Monday, October 08, 2001

London, Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

London, Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
Mr. Happy’s partner was at breakfast this morning. He grunted a greeting after I said “Good morning!”, then got up and left the room. John played out his robotic coffee or tea skit. Nothing was said about our checking out that morning or anything else that might be misconstrued as friendly, warm or that would invite us to return. We had slept a little later then usual and finished breakfast at 10:00 am and went back to the room to finish packing what was going with us.
At exactly 11:00 am, the checkout time, I went to the breakfast counter and set our keys on the counter. Without looking up, John said “That will be six pounds eleven for phone calls.” I paid him with a ten pound note and he handed me the change without any more words being spoken. He never once said thanks for staying here, come again, go to hell, nothing, nothing, nothing. We grabbed our bags and left.
I of course had to go to the Internet café one more time to see if all of the accommodations were completed without an issue, while Ron verified our train arrangements. When I returned, we were ready to take the last tube for this time around to the rail station to get our outgoing train. We had thought of leaving our bags at the B & B and check out more of London for one last time, but when John was so blank, we decided to leave on an earlier train.
As we leave London, allow me to make some final observations. It was difficult getting used to the driving on the opposite side of the road and the steering wheel where our passenger side is. Fortunately, all crosswalks are marked with ‘Look right’ or ‘Look left’ depending on which side of the street you are on. If you jaywalk, you definitely do so at your own risk. It was quite unnerving the first few times we saw children sitting in our traditional drivers side. What was more so, was seeing dogs hanging their heads out the windows. Lasting impressions!!
From some of the jokes we heard, we did not think the British trains would be that efficient. A few people, Brits, commented that they have the worst on time service in Europe, but I think the Italians hold the record. In the train station, we had to get out BritRail passes validated before boarding the train. We had people everywhere offering to assist us and when we were called to the counter, it was only a matter of minutes for the validations. We took off to the train and found a car we could board. With the BritRail, we had a choice of 1st Class or Standard and we had chosen the Standard to fit with our new lifestyle of living cheaply. The Europass only comes in 1st class, so we will move up when we leave Great Britain.
The seats were very comfortable and Ron was able to snatch a foursome with a table. I was tempted to whip out the laptop, but this was a chance to read instead. I have found this pleasant author that writes mystery stories, nothing heavy, just fun. The author is Nancy Atherton and the books are the Aunt Dimity series. The first one, I read on our trip to Egypt and it was fun, so I bought more for this trip. On our flight from Denver to New Jersey, I had read Aunt Dimity’s Death, which sets the scene for the rest of the books. On the train, I was reading Aunt Dimity Digs In. They take place in the English countryside, the Cotswold area, so it makes it more fun. Our friend Daphnee had given me the book Seven Up by Janet Evanovitch. This too was a mystery and it took place in New Jersey. She is an incredible writer too and I am looking forward to reading more of her works. In between, I had read The Girl With the Pearl Earring. The name of the author escapes me, but it was a great book about the Dutch artist Vermeer. It will be a greater pleasure to see his work now that I have read that book. If anyone needs a relaxation book, all of the above are recommended highly. I call them mind candy.
Well, I would love to tell you how wonderful the scenery was as we whisked by on the train, how the villages were idyllic, but it was not like that at all. Most of the scenery was either another train flashing past us in the opposite direction or industrial areas at the side of the tracks. There were no cute little houses with cute little yards and cute little dogs that were making cute little yapping noises as the train went by. The scenery was not worth staying awake for, but I did get a lot of reading done. After five relaxing hours on the train, it was time to get off at our new home for the next week. Running out of time, so I will let you know where we are headed next in the next chapter.
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