Thursday, July 17, 2008
London calling to the faraway towns...
Six hours down the motorway, plus an hour's break, and we were at Susan's sister's house in Dunstable. I hired a gigantic Vauxhall Vectra SRI estate, which was big enough for all the wedding paraphernalia (Susan's nephew Neil is marrying Liz on Saturday)but felt, and I never thought I'd say this, slow and flimsy compared to the wee Citroen C4 diesel.
Yesterday, we took the train from Luton into London to do things I'd never done - go for a boat trip on the Thames and visit the Tower of London. Visiting the Tower was a result of re-reading Neil Stephenson's epic Baroque Trilogy, but proved a bit wearying and disappointing - not enough Mary Queen of Scots (in fact, not ANY Mary Queen of Scots) and the whole thing was rebuilt by the Victorians anyway. It's been a museum rather too long. Crown Jewels were very...glittery.
The South Bank has been beautifully sorted for riverside walking and, well, spending. Hay's Galeria is nice in a Princes Square sort of way (we had bagels there, among table-stalking pigeons).
The Thames Clipper service is more of a water bus than anything else, but impressive. Fast catamarans, and they all have BARS! We bought all-day tickets and I was tempted to just spend the day drinking and wobbling about on the surprisingly rough Thames (hey, come on, it's the holidays), but there was, ahem, shopping to do.
So James and I repaired to the Marlborough Head in North Audley Street for a libation while Susan and Martha Primarked in Oxford Street.
Terrible problems finding anywhere to eat in the evening - everywhere was solid - and the underground was a nightmare - hot, dirty, crammed and with enormous delays on the Central Line. It was a relief to escape back to Dunstable, though the rest of them have headed back into London today. I pleaded exhaustion and Open Golf Coverage.