Friday, January 14, 2011

Oh it's good to be back home again....NOT

Back in the land of ice and snow..boo hoo. I left London with a very heavy heart and tears in my eyes. However I will be back...not sure when but hopefully in better weather. I always seem to be going there on my way to somewhere else lately.

No bumping...there were 135 empty seats which worked for me. I moved over to an empty middle row and was able to stretch out and close my eyes. The flights were good...I had a longer layover in Minneapolis than I had thought but just hung out. If I wasn't so tired I'd have gone to the Mall of America as it's just a light rail ride away but then again with security and all.....by the time I got through customs it was nearly 1 a.m. I had the taxi driver make a stop at 7/11 so I could get cream for my coffee and milk for my tea...the necessities of life!!! I am living off stuff in my deep freeze today - no intention of venturing out there. Tomorrow it's a hair cut and a small grocery shopping expedition...

If I can figure out how to run my TV I will be happy - they did a major upgrade while I was away...don't think the DVR is a go right now but even trying to figure out the Cable TV...luckily they sent a guide book along with new remote controls so shall work on that later. But that requires way more coffee or sleep....

Next up is working my way through the stack of Christmas mail which will be fun. Unpacking...not so fun....that can wait until later today.

I will be posting pictures and talking more about my trip. Impressions of Nepal and all that..what an amazing adventure it was. A dream come true for me...I can tell you the highlights were the elephant rides and the plane trip to see Everest. And the wonderful people with their beautiful smiles.... I will remember those for the rest of my life...or I should say until the dementia kicks in!!! (worse than it is now I should say!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Last post from the road

I head back to Regina tomorrow...boo hiss...and to horribly cold weather too...

Went to Billy Elliot tonight and loved it; have been wanting to see it for a while and with a London cast...not Toronto or New York. I had a ticket last time I was here but was so sick and couldn't go.

Last night I opted out of Romeo and Juliet...just could not handle sitting through a ballet and my seat was super cheap and a rotter at that. I went to The Kings Speech instead and loved it. Colin Firth deserves an Oscar for his performance...as a stammerer (is thata word?) I was right into it. Nothing worse than trying to say a word and nothing coming out...how well I know. It never totally goes away and you learn how to work around it...most of the time. Anyway definitely a recommended movie.

Today I hopped busses all around London and saw my favourite places. I had lunch at a pub near the Tower of London called "Hung, Drawn & Quartered". I had a steak, mushroom and ale pie with chips and veggies. And a glass of wine..:) So good....my last meal...sigh....

Oh and saw a dog on the bus with her nanny. Yep this woman is a nanny and now the kids are all in school her job is to take care of the dog. She was taking the dog (little black poodle) to a play date with two other dogs in another part of London. The house she was going to was like a musuem apparently so she couldn't let the dog's feet touch the ground in case they got dirty. Unreal. And this dog gets it's grooming done at Harrods no less...that's when she told me she was the dog's nanny and my jaw dropped even further. Now I've seen it all folks. No one loves dogs more than me but geesh....I love the fact you can take dogs on public transit here though.

What a five weeks it has been; amazing! I can't wait to get home and go through my pictures. They are on my netbook but want to see them on a bigger screen and decide which ones to print. Will add them to the blog as well.

Even though my knees did not like Nepal and are still letting me know about it I sure loved it. My dream come true. So glad I did it NOW and did not wait any longer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Part two

Okay nature called and I had to listen but didn't want to leave my post up. I am using the internet cafe as the Wifi at Simon's is a bit too erratic. He was going to have it looked at while I was away but he was sick and I haven't brought it up - for 25 pounds a night for bed and breakfast I am not going to bitch about the free wifi not working.
I have an invitation for tea but can't see me going. Sunday morning on the way to the tube station I decided to follow a little path that had intrigued me and saw a dog and then the lady who owned it and we walked together. Before I knew it she had invited me to stay with her next time I am in London...uh...I don't think so....perfect stranger? Very kind of her but no...She is an American living here...her husband is away right now and she said come for tea. She lives nearby. Anyway she was very friendly and kind but not sure I feel comfortable doing this with someone I've known five minutes. Maybe I'll be sold as a sex slave or something...(hmm..on second thought...). I am probably missing out on a wonderful friendship but no....but we had a great conversation and I found a fun short cut. The lane is called "Wild Hatch" - don't you just love it.

