Without ever being sure when or how, and with a year or so’s careful non-planning, my trip to London and Brighton started at around 5pm on a warm and sunny Wednesday afternoon. Marianne and I had shared a pleasant late breakfast at Mrs S in Maylands, picked up the mail, seen my mum, and then headed home for me to finish packing. Then a circuit to pick up the girls, so they could seems off at the airport.
Based on Alisa’s recommendation, I decided to give Singapore Airlines a try, with mixed results. The check-in was smooth and the staff terrific, but aspects of the old 777 layout made the flight extremely uncomfortable. The SA people were lovely, though, and the long haul flight much better on SA’s new and very comfortable layout. I even slept a little, in between blearily watching TV and reading Lavie Tidhar’s The Violent Century. By the time I got to Heathrow, 22hrs after Perth and 35hrs after my last night’s sleep, I was more than ready to get off the plane. I am, however, optimistic about the flights home.
It took about an hour to clear Customs, and I then wandered around a little before deciding to take the express train into London, and a cab over to the hotel. It was about 9:45am when I got there, where I was told I couldn’t get a room till 3pm. With that, I decided to go with our original plans, so I headed over to Camden Town to visit John and Judith Clute. They have a wonderful, filled but not cluttered, intriguing, arty home at 221B and were delightful and welcoming hosts for a weary traveler. We talked till Gary Wolfe arrived just after 1pm, then had some lunch in their rooftop garden. Ellen Klages arrived at about 3:30pm, and our London group was complete.
We talked till around 5pm, when we headed back to the hotel, the over to Picadilly to me up with Garth and Sean for first whiskey and then dinner at a nearby Mexican/Polish restaurant where we had a terrific South Australian red and I had some wild boar. Jet lagged, we all decided to head back to our hotels early. A quick tube ride, though, and Ellen & Gary & I found ourselves drinking in a Camden pub till nearly midnight.
This morning has started slowly. Frankly, I didn’t sleep well, but have enjoyed puttering around and exploring the local area. Next: the British Museum (I think).