs of St James’s’ walk (with Mark Rowland) made me think of this thread.” Very interesting web site. Those old exclusive clubs in the St. James Park area (like White’s and Boodle’s) figure prominently in the many late Victorian sagas.

Stokebailey, looking forward to the rest of the story …
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 01:41 PM
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TD - i'm glad someone got that -- eventually.
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Old Mar 31st, 2014, 01:44 PM
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Old Apr 1st, 2014, 09:57 AM
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OXFORD: our farthest upriver

We like to stick with our favorite places. There's a thrill to going back a year later and knowing that the White Rabbit ladies' room is in the far right corner. We had toyed with the idea of taking a Cotswolds country walk, ran up against logistical problems, and ended up having a delightful day in what flanner would call "rus in urbe" Oxford.

The last X90 central London stop is at "Baker St." or "Marylebone Stop P" per website, or "just adjacent to Baker St" per young Scot on the customer service line, or -- per me -- just west of Gloucester Pl on the south side of Marylebone Rd. It made most sense to meet H there that Saturday morning not far from the Clarence Bridge and her college. The coaches run every 20 minutes during most of the day.

It turned out to be a fine one. After a smooth greenfields ride we were ready for lunch, so headed for the White Rabbit. An ale man was explaining the three new ones to the young bartender, so we filed that information away for later. I asked if the mushroom soup was good, and was pleased that the bartender considered my question seriously. He said it was the new Spanish cook that day, and maybe not uniformly reliable on soups. I took a chance, and was rewarded with earthy mushroom goodness. H loved the day's special grilled sandwich, too.

Off down Magdalen St, pausing to listen and toss money into dulcimer player's case, lingering by the ancient churchyard graves at St. Mary Magdalen, enjoying the music and sunshine, and glad to be among those still alive that day.

Martin Amis' protagonist in Money says "Unless I specifically inform you otherwise, assume I am always smoking another cigarette." I was like that with lattes in the UK, and later with cafes con leche in Seville: always thinking I might like another one to keep the energy level artificially high. We found a little stand next to the Carfax Tower, drank latte, before deciding we didn't really need the view, then headed for in Tourist Information Centre on Broad St.

This office was busy, full of people purchasing Walks and looking for lodging. We knew from flanner's information that we could head for the Christ Church meadows and the towpaths. As we left the TI, a charming young man pleaded with us to join the absolutely free, genuine student-led walks there two more times today. We took his pamphlet, agreed to come back later, and headed for Rose Lane, past the Botanic Garden and down along the Cherwell. Lovers strolling, families, dog walkers, students sharing our path. Spring flowers, sunshine, earthy smells, water meadow. Sometimes you can find an immense tree stump vacant, sit and imagine Lewis Carroll with a picnic basket drifting down the Cherwell. We both wore our wellies, and they helped navigate some of the path's puddled stretches.

Our favorite Thames riverside rest was on one of the floating docks by the college rowing crews' shacks. We gently bobbed in the sun on warm concrete, H napping while I did a watercolor crayon sketch of the river. Behind us one of the crews practiced on their deck, coxswain calling the rhythm.

We roused ourselves to get back for the Free Tour, arrived earlier than the announced time, found no tour; saw only posters darkly warning against "free" tours. By this time the TI woman was more relaxed, sold me a £1 map, and pointed us towards a couple of colleges that were free and might still be open. We're glad to pay entrance, and had in the past, but it was getting on towards the end of afternoon.

First we visited Wadham College, founded during the reign of James I. I find it notable that Nicholas Wadham died leaving his fortune to endow a college, but his widow Dorothy did the hard work of fighting off other claimants to his money, buying land, hiring architect, scholars and a cook, lobbying at court. Four years after Nicholas' death, the college was open for business. Dorothy never lived to visit. Theres a fine chapel, and an especially lovely garden.

Up Parks Rd we next walked into Keble College and followed our noses to the Chapel. A mixed choir was practicing a capella polyphonic music, heavenly sounds. We sat for a half hour and listened, decided that coming back for the Early Music Festival would get us back too late to town.

Across Parks Rd was the delightful surprise of Natural History Museum. This building has "Victorian architecture" written all over it, even without Albert's statue out front: red brick Gothic, and inside soaring glass and steel roof. We wander through the stuffed dodo, dinosaur skeletons, butterflies, crystals, Oxfordshire mammoths. We threw money into their hat, as we did everywhere around town. Long may it thrive, and teach.

They shooed everyone out, we wandered towards Jericho, veered off to have dinner at Cafe Rouge then a couple of leisurely halves at our distant Local, the White Rabbit. Back to London late and happy, ready to move into the Celtic together for my last week in town.

.
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