Still loving London so much...two more sleeps and I will start the trek home. I have mixed feelings. On one hand it will be good to sleep in my own DOUBLE bed (it's been all single hard beds for five weeks) and great to see my friends again but I will miss being on the road and the freedom it brings. Nepal was fantastic and I am so glad I did this trip. Like Peru, it is once in a lifetime. I loved it but don't need to go back. I've found that sometimes it's best not to go back. It's never the same. It did show me the weakness of my body though and before I go off on my next worldwide adventure I must lose weight and get in better shape. My knees are still bothering me and stairs are not my friend.

It's raining, it's pouring

Well not pouring yet..that's tomorrow. So guess it's shopping in Oxford St. today. I want to get myself a new "jumper" (sweater) for work. If I wasn't so damn fat I'd get some new trousers as they call them here (pants are knickers as in underwear) but oh well. Then I might just go and treat myself to "The King's Speech". Colin Firth...yum yum yum. As one critic put it he plays uptight English men with a stick up their nether regions so well. :) Hoping to get to Brick Lane for an Indian meal later too....

Not sure with it pouring tomorrow...hmm.....probably a museum or two. I had hoped to go to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens as I realize I haven't been there this trip yet but guess I will live...I've seen them a lot over the years and I am sure they look the same. I saw my beloved St. James Park in the sunshine on Sunday so that's the main thing.

I have a ticket to see 'Romeo and Juliet' tonight - the jury is out on this one..I may leave at the intermission if I am too bored. The seat will be horrendous as I only paid 15 pounds for it.

Oh excuse me...

Monday, January 10, 2011

I had good intentions

Good intentions of doing a 10km walk in Richmond today but got there and thought...nah.....I did walk a mile to Ham House. It was closed but did tour the garden and look in the shop. The walk, along the river path was pleasant. I am excited to do the Thames Path and revisit this area when I visit England in better weather....instead of in the winter on my way to somewhere else.... I then took the bus to Kingston which was much bigger than I expected. I walked along the river and looked in the shops. I guess this will be my only visit outside of London..even though it is actually part of London....in the southern part.

It was a pleasant day. Had late lunch/early supper in a pub...had their five pound meal deal which was awesome....a grilled mushroom and stilton cheese baguette with chips(fries) and a glass of white wine. Yes the wine was included in the five pounds. It was nice to get a bargain and it was a good meal.

A double Corrie night...my last evening in...three more sleeps. Wah!!!!

Catching up

Well the wifi is wonky this morning so who knows when this will get posted.

I headed off yesterday morning to Wood Green tube station to finish off the Hampstead/Highgate walk. It was a great day - cold but clear with blue skys and sunshine. As someone had been beaten within an inch of their life in Alexandria Park a few days ago I decided to go on the weekend when there were more people. It is a lovely park. I had seen a sign for a farmers market so decided to visit - but couldn't see one. At Alexandria palace I asked a tall gentleman with a white beard and white hair (but no wrinkly old man skin) - well he answered but I couldn't tell you what he said. He had a lovely northern accent and his eyes twinkled and oh my....too bad his wife or whoever was with him. He reminded me of Paul..(Paul who?) and thought but he seems like somebody. Well then I realized later...the actor John Alderton. I've googled him but can't find any current pictures but anyway it was a lovely treat. :) Whowever he was! Never did see the market! Walked through the park and had a cumberland sausage sandwich and mushrooms and a cappucino at the Grove cafe in the park. (I had a very light breakfast here as I knew I'd be stopping there) I always stop there as I love it - the owner is Italian, plays Italian opera and if you are lucky (like yesterday) sings along. He is a real character. Then I carried on through Highgate woods (which is rather lonely during the week so another reason to go on a weekend) and got the bus to the tube station then on to Trafalgar Square and St. James Park. I love my St. James Park. My finger was hitting the shutter like a mad woman - a beautiful day for photography. I then took the tube to Bermondsey and had a Sunday roast in a restaurant - had wanted to find a pub but by then was getting pretty hungry. Back here for a restful evening.

