The Mall, June 18th,
just after the celebration
of the Trooping of the Colour
You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
I first came to Oxford 21 years ago and since then it's felt like Britain's centre to me, placed as it is in the heart of England. Drive an hour west and you're in the western Cotswolds and nearly to Wales; drive an hour south and you're at the seaside on the south coast; drive an hour north and you're in Shakespeare country; and an hour to the east lies London.
|A view of the Chilterns as we travelled to London|
on the 18th. Stuart hasn't grown out of always
wanting to sit at the front of the bus--but you can see why.
I love London in short spurts and Oxford is perfectly placed to travel to London for the day. You can easily travel by train in an hour, into Paddington Station, but Stuart and I prefer to go by bus. After several journeys home from London, packed into the train car like a sardine, we decided travelling by coach was the way for us. Oxford has two choices of buses running directly to London, the Oxford Tube and the X90. There's WiFi on-board, the seats recline, and the Oxford Tube is a double-decker, so you can enjoy the view as you make your way to London.
After serving breakfast for seven people and making sure the laundry was moving in the right direction, we changed out of our bacon infused jeans and shirts into our finery, caught the Oxford Tube on the High Street, and were off to London.
We got off at Victoria Station and had enough time to take a leisurely walk past Buckingham Palace, up The Mall, through Trafalgar Square, and up the Strand to the Savoy. It was just long enough to work up an appetite, but short enough to manage in our afternoon-tea-ballet-going-finery (and my not-really-made-for-walking-in-shoes).
I lingered in the Ladies Room far longer than I should have, but finally emerged unpowdered yet refreshed. I found Stuart sitting, waiting patiently for me, so I gathered that the men's room wasn't as interesting as the ladies'. As we were escorted to our table, I tried to channel Greer Garson and float down the long steps that led into the tea room. A pianist was playing old show tunes on the grand piano in the gazebo, and the only other noises were quiet tinkling of teacups and hushed conversations. We took our seats and ordered champagne, since whenever possible Stuart and I start our afternoon tea with champagne. It was whisked to our table immediately, and so with our glasses of bubbly, Afternoon Tea began.
But we made it on time, and took our seats just three rows back from the stage. I was enraptured and even Stuart was enthralled. One hundred beautifully elegant swans were the perfect end to a very elegant day, and a day we won't soon forget. Our Oxford Tube coach rolled down Oxford's High Street about 1am, we got off at Queen Street, walked down past New College, the narrow lane quiet and dim, through the Turf Tavern, eerily empty of students and noise, and then back up Holywell Street and home. We had to be up in 5 hours to make breakfast, but neither of us cared--I was still caught up in a world of tutus and the pas de beurre. And, I have no doubt that Stuart was reliving our three hour tea, bite by bite--and dreaming about our next one.
|Tempting the senses before |
we even sat down.
|The gazebo with a pianist playing showtunes|
on a grand piano--and a little fellow
having tea with his Daddy.
|Royal Albert Hall just before the performance.|
|The London Eye from The Mall|
|View of Big Ben from St. James's Park|
|Stopping by Buckingham Palace to say hello, |
but Q.E.II was not in residence. She was at
Windsor while attending Ascot.