We decided that Saturday was Hyde Park Day. The weather was warm, a great day for strolling in the park. And that was exactly what we did but first we went to “Claridge’s of London.” Claridge’s is a hotel for the rich and famous. Our friend Diane whose surname is Claridge had asked us if we could take a picture of the hotel for her. We had thought we would have high tea at Claridge’s. We travelled by tube to the closest station. Our walk took us past the American embassy which was under construction. As is often the case with construction projects there was an extremely high wall all around the building. Tom and I chuckled as we walked by.
On the outside Claridge’s looked somewhat similar to many fancy big city hotels except… Standing on the side walk were three men dressed in tails and cravats waiting to serve us as we entered. Inside the opulence equaled that of the Renaissance. The huge vases of flowers were real. The elaborate plaster work was intricate and beautiful. We wondered through the enormous foyer and into the tea room. Of course there were white table cloths and flowers and …. The woman behind the reception desk smiled and welcomed us. Our jeans didn’t feel quite appropriate for the surroundings. We had checked on line the night before so we would know what to expect. High tea involved sandwiches, tea, and sweets. Which I’m sure would have been lovely and looked pretty on the plate. It was the price that surprised us. High tea at Claridge’s costs 65 pounds (about 110 Canadian dollars). Maybe if the Queen had joined us we could have justified that extravagance. Since she was busy with Donald Trump we decided to just have a plain cup of tea.
I smiled at the hostess and asked. “How much is a cup of tea.” Her expression told me immediately that I was not a part of “Claridge’s world”. She had to look down at the menu. Very formally she told us, “That would be 7 pounds fifty plus a service charge of 8 pounds. I didn’t even check for Tom’s opinion. 15 pounds fifty (nearly 30 Canadian dollars) for the privilege of tea at Claridge’s. “Thank you very much,” I said. We turned and walked away. We did take lots of pictures which was all that Diane had asked.
We were there. Winston Churchill is in the background.
It was a long walk to Hyde Park. Smart people would have taken a bus. We didn’t know which bus and it was such a lovely warm day. All in all we walked halfway round Hyde Park, saw some beautiful flowers, and watched people having picnics etc. I knew very quickly that This was going to be another 17,000 step day. Eventually, we found a place for lunch.
Along with this huge plaque that was 16 feet by 14 feet. There were sculptures of donkeys and horses. They looked exhausted and worn out.
After asking for help we caught a bus back to Covent Garden. We enjoyed walking through the shops. The street entertainers were great. We watched two of their shows. They helped us decide to buy a ticket to the play, “Waitress”. We knew already that the tickets, though expensive were at least within our range for a one time event. We had supper in a little pub called “The Honest Burger”. They even had gluten free buns.
The play was funny, nostalgic and touched our hearts. Good Decision. One of the workers there, one of our angels for the day, took our picture holding two pies. (The star of the play baked the restaurant’s pies.) After the play we spilled back out onto the street with the other theatre goers.
We hadn’t plotted our journey back to Sara’s. So we asked. One very friendly man heard us asking. He opened up his phone. Take number 50 bus, go ten stops and you will be at the tube. Take the central line across town to Polar Station. At Poplar you will change to the above ground and go out to Royal Victoria in the Docklands. At night in a strange city, this man felt like truly one of God’s angels.
We followed his instructions carefully. When we got to the tube station, I took a deep breath, put Tom in front of me so I couldn’t see down, and actually rode the escalator down two very deep levels underground. I was quite proud of myself. That whole late night experience wouldn’t have been possible without my angel Tom. He may not be perfect but he sure is understanding when it comes to me and heights and small places. With his help I stepped way out of my comfort zone many times on this trip. I was rather proud of me and grateful to him.
It was after midnight when we got back to Sara’s. We crept in quietly and collapsed into bed. Tom set the alarm for church.