London Recap

This time last week I was in Manchester at my cousin Dan’s flat, getting ready to drive down to London. The trip down took nearly three hours. Turns out Manchester is much closer to Scotland than London. Who knew? But Dan was game and he tossed us into rental car and we headed out.

By the way, Manchester was a revelation. I pictured something a little more Detroit-ish. But it was actually charming and villiage-y, or at least the part he lives in is. But that’s all I can say about it, as we were only there for an hour.

Half way down we stopped at a Wimpy’s, so Damon’s first out-of-country meal was fast food. Good thing he’s such a low maintenance guy.

Our cousin Tony works in London. He owns the company (bank consulting) Dan works for and has established their outpost in England for the year. Handily, they’ve rented an extra flat in London for guests or for whenever the Manchester guys want to come down. So we had a nice place to crash without displacing anyone. It was made extra fun by virtue of its location on Dog Island, on the south side of the city. I didn’t see any dogs, but still enjoyed the name. It seems Henry VIII had lots of dogs and decided to just have them all live on this small island, giving it the name.

After a necessary power nap we ran for Harrods Food Hall, which was on my A list of things to do. We parked at the oyster bar and had English oysters and beer. This was at my Dad’s direction. He told me that he’d had raw oysters at Harrods and that they were so much better than anything he’d ever had in the states. The guy at the counter told him that’s because the FDA requires US sellers to rinse their oysters, which desalinates them (and ruins them, according to the guy and now my Dad too). No such rule in Britain. So we ordered up a platter, which was served with just lemon wedge. I won’t admit this to my Dad, but I wondered at the time if those oysters couldn’t have benefitted from just a bit of a rinse. Dan says: These oysters taste like Fishermans’ Wharf smells. Damon gamely eats the remaining dozen.

After our snack we poked our noses in every corner until the place close, which was far too early. I briefly contemplated buying a big chocolate high heel, but thought better of it when I considered the transportation issues.

We spent the rest of the night walking London — Wellington Arch, Buckingham Palace, WWII Memorial, ferris wheel, Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Albert Hall (not in that order).

Sunday was wet and cold. We spent the morning at the British Museum seeing the Rosetta Stone, Eglin Marbles, mummies and all that other good stuff. I was tickled to see the Rosetta Stone mousepad I’ve been using for years still in the gift shop right where it was when my Dad bought mine for me 17 years ago.

We did a bit more walking after that, but were quickly soaked and freezing, so spent the next few hours tucked into a pub snacking, drinking, warming and drying. Then we undid it all on the Jack the Ripper walking tour led by Donald Rumbelow — “the world’s leading ‘Ripperologist'” I took his tour last time I was in London, over 10 years ago. And both times he used me as the volunteer to mark where the body of Catherine Eddows was found eviscerated in a courtyard. Must be something about my face…

And then that was that. We got a little sleep and then headed back to the airport. A lovely time was had, and I was gratified to hear Damon say, “When we come back we should…”

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