Priscilla, the Desert Queen was good. The music was great - no orchestra or live band though. But it was fun and outrageous - I am sure it would offend many people with cross dressers, homeosexuality,a lot of swearing etc. but I thought it was funny. Not something I'd want to see again though as there are too many other plays and musicals here to see.

Today I am hopefully off to Richmond to do a 10km walk.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sickness is all around

As opposed to Love is All Around...anyone remember that song? Anyway....everyone and their dog, or I should say cat is sick here. So far I am keeping myself fairly healthy...am tired but surviving. Another reason for a leisurely morning watching Corrie. Simon, the B and B host was sick over Xmas, his wife had H1n1....she was ill as well and as she is a nurse they tested her at work and sure enough..so even though the symptoms are gone she is off work. Even their three cats have cat flu! My friend Irene was sick over Xmas and New Years....fingers crossed I stay healthy. I am taking my vitamins and using antibacterial lotion and gel like a mad woman. Of course if I got ill and my trip home was delayed...hmmm..nah....want to get back and see my friends and get back to work and make some money.....

Okay here we go again

My post published from here...yay. So now I will tell you about Thursday. I headed for Borough Market thinking it would be quieter than the day I usually go...Saturday (it runs Thurs. to Saturday) Well quiet it was - very few stalls were set up yet. I had told Simon no brekky so I headed for the market cafe - somewhere that normally you can't get close to as it's so packed. I had a bubble with mushroom and bacon breakfast - translation. bubble and squeak (mashed potatoes fried with veggies), bacon, fried mushrooms, fried egg and a sausage. Oh my it was so damn good...heart attack on a plate but the best brekky I've had in a long time. I discovered brown sauce as well - yum! Hard to believe this is from someone who still has the goal of being a vegetarian...but it's true! Well mostly vegetarian....

Then after a coffee in the coffee shop at Southwark (was holding out for a Monmouth coffee but the shop is being refurbished) I took off on the tube to the 02. I got a combo ticket for the British musical experience and Titanic. I did the Titanic exhibit first and it was so interesting...lots of artifacts from the ship. The music experience was okay but not as good as I had hoped. You could try different instruments so I did hold an electric guitar - didn't know what the hell I was doing with it but I held one..a new experience and I am all about that. Now I just need the musician to go with it. :)

I took the bus back to Covent Garden and had a pizza and wine at a restaurant nearby before going to see the Beatrix Potter ballet at the Royal Opera House. I had cheaped out and gotten restricted leg room ticket but as luck would have it the people beside me didn't show up so I was able to move over and enjoy a seat for 12 pounds more. (as the people beside me informed me - not in a snotty way they were happy for me and we had a nice chat about Canada, etc. - one of the perks of solo travel is you get to meet way more people). The Beatrix Pottert ballet was delightful - they were in full costume as in no faces. Jemima Puddle Duck was the best - everyone went crazy when she jumped on the stage. Ballet students were the little mice....it was so much fun. I loved it. The Royal Opera house is beautiful - I hadn't been there in a long time.

Windy London

Good morning from a windy London. I am sitting on my bed watching the omnibus of Corrie and watching the doggies play in the park opposite. I discovered they repeat everything on Saturday morning so here I am. After this is over I will head over to Camden market then tonight it's "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert". Should be great, can't wait.

Being as between my netbook and this wifi connection they seem to have a hate on for blogger I probably won't be able to post this until I get to an internet cafe but hopefully this will be a draft.

Yesterday I went to the Natural History musuem to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. Wow! They were amazing; had to buy a program so I could get copies of the photos. Then off to Battersea Dogs Home to see the doggies.... From there I walked over to the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park - saw the one in Pokhara so figured I had better finally see the one in London. Then over the Chelsea bridge to Sloane Square. I met up with my friend Irene at her office and we went to the pub for a drink then on to Pizza Express. Had a unique pizza...had a salad in the middle! It was really good though and less calories. Means I can eat more chocolate..ha ha. So it was a good day...rainy but good....but hey no snow so works for me.

