Tuesday, July 20, 2010

19-20 July 2010 London

Queue at Madame Tussauds

Queue at Madame Tussauds

Mick at Trafalgar Square

Lyn outside Baker Street Tube station

Lyn at Marble Arch

Lyn at Charing Cross station

Lyn outside Australia House, The Strand, London

Princess Diana's memorial notice stating "This is an area for quiet enjoyment.....'If you want to stuff around annoying people go elsewhere (my words)...

Lyn reflecting at Princess Diana's memorial pool

Lyn complaining to the caretaker

School hooligans at Diana's Memorial

Lavender bordering Princess Diana's memorial pool

Flash Merc in Londons Mayfair

Shop in London selling real hair (properly procured of course)and fitted whilst you wait. We also saw a shop that does teeth whitening on the spot for £129.99!

After a good night’s sleep happy that Casey Stoner had managed to edge out Valentino Rossi to take 3rd in the 8th round of the Motogp world championship, we left the very nice and quiet Premier Inn in Catbrain Lane (I kid you not) Cribbs Causeway, on the outskirts of Bristol to head to London.

We decided to take the motorways and used the M5, M4 and the M25 which is the ring road around London despite the fact that the travel planner wanted us to drive straight through the centre of London.

It took about 3 hrs at a steady 60-75mph and contrary to popular belief, the M25 did not become a parking lot and we whizzed along unimpeded.

We were pretty tired when we arrived at Plumstead and Zara, Mick’s cousin, was here to meet us.

The next morning we were off early to the local railway station which was about a 15 minute walk down the road to get our rail ticket for the day. When we arrived at the station the ticket machine wasn’t working so we went inside to get one at the ticket counter to find that it wasn’t manned.

So we had fallen at the first hurdle. What to do next. Mick’s thoughts were to just get on the train and tell them at the other end that we were tourists and had tried to get tickets and couldn’t. Anyway, we decided against that idea and asked a bloke at the station who was fuming that he couldn’t get a ticket and would have to walk to the next station. He said we could get one if we walked down the street for about a klm and buy one at a shop.

So we trudged off down the street and found a supermarket that sold tickets and we bought a day ticket each for all of the trains, tubes and buses in London for £6.30 each. Tickets in hand we headed back to the railway station for the 1+ rail trip into London.

We had decided that today would be a test run and we would go to Madame Tussauds to see how we coped.

We were armed with maps of the city and a plan of the rail and underground (tube) and found it reasonably easy to get around after we had worked out what it all meant and so walked out of the tube station on Baker Street right outside Madame Tussauds. You beauty! we exclaimed until we saw the queue of what looked like thousands waiting to go in. (Baker Street is where Sherlock Holmes lived and there is a statue of him there).

Undaunted we joined the queue which seemed to be moving and thought it would take about 30 minutes to get to the head of it. Then a bloke came walking down asking people if they had tickets. People in the queue were pulling out computer printouts which was a bad sign for us as we didn’t have one. When he reached us we said we were there to buy our tickets. And you guessed it, we were in the wrong queue.

He pointed down the road a bit to this other queue which was 10 times bigger than ours and said that’s were we needed to be as we hadn’t booked online.

Lyn’s jaw dropped as we surveyed all the people waiting and after a brief discussion decided to give it a miss for the day.

To walk up and buy a ticket costs £28 (about $47 each). How many attractions in Australia would you pay nearly $100 for a couple to get in?

We looked at the map and decided the as Hyde Park was ‘just down the road’ we would walk down to have a look and see some of the city on the way. We had spotted on the map that Lady Di’s memorial fountain was there and it would be nice to go and have a look at it. Well maps can be a little deceiving with everything on the one sheet until you try and walk somewhere and suddenly it is a very long way.

By the time we got there and after stopping for lunch and a coffee we were buggered but thought well that’s O.K we could do what it said on the gate and sit with our feet dangling in the running water and reflect on Diana’s life. Were we in for a shock.

It turned out that a couple of teachers had bought their pupils down to the Memorial and they weren’t interested in quietly reflecting at all. So we had dozens of unruly teenagers (mainly Muslims and African kids) creating mayhem by throwing each other in the water and dunking each other and creating huge showers of water splashing anyone who was stupid enough to try and sit quietly be the water.

We were both disgusted and Lyn expressed her disgust by telling the curator of the Memorial and one the their teachers who seemed to be completely oblivious as to what was going on. No discipline at school or respect for others.

So we headed off to a quieter spot to do our reflecting and Lyn cooled her tired feet in the gently flowing water.

We then decided to go and try and book a tour with the red Bus Company whose address Mick thought was in the Strand. So off we went again walking another “20klms” to the tube station which took us to Trafalger Square. Beautiful place that.

Anyway, no time to dally as it was stinking hot, (I forgot to mention the heat), and we had heard an Aussie walking past talking about Australia House. Mick had been researching what we needed to do to vote in the Australian elections so we thought we would go down there and vote. So we caught up with the Aussies and had a chat. They were going to meet someone there so we tagged along.

When we got to Australia House which was about 2klm walk right at the far end of the Strand (of course it would be wouldn’t it) we found they had no information yet about the election and said we could either request a postal vote which would be posted to us or send a form in saying we couldn’t vote because we weren’t able to get to a diplomatic post.

We really wanted to vote to make sure that the right party got in (no folks - you'll have to guess) but since we weren't going to be anywhere long enough to wait for two lots of mail, we decided that we would fill in the “We can’t vote” form on the Net.

We never did find the Red Bus tour office so since we were completely knackered, decided to catch the train home.

And are the trains hot, hot, hot. They haven’t heard of airconditioning over here.

It might take Mick a bit of coaxing to get Lyn back in to London for a number of reasons. One is that the people don’t seem to have any pride in their country and just throw rubbish everywhere. And I must agree. It may be that many of them don’t think of England as their country anyway. I think the pictures speak for themselves.


  1. Your writing is incredible! You must have writers cramp by now or RSI(from typing)! Are you using the N95 for the photos as well?

  2. The problem with London in the summer is all those tourists that want to go where you want to go. When I was there the queues were incredible and really put me off visiting a lot of places. The British Museum has a waiting time of several hours.