We are so excited to be here. While all of our previous destinations have been fantastic, fulfilling, exciting, educational and fun filled, London is even more. Jim really feels as if he has returned to his roots as everything just synchs with his psyche. The people, the language and accent, the courtesy, the civility, the culture, the traditions, the architecture, the gardens & English countryside, the traditional British clothes, they all just connect with him on such a deep level that he feels as if he has returned to his home of long ago. It will be interesting to see what his DNA test from Ancestry.com turns up. It is presently pending. Sandy’s roots have been confirmed to be just north of here in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Our first week has been somewhat slow by our standards. We have taken three runs to the Thames exploring our area of Kensington & Hammersmith a little bit.
We have taken two “pay what-you-feel” walking tours, the first one was Landmarks Tour South lasting 3 hours and covering London Bridge, City Hall, Borough Market, The Shard, Sir Francis Drake’s Ship – The Hinde, Shakespeare’s Old Globe Theatre, Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge.
The following day we did Landmarks Tour East again lasting three hours starting in Leicester square and ending in Trafalgar Square covering a host of sites in between. Both days were cold & gray and we were chilled to the bone by the end in spite of wearing all of the clothes that we brought along. At least it wasn’t snowing or raining.
Our apartment is 3.5 miles west of Buckingham Palace and central London. We have not yet walked the distance primarily due to weather. We did make it as far as the middle of Hyde Park one day but the constant drizzle finally pushed us into the tube.
Yesterday, May 1, we finally had clear blue sky with bright sunshine and warmer weather in the morning which we took advantage of by doing a two mile run to and along the Thames. We crossed over and back on the Hammersmith bridge and then walked along the river enjoying the cuteness of England and the beauty of spring.
We perused menus of pubs and saw a lot of sculling clubs, more rowing lessons may be in our future.
We had breakfast/lunch at noon in The Dove, an old Pub sitting on the rivers edge. It is the alleged place where the Scottish poet James Thompson wrote the words to Rule Britannia as he was described as “a keen and practiced drinker” who used the Doves Inn as his customary watering hole. It also has the smallest bar room in Britain as verified by Guiness World Book of Records. We had our first fish and chips here which was deliciously greasy.
On our walk home the clouds came in and the day turned gray and cold. Today again started out gray, cold and misty but by 3pm the sun came out and we decided to attend evensong at St. Pauls Cathedral as it was in honor of the Leander Club’s 200th anniversary.
Our ties to the Leander Club are through hosting some of their members who attended the Head of the Charles Regatta in 2016. Most notably, Victoria Thornley, a silver medalist in a double scull at the Rio Olympic Games.
The Leander club is the most prestigious and successful rowing club in the world, with 124 Olympic and 3 Paralympic medals won by its members between the London Olympics in 1908 and the Rio Olympics in 2016. After the church service we had dinner at an Indian Restaurant and tubed home to pack for six days in Prague where we are meeting up with our neighbor Peggy Scott, our used to be neighbors, now from Berlin, Dick & Andrew and our good friends from the South End, John Shade and Brian Gerhardson. Brian is running in the Prague Marathon on Sunday May 6. Next post will be after Prague.