I had quite a confused sleep, having a break between midnight and 4am to write emails and watch “quality television”.
Despite this, I was awake at about 6am, with plenty of time to have a relaxing bath, set my hair, hang out with Mocha, meet some canine locals and have a leisurely breakfast. I couldn’t decide whether to have peanut butter or a poached egg, so I just had both.
The first stop of the day was to pick up my London Pass from an underground information booth in Leicester Square. This was one of the several times where I overshot the mark when walking somewhere after looking at a map. The block sizes here are tiny! And I keep thinking little lanes don’t count as proper streets on the map, but they always do.
After picking up my London Pass from a particularly gruff woman with a Slovak accent, I made my way past the National Gallery and around the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields several times until I found the Hop-On Hop-Off bus stop (matching the particular company listed on my ticket). I was unusually excited to see the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields. It is the home of the musicians who are responsible for my favourite recording of the Peer Gynt Opera! I wonder if Sir Neville Mariner lives in the crypt…
#vosstip – The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour that comes with the London Pass only turned out to be for one day. However, this didn’t worry me too much because I had a 7-day, two-zone pass on my Oyster Card. I think this will be significantly cheaper than actually having each journey charged separately. And I will be able to get everywhere I want to go without having American tourists’ heads in my photos and their accents ringing in my ears. This isn’t the first time I lost my patience with the tourists on the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus (remember Singapore?). Can someone remind me next time that I never enjoy it?
I started to feel really ill on the bus so I only saw (and heard commentary for) a few monuments – The Savoy (the first public building in London to be fitted with electricity), Saint Clement’s (of Oranges and Lemons fame), Covent Garden (which was once a convent garden – typos!), Saint Paul’s (in the style of Florentine cathedrals) and the HSBC building which appears to be gothic revival? (It wasn’t mentioned on the recording.) I desperately alighted somewhere in the financial district and spent more than a penny in an underground water closet, although I was calculating the risk of being sick on the street after seeing someone questioned by police for the same offence in front of the National Portrait Gallery earlier in the day.
I was feeling pretty rotten so I thought some hot food would cheer me up, despite still feeling bloated like a pregnant hippo. I feel it was serendipity that led me to the Hung Drawn and Quartered, a picturesque British pub specialising in pies and ales on this Rounded Pie Day (3.14.16). I ordered a Steak and London Pride pie with chips and gravy, but sensibly and reluctantly avoided an ale. The pie had the perfect balance of crisp, shiny, outer crust, chewy inner crust and tender beef, succulent mushrooms and thick gravy. Note that London Pride was one of the beers on tap.
It seems that Voss is not the only one of my colleagues who might find himself in London at some point. So I’ve added a #jonestip for Adam.
#jonestip – If you go to the Hung Drawn and Quartered website, you can sign up to a mailing list which will give you a free ale when you visit, in addition to the three you’ll try when you inevitably purchase a pie and ale tasting platter (as pictured in this Victorian-esque diagram).
It had turned into a beautiful sunny day with clear skies! I took some rare and enviable blue sky photos around the Tower of London (and some selfies, obviously) and then made my way back to Bermondsey, taking some more unusually summery photos.
When I arrived home, I found that there was someone sleeping in my bed! I used this opportunity to get a sneaky selfie with Mocha, who is a little skittish after being rescued from intentional drowning as a kitten.
Mocha and Mittens kept me company while I did a little watercolouring of my favourite “attraction” of the day.
I had another bath and had a very relaxing, unsociable evening. Huggies tells me that this is what Londoners do on Mondays because they are “tired and poor”. If that’s the criteria, I’m a local already!