Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light.

Jennie Jerome Churchill (1854 – 1921)

Golden Glow

10 Comments CherryPie on Aug 24th 2014

…from Mercure Kensington

Sweet Dreams

I happen to like the sounds of the city ;-)

14 Comments CherryPie on Aug 23rd 2014

Hotel Mercure Kensington

The breakfast was totally chaotic. On arrival there was no juice, fruit bowls or cereal bowls. I pointed out there were no bowls and the waitress said she would get some.  I waited five minutes and nothing happened… I gave up and went to fetch my side plate and put the fruit (strawberries, raspberries and blackberries) on there. The plates ran out twice and people were stood queuing for a cooked breakfast. On the plus side the toast arrived for a change, however it was white and not the brown we had asked for.

After the manic experience we fetched our bags, checked out and sat in the relative peace of the hotel reception area to wait for our car to arrive back from where it had been parked by the valet service.

Kenilworth Castle

On our journey back we had a brief stop at the motorway services to stretch our legs and drink a refreshing cup of tea.  This was followed by a longer stop at Kenilworth Castle for lunch. I enjoyed the garden which I had not seen before. Unfortunately the viewing platforms were closed as restoration work was being done on the tower, so Mr C didn’t get to see the view from the dizzy heights. We then resumed our journey home for a well earned rest.

Elizabethan Garden

6 Comments CherryPie on Aug 22nd 2014

Poppies

There was a bit of a kerfuffle as we entered the breakfast room. The man in front of us was insisting his room was booked off on the breakfast sheet. When we were seated a man came and sat next to us and when asked his room number he used the same room number as the man who was insisting that he was ticked off on the list as we were entering. I got the impression that the man (who sat next to us) may have been freeloading…  Some of the breakfast items were in short supply, the bread and the mixed berry bowl were almost empty when we arrived and had not been refilled by the time we left. The toast did not arrive again and had to be re-ordered!

Poppies in the Moat

After breakfast we headed off to see the poppies in the moat at Tower Bridge. This is an art installation in progress entitled ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’. The first poppy was planted on 4th August and the last poppy will be planted on the 11th November.

marking one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies will progressively fill the Tower’s famous moat over the summer. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during the war.

Although not yet complete the artwork is stunning! I hope to return a few days before the last poppy is planted.

The Royal Observatory

After we had enjoyed the moat we headed off for the Royal Observatory. When we arrived we found it was rather chaotic with no clear ticket booking system.  The confusion was added to by a temporary Steam-punk art exhibition in among some of the more permanent displays. It also took a while for us to figure out that the people queuing in the middle of the courtyard weren’t queuing to get in, they were queuing to be photographed by an artwork on the prime meridian!

The ticket included entry to a temporary exhibition ‘Ships, Clocks & Stars – The Quest for Longitude’. This exhibition was excellent and being familiar with the history of the quest for longitude it was fascinating to see the instruments and replicas that were involved.

After such a hectic day it was good to be able to put my feet up and relax in the hotel before catching a taxi to Kitchen W8 for our evening meal. When we openened the door to our room (at 5.30pm) we were rather surprised to find the curtains closed, the bedside lights on and a single chocolate on each pillow…

On arrival at Kitchen W8 we were offered an aperitif, perhaps we would like champagne? A perfect option to celebrate the birthday of a gentleman reaching a certain age. The food was delicious, the waiter attentive and always asking before pouring more wine. A perfect end to our stay in London.

Time for Sleep?

21 Comments CherryPie on Aug 21st 2014

Natural History Museum

The breakfast spread was nice but the service was typical of a London hotel. The toast didn’t arrive and had to be re-ordered.

Our first port of call for the day was the Natural History Museum.  We got there before the museum was open and there was already a queue to get in. When the gates opened we were able to jump the queue because we had paid for tickets to see the ‘Mammoths: Ice Age Giants’ exhibition in order to see baby Lyuba, the most complete woolly mammoth ever found. We got into the exhibition early which meant it was quiet and we were able to enjoy the display without people being in the way.  The exhibition was very well done. I was surprised to learn that there are three types of elephant not just two because there are two types of African elephant; plains and forest.

Blue Whale

It was obligatory to go and see the model of the blue whale which is stunning due to its size. Due to the school holidays there was a long queue to visit the dinosaurs so we gave them a miss.  There is always next time ;-) The other must visit part of the museum for me was the large escalator ascending into the giant earth sculpture.  This took us to the display on earthquakes and volcanoes and the moving plate that simulates the Kobe earthquake in Japan. By this time the museum was heaving and we decided it was time to leave and visit somewhere a little quieter.

Ascent Into Earth

Our destination was Foyles book shop. Earlier this year it moved locations to the shop next door to where it had previously been.  The sections I enjoy seem to have expanded and had larger selection of books to be tempted by. I was very restrained but someone next to me at the till clocked up a bill of £460!!!

After the days walking it was nice to get back to the hotel to put my feet up and have a nice relaxing bath before dinner. We dined in an Italian restaurant just of Sloane Square.  The food was delicious, the service was excellent and it was wonderful to sit outside in the warm English air enjoying the atmosphere. After our meal we caught the tube back to the hotel for a nightcap before retiring for some well earned sleep.

Fine Dining

12 Comments CherryPie on Aug 20th 2014

Hotel Mercure Kensington

Our original plan was to travel to London by train, but due to engineering works taking place every weekend during August this proved to be impractical. Instead we traveled by car, stopping at the motorway services for lunch along the way.  The journey was painless. There was only one short delay due to a traffic accident blocking one of the lanes. When we arrived at the hotel Mr C tried to fathom out how the car pick up and parking service worked, which wasn’t obvious. It turned out that the phone calls he had received and not been able to answer whilst we were driving were from the company trying to find out when we were going to arrive at the hotel, so that they could be there when we arrived!

When the car park parking situation had been sorted and our bags unpacked we headed off the the Science Museum which was further away than advertised to me ;-) I was flagging and in need of a cool refreshing drink when we got there…

Apollo 10 Landing Capsule

After the welcome refreshment we picked out a few sections of the museum that we were interested in and set out to explore them.  There are many interesting things in the museum but I think that it is not laid out in the best possible way to showcase what they have on offer.  There is an excellent space section where part of the display is a full sized replica of the Apollo 11 lunar module. The museum also houses the Apollo 10 landing capsule but this is displayed in a different part of the museum. The dim lighting didn’t help to show the exhibits to their best advantage.

One of the things that I wanted to see was Foucault’s Pendulum. We struggled to find it and when we did we found it tucked away in a corner which is why is why we had missed it. We had walked past it a couple of times without noticing it.

After our brief visit we walked back to the hotel and by the time we got there my feet were complaining and I put my feet up before venturing out for dinner.  Luckily one of the restaurants I had spotted in the Dorling Kinderlsey guide book was just around the corner. The food (mostly fish) was excellent and we had a good banter and laugh with the owner who who served the guests at their tables. After the meal we called in at a pleasant pub for a nightcap before returning to the hotel.

14 Comments CherryPie on Aug 19th 2014

Behind the Gates

I am back from my travels to London to celebrate the birthday of a gentleman who has reached a certain age…

I spent this afternoon sorting out my photographs which are now ready for sharing along with my London adventures. Watch this space…

4 Comments CherryPie on Aug 18th 2014

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