Today the wind is blowing hard...hopefully calms down before I take off...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another day

Well the last two posts I just posted now - they were not being posted from the wifi at Simon's which is still very erratic. So I am at the internet cafe with a decaf cappucino in front of me. I rarely order anything but needed something warm tonight - raining out there. But hey, better than snow!

Just got back on the bus from Putney. I had supper at a pub there - can't remember the name but had steak and kidney pudding with chips and peas. (and not the mushy kind either...yeck) It was really good - I was in need of a real pub meal.

Today was a museum day - I started off at the Wellcome museum near Euston station. He was a pharmacist but into all things medical and a few things not. What a wild collection of items - everything from Charles Darwin's walking stick to a stone animals in the shape of male organs (yes really and I've got the picture to prove it). There was also an exhibit on High Society - thought it was about how the other half lives but was about drug taking...interesting. Really a unique place - and my kind of price...free.

Then on to the Ragged School museum in Mile End. I had never been in that area of the east end before so that was interesting - walked along the Regent's Canal there for about ten minutes. Definitely something I'd like to do in warmer weather. Anyway the Ragged school was set up for the poor children of the east end..hence called Ragged as that's what their clothes were. Displays on life in the east end which was a tough life for sure.

Then the tube over to the Victoria and Albert musuem where I saw some original sketches of Beatrix Potter; love her work! It was a great exhibit. That place is vast and you could stay in there for days.

Then by bus to Putney...just because.

I connected with my friend Irene today so we will be meeting up Friday evening for a meal at a pub so that's good.

Tomorrow is Borough market first thing - I told Simon not to fix breakfast as I will have it there. I LOVE Borough market - a foodies heaven. Then perhaps on to Battersea Dogs Home to visit all the doggies there. And from there who knows. I have a list of things to do...I may take a London walks tour tomorrow afternoon. Then tomorrow night is ballet at the Royal Opera House - well more a children's one - Beatrix Potter...oh I can't wait. All those mice dancing!!! I do love my mice! By the way you see mice running around the tracks in the underground - poor little things.



Then on to Putney for something different. And here I am.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More jetlag

It's 6 a.m. and I've been awake since 5 a.m. - yesterday it was 4 a.m. It's always worse going east than west - for me anyway. Of course last night I did go to bed early at 9 a.m. so that might have something to do with it!

Yesterday I attempted a walk in Hampstead/Highgate - I say attempted but did not finish however will finish up another day. I was just getting too cold so did about 7.5 km of an 11 km walk. I did it backwards...no not walking backwards (as Simon commented when I told him yesterday) but started at the opposite end as I had done it two years ago. While on the walk I found out there is going to be a 12th night evening with mulled wine and cake at Keats house tonight so going to try and get a ticket today. (it was full...darn)

I finished off the walk yesterday in Highgate with a cream tea. yum. Then off to the British museum to see the Book of the Dead exhibit. It was amazing....I was there an hour and a half and could have stayed longer.

Oh jetlag...you are a pain in the ass

Yes I've been wide awake since 4 a.m. Gotta love it..not! But its a five hour and 45 minute time difference so it's understandable. It's always worst going east than west for me...I will be up at 3 a.m. in Regina guaranteed.

Anyway had my double Corrie episode last night - enjoyed it no end. What can I say it's the little things.

I am trying to work out what walk I will do today -it might even be way out at the 02 for a change. Or it could be Notting Hill.... At 4 pm I am going to see an exhibit of the Book of the Dead at the British Musuem and then hopefully a 6:30 tour of the Brunel tunnels in SE London. Guess they were something in their time...the leader of the walk works there so we can get in. Something different; that's what I like.



I have a list of things I want to do so taking each day as it comes . Snow is forecast for this weekend...boo hiss!!!! As long as it's gone by next Thursday the 13th...not that I don't want to stay but don't want the hassle and stress...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back in London town

Back in London town. My flights with Qatar were both good - I'd fly with them again. However 12 hours of flight time (not including stop over) was exhausting. The airport hotel last night was very good and I got the bus there no problem. I slept like a log last night. Back at Simon's now and the wifi is better than last time although it still goes off at times.

