Nobody wants to read a post about someone else's troubles, so I'll leave that to a small bit at the end...
Instead let me tell you about some of the lovely people we have met in our five days in London.
The Verger at St Mary le Strand - While I took advantage of a chance to sit a spell and Amy ran over to take a look at Kings College, this lovely man kept me company, sharing a wealth of information on all the churches in London as well as their history and architecture - Charles Dickens' parents were married at his church. At that point our conversation branched out to his travels in Hollywood, football, Whitby and various joint replacements. Before we left, he took us to a particular room, off limits to the 'average' tourist. This was a small 2-story circular room with a plaster domed ceiling and ancient wooden walls and fittings. After a bit of a guessing game, he acknowledged that only recently had they discovered it was originally a 'powder room' in the first sense that the clergy wore wigs then and this is where they powdered up before conducting a service.
The staff at our local Starbucks - In particular Megan, have been brilliant. I wish I could say they were as good as my local in Kenmore (Hi Guys!) but that would be impossible. We find ourselves stopping on our way to and from anywhere. My daughter - the world traveler - says that the staff in all the London Starbucks we've visited (don't judge, it's a good place to rest) are easily the friendliest she's found.
The antique shop owner in Cecil Court - He did his very best to convince me that he REALLY did think Amy & I were sisters. When you've looked at your 67 year old jet-lagged, baggy-eyed face in the mirror that morning, you REALLY want to believe. But he still wasn't able to sell me his over-priced etching of the Tower Bridge.
The girl who curated (and I use that term advisedly) and ran the tea-tasting at Twinings - she educated us, amused us, listened to us, and treated us to whatever variety we were interested in. She was a font of knowledge in all things tea as well as coffee. We left with lots of good tea-related ideas and a special autographed tea bag for my journal as well as inspiration for a "love journal".
The staffs at virtually every business we have had anything to do with - real old-fashioned customer service, the kind where you look your customer in the eye and deal with them on a personal level, volunteer extra service, and escort them out the door with good wishes, is alive and well in London. In particular we are grateful to:
London Camera Exchange on the Strand
Cath Kidston in Covent Garden
Neal's Yard Dairy
Wild Juicery in Neal's Yard
Maplin Electronics on the Strand
The George on the Strand
The original Twinings on the Strand
At least one person in each of these places have gone the extra mile and then some for us.
This is my seventh trip to England, my daughter has been with me on all but one of them. I have always said that whatever happens, if I am in England, I'll be happy. I haven't always been very mobile, but you can enjoy a lot sitting on a bench. Past trips were always blessed with carefree driving, good weather, and a lack of any illnesses. If the last five days are any indication, the law of averages has caught up with us. We can only hope that the arrival of my son-in-law will bring some good luck. In any event, I can now say for certain that "whatever happens, if I am in England, I'll be happy."