Hyde Park

Many years ago, a former work colleague organised a day trip to London. The one off trip turned into an annual event taking place in October or November. A core group of people are always present on the trips. The 2013 trip took place last Saturday and, as one of my colleagues said today ‘London 2013 won’t be forgotten in a hurry’.

On arrival we were dropped off at Marble Arch. Mr C and I took a leisurely stroll along the edge of Hyde Park to the Wellington Arch where we were informed that the lift was currently out of order and that we would have to use the stairs.  I found out later that the lift had only just broken!

I had not visited the Wellington Arch before and it is currently housing an exhibition that I particularly wanted to see. The exhibition is called ‘Brutal & Beautiful… Saving the Twentieth Century’. The exhibition looks at the love/hate relationship with our recent architectural past and asks ‘what is worth saving?’ I found the exhibition very interesting; there was a varied selection of unique architecture which was not necessarily pleasing on the eye. But in the context of keeping it as a history of the past, maybe we should… You can view a few examples here.

We hailed a cab to take us for lunch in a location near to the Wallace Collection.  Mr C had a particular restaurant in mind but couldn’t remember which street it was in. The taxi driver was brilliant he took us to the best place for restaurants only 5 minutes walk from the Wallace Collection.  He dropped us right outside the restaurant that Mr C had in mind and gave us directions to the Wallace Collection.  We had an enjoyable, leisurely lunch including chatting to two ladies on an adjoining table.

We then set off for the Wallace Collection.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Wallace Collection’s displays of French 18th century painting, furniture and porcelain with superb Old Master paintings and a world class armoury. There was so much to take in and I know I missed a lot but I will go back again, perhaps next year. After picking up some sandwiches to eat on the coach on our way home and a refreshing cup of tea we visited Foyles book shop. I was allowed far too much time in there. I came away with three books…

We along with everyone else arrived at the coach pick up on time. The coach set off at the allotted time and all was well for about ten minutes… As we were travelling on the A40 just outside the city the coach driver announced that there was a problem. The turbo charger had broken!! The driver nursed the coach off the A40 onto the slip road towards Shepherds Bush where he parked the coach before phoning the coach company for them to make alternative arrangements for our journey home.

Shortly after, a fire engine and an ambulance arrived and parked either side of the coach.  Apparently some other travellers on the A40 had noticed the clouds of smoke (burn’t oil) emitting from the coach and had informed the emergency services that a bus was on fire!!

A fireman boarded the coach and some of the older ladies got excited seeing a man in a uniform! He beat a very hasty retreat…

The police came eventually to evaluate the situation. Before leaving they advised that there were no food or toilet facilities in the area and that people could get off the coach as long as they stayed between the coach and the slipway barrier.

A London coach company phoned to say they couldn’t take us all the way home but they could take us to the nearest service station and they could be there in ten to fifteen minutes. In the meanwhile the A40 had been closed off for maintenance causing to the A40 traffic to be funneled off onto the slip road that was partially blocked by our coach. Fifteen minutes passed by, there was no sign of the local coach, but the tow truck turned up and waited alongside us. A while later the London company driver phoned to say he couldn’t find us, what was our post code location? Our driver said, ‘I am not from this area I don’t know the postcode’.  He then provided detailed directions to where we were. The London company coach driver eventually phoned to say, ‘I can’t find you.  I am here’ (here was just around the corner).

The police were phoned again so they could come and assess the situation.  Towing a coach with people on board is only allowed with a police escort.  At this stage we had been trapped on the coach for 4 hours.  However, due to the camaraderie, it felt a lot less.  Eventually the police got through the road block and escorted the towed coach around the corner to the petrol station where the relief coach had parked. The petrol station refused to allow any of the passengers to use their loos and the relief coach driver got a frosty response from all the passengers.

We were quite relieved to be deposited at the motorway service station at midnight. There was food (of sorts), toilet facilities and the welcome relief of being able to stretch our legs and walk around.

The rescue coach that our company had sent out was also beset by delays… All the motorways to London had roadworks in places causing detours which meant that an hour was added to its journey. We sat, we drank, we ate and used the facilities ;-) We were SO happy when the relief coach arrived.

I eventually arrived back home at 4.10 am and I was in bed 10 minutes later…

I wonder what London 2014 will bring…

16 Comments CherryPie on Nov 19th 2013

16 Responses to “London 2013”

  1. Amfortas says:

    What an eventful day ! It started so well.

    I live in Paradise, but art galleries are not abundant here. We do have a splendid ‘modern’ place though called ‘MONA’ which is the private fiefdom of an eccentric millionaire who makes his fortunes gambling. Ah, for a tax-free income! He allows Tasmanians free entry!

    What helpful cops. I am sure that more ’service’ would have been forthcoming from them had someone the courage to knock a helmet off. Instant transport to a warm police-station and lots of cups of taxpayer-tea would have been an interesting write-up. The real question I have though is: Did any one of them say the immortalised words, ” ‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello. What’s all this ‘ere, then?”.

    The ‘postcode’ was a laugh.

    • CherryPie says:

      We are so lucky over here so much history and art just on the doorstep.

      I was thinking if only the tow truck had parked across the carriage way and stopped the traffic ;-) I bet they would have soon onto the case.

      Our driver was begining to lose his cool at the insistance of a post code. I can hardly blame him.

  2. Ginnie says:

    It sounds like something that would happen during Mercury Retrograde, Cherry. When exactly did this happen (date)? Thank goodness you can write all about it now and wonder what next year will be like. :)

  3. rusty duck says:

    That’s no way to end a lovely day, I’m glad you got home safely. Eventually!

  4. ....peter:) says:

    You began this adventure with a beautiful picture of the sun coming through the Autumn trees in what i think is Hyde Park Cherie:)

    The first half of the day sounded like it was great fun… but i laughed at your misfortunes with the coach company… so much so that i had to use the loo after finishing your wonderful adventure of London 2013 :)

  5. Wellington Arch took part in London Open House a few years ago, I went to see it for free once. ;) But this year, they didn’t take part though.

    Opposite the arch, there’s Aspley House (managed by EH), it’s quite worth a visit too.

    I love the Wallace Collection. :)

    • CherryPie says:

      Wellington Arch was free to me, I am an English Heritage member ;-)

      I have visited Aspley House in the past. It is currently closed for refurbishment, which is probably just as well. It might have distracted me from visiting the Wallace Collection!

  6. ubermouth says:

    You’re such a cheerful sort, Cherie. I would have been so impatient I would have been steaming.

    Brave of you to even contemplate going back next year.

    I use to love buzzing around London proper in my souped up Renault.

    • CherryPie says:

      It was much better to have a giggle with each other in the face of adversity. We were in the hands of fate and we had to live with it. Getting mad would have made the bad situation worse.

      Well I have been going on and off for over 20 years and this has veen the only blip ;-)

  7. Chrissy says:

    Gosh that sounds like a very eventful day…..perhaps it is a good thing that your were in good company! It would take me a week to recover ;)

  8. J_on_tour says:

    That’s a late time to get to bed. The risks of travelling public transport, the more you travel, it is unfortunate that the better the stories are !