I did my laundry today - two huge loads of it. After sorting it all out here I walked over to Marks and Spencer in the Temple Fortune area. I walked through some woods - the Big Woods it is called. Very pretty. Well guess what I got for my supper...yep..a prawn and mayonaiise sandwich. (and apple juice...and other stuff which you don't have to know about!!) I didn't see any at first and was heartbroken so wandered around the store picking up other things (all the while whimpering and muttering...man I'd kill for a microwave...such good food...) and back to the sandwich resigned to a wensleydale and carrot sandwich then what to my wandering eyes do appear but a prawn and mayonnaise sandwich. Hurray! I was just in the mood for one. Maybe I will try that cheese and carrot sandwich another day.

Double Corrie tonight..woo hoo life is good. Gonna upload pictures as well. I may try to put some on here or Facebook but it depends on the connection.

It may have to wait until I get home...what else am I going to do at 3 a.m. in the morning when I am awake from the jetlag.

It's a delicious feeling to be back in London. I thoroughly enjoyed my Nepalese adventure but it was time to go. The airport at Kathmandu was chaos too...talk about disorganized. Yikes.

I still have a bit of a tummy bug. When I got to the B and B Simon was talking on and on and I had to say Simon sorry I have to use the loo....and man did I. Just lucky nothing happened on the tube. It's not bad, could be worse. At least I wasn't in bed all day like I was when I got back from the Middle East. Lots of flu going around here though so I won't count my chickens...just fingers crossed I don't get it.

Lots of things planned for the next ten days....no time to get sick!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

On top of the world and on the bottom


Yes that's what my certificate says anyway..On Top of the World....it was an awesome flight and Everest was peeking out at us. Hard to believe I've seen it. We got to go up to the flight deck and take pictures too. Was expensive but worth it. Woohoo I've seen Everest..plus of course all the others - all the highest peaks in the world. Magnificent.

Nearly cancelled as I am ill but immodium to the rescue - hate using that as it bungs you up something fierce although no one can accuse it of doing that to me this time. Sheesh. Hope I lose weight out of this. I guess it was the meal last night - something did not agree with me but who knows what. So here I am typing this in bed.

Got NO sleep last night due to idiotic people down the hall from me....they are carrying on now so am going to see if I can move it although I think the hotel is full. IDIOTS. They had their door open and were yelling and laughing and carrying on - no clue as they are Indians and spoke Hindi. I yelled across the hall to close their door and nothing so I went over and closed it myself. They opened it up so I called the front desk and security went to them and all went quiet....the kids are in the room beside me and just imagine the racket three unsupervised boys from about 8 to 12 can make...yep. They were banging on the parents door for ages so guess they were celebrating New Years...ahem. Then playing music. Anyway something has to be done as I cannot handle another night without sleep with a big flight tomorrow. It's like being in a New Delhi slum or something...whoops that was rascist forgive me but I am in a bitchy mood. Hey it can't be all moonlight and roses on the road. And for the record no hunky English men around....trust me on that one. Yikes. Now if the guide was six inches taller and not married...hmm.....but guys an inch shorter than me....nope.

Off to London town tomorrow at 12:35 p.m.. Whee! I've enjoyed my time here and Nepal is much calmer than India and I've lived my dream but I've had my fill of the third world for this time around. Esp. ending it in Kathmandu..words cannot describe how I loathe this city.

Oh and for those who care the internal terminal of the airport had horrific bathrooms - luckily one normal toilet with a door that was filthy but better than going in the communal squat toilets...yep remember my post on two toilets...this had four squat toilets in a row! I took a picture and a lady from Spain came in = she was on our flight and kept giving me strange looks the whole time. Ha ha. So guess that's what I have to look forward to in the international terminal tomorrow - I used the loo when I arrived here and it was "normal" but dirty. Let's just say squat toilets are interesting when you can't bend your knees....oh yeah....

Think I had better sign out for now....going to head downstairs and check in online for my flight and get my boarding passes and get some money changed. So far the cheese sandwich is staying where it should...fingers crossed!!!

Hopefully my bowels behave or it's back to the immodium and I will be so damn bunged up my eyes will bulge. (thought I'd leave you with that image..)