Greetings from the Queen

Trip Start May 27, 2009
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Trip End Jun 17, 2009


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, June 15, 2009

As anyone knows who's ever been to London, a person will never run short of things to do here. Whether your tastes run to history or to fiction, to art or crafts, to slow food or fast food, to war or peace, London has a diversion for you. Residents here have whole lifetimes to experience the bounty. The tourist, on the other hand, is under pressure to see as much as possible in as little time as possible.

As a result, on some days I've planned a three-hour tour for the morning, a garden tour for the afternoon, and one more something-or-other for the evening. The psychic hangover from a one-day Tower of London/St. Paul's Cathedral/Borough Market paella-fest is a thing to be reckoned with.

So some days I just tag along with Claire as she does errands. Today we went to the dry cleaners in Islington. I don't even do this at home, so I may be a little out of touch, but I was shocked at the prices charged. However, when we got back to Hackney and looked at the repair work the cleaner had done to a couple of Damian's cashmere sweaters (hand-me-downs from Robert H.), I changed my tune.

You know those college professor-type sweaters with leather patches on the sleeves? Here in the borough of Islington is someone who actually does that type of repair and does it beautifully. Mr. Altaf has been offering 5-star service since 1977, according to the receipt. I won't even tell you the price, it was so outrageous. However, when Claire mentioned to the young man behind the counter that his father (Mr. Altaf, I presume) had told her he would give her a discount, he reduced the price by 18 pounds!

But some days, even running errands is too much to consider.

That's when I hang out in Claire's kitchen where tonight she's baking a 15-inch vanilla sponge cake to be filled with pistachio nougat frosting and topped with the last of the June roses for Nigella Lawson.

Or I get on Damian's computer and write about What I Did on My Summer Vacation. Now that the end is drawing near (I leave on Wednesday), I realize I will never catch this blog up with everything I've done in London over the past three weeks, but tomorrow I hope to provide a few high spots for all of you who are planning trips to London and environs in the near future.

In the meantime, the Queen and the Obamas send their best.





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Where I stayed
Claire and Damian's flat in Hackney, London
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