Another British Ramble – Days Thirteen, Fourteen, and Fifteen

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 9

Distance Walked: 14 Miles

Writing Soundtrack: ITV 3

*** All photos are property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

I don’t have much to say about Day Thirteen as I spent a lazy day in the flat until it was time to meet a friend for dinner.

Day Fourteen was spent at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew which is my favourite place to visit while in London. I had a window of good weather (it only briefly drizzled) and was able to spend quite a few hours happily wandering. The bluebells have bloomed and there were blankets of blueish purple throughout the woodland areas…actually, they could be found pretty much everywhere. Even with a full day to explore, it would be quite a challenge to cover everything there is to see, but since I was pressed for time this visit, I focused on some of my favourite sections and Kew Palace, since I’d never ventured inside before. And lunch at The Orangery is always a good idea. I really can’t recommend Kew enough and if I lived in/near London, I’d probably find my way there quite often. An adult admission with donation is £18.50 and the Victoria Gate (the main gate) is just a short walk down Lichfield Road from Kew Gardens Station. The Temperate House has been closed for refurbishment during each previous visit but is scheduled to open May 5th after an extensive restoration (hopefully I can catch it next time.Later that evening, I met a friend for dinner and we saw Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre. It featured Edward Fox, Freddie Fox, Frances Barber, Nathaniel Parker, Sally Bretton, and Susan Hampshire…and was absolutely superb.Day Fifteen was my last full day in London before I fly home tomorrow. I had planned to walk along the Embankment and then wander through a couple of the parks on my way back to the flat, but the wind and the rain thwarted that plan. So instead I caught a Thames Clipper at Embankment Pier, rode it to Greenwich, had lunch, then rode it back to Tower Gateway Pier and caught the Tube back to Paddington from Tower Hill.

I may not make a post about the final trip day as it’ll just be a travel day from London back to San Francisco, but I just want to thank any and everyone for following this little adventure and taking the time to read these little ramblings.

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Another British Ramble – Days Eleven and Twelve

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 8

Distance Travelled: 8 Miles

Writing Soundtrack: ITV 3

*** All photos are property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

I don’t have much to say about Days Eleven and Twelve. The former was spent hanging out with a friend and the latter just involved sleeping in and then venturing out for some walking, some tea, and some groceries (the Victoria Embankment Gardens are always a lovely place to wander, even in the rain).

Another British Ramble – Days Nine and Ten

Distance Walked: 4 Miles

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 7

Writing Soundtrack: Marvellous Musicals Playlist

*** All photos are property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

Day Nine was mostly a pack-travel-unpack day, but I did finish it up with The Moderate Soprano at The Duke of York’s Theatre. Starring Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll, it focuses on John Christie – the founder of the Glyndebourne Opera – and his wife, Audrey Mildmay. The cast also featured Anthony Calf, Paul Jesson, and Jacob Fortune-Lloyd and the production was absolutely fabulous.

I spent most of my time out on Day Ten at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a place I’d never visited before and always wanted to. I realised as soon as I walked in the door that the volume of content would completely overwhelm me, so I decided to focus mostly on one of the museum’s current exhibitions, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style. The exhibition extensively covered the history of transatlantic liners – even their use during the wars – and everything from engineering to decor to onboard food and fashion. It was rather fascinating and well worth the £20 ticket. As with most museums, the V&A is free, but the featured exhibitions require tickets (although they’re free to museum members); the standard £5 donation request applies and for those short on cash, they even have a terminal where you can donate £5 with a contactless payment method (I used ApplePay). I also spent a bit of time in the Britain 1500-1760 section.

The Garden Café features a variety of delicious dining options (I can absolutely recommend the Mediterranean wrap) and the selection of offerings at the museum’s stores is extensive. And the museum is connected to the South Kensington Tube station by a subway tunnel, the convenience of which was much appreciated when I left and the rain had resumed.

Another British Ramble – Day Eight

Distance Walked: 4.5 Miles

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 6 (I’m including the salmon and toast I had for breakfast)

Writing Soundtrack: The Music Man (watched – minimised in the bottom of the screen – while typing)

*** All photos are property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

Another day in Oxford, another breakfast at the Vaults and Garden with a view of the Radcliffe Camera, after which I walked to the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. I’d visited it on my last trip, but a month earlier in the year so I was curious to see the difference in what was blooming. Yes, I was mainly hoping for bluebells and I was not disappointed, even seeing a more purpleish-pinkish variation I never had before. I was also greeted by some golden poppies in the arid greenhouse (the California state flower that my front yard is filled with some 5,800 miles away) which made me smile. The Botanic Garden here is the smallest of the ones I’ve visited, but beautifully situated along the River Cherwell near the Magdalen Bridge and it’s an absolutely lovely place to wander for a couple of hours. Another favourite lovely nearby wander is the Christ Church Meadow Walk along the Cherwell, Thames (Isis), and (obviously) the Christ Church College Meadow. And I’d like to thank the gentleman sharing my bench along the Thames for tossing the last of his sandwich bread to the web-footed locals as he left which caused them to swarm (and stand and give me the stink eye for minutes on end when they realised that I had nothing to share with them). 😳

There’s delicious food to be had at Quod on Oxford’s High Street (and the apple tart is quite a yummy dessert).

Another British Ramble – Day Seven

Distance Walked: 3.75 Miles

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 5

Writing Soundtrack: Marvellous Musicals Playlist (It’s a VERY long playlist)

*** All photos are property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

I had tentatively planned on returning to the University of Oxford’s Botanic Garden today, but since there’s less rain forecasted for tomorrow, I though that’d be the better day for it. So after breakfast at The Vaults in Garden (a favourite Oxford spot) I went to the Ashmolean Museum, which I’ve visited on past trips but haven’t even begun to see all of.

I’d forgotten that I’d booked a spring special package with my hotel rate which included tickets to the Ashmolean’s current exhibition (America’s Cool Modernism: O’Keeffe to Hopper) and Blenheim Palace (which will sadly have to be saved for another trip, I think). It’s a bit funny that whenever I visit, the featured exhibition has to do with American artists (last time, it was Andy Warhol). Like many great museums in the UK, admission to the Ashmolean is free (a £5 is kindly requested but not required). The collection of English and European silver is particularly stunning (no, seriously, with that lighting, it’s stunning) and includes a variety of pieces from pocket watches to toys to wine bottle emblems.

There isn’t much interesting to report on the rest of the afternoon as I just wandered the shops until I headed back to the hotel…where I was serenaded by church bells through my open windows (a sound I love in Oxford) until the rain started to blow in.

Another British Ramble – Day Six

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 4

Distance Travelled: 460 Miles

Writing Soundtrack: Marvellous Musicals Playlist

I don’t have much to write about today since it was spent travelling. I flew from Edinburgh to London Heathrow and despite getting off the ground late because of having to queue for airspace (or something like that), the flight arrived on time. The day as a whole was rather a headache (I won’t go into boring details) and in the future, I think I’ll stick to the train, but I had airline points to use that made flying a more economical option this trip. And the views from the plane were fabulous. I finally made it to Oxford which is one of my absolute favourite places, so I’m happy.

Another British Ramble – Day 5

Distance Walked: 3.5 Miles

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 4

Writing Soundtrack: Marvellous Musicals Playlist

*** All photos are the property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

I spent the first bit of my final full day in Edinburgh (and Scotland) at the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound, something I’ve passed numerous times but never visited. Its collection of art is beautiful and spans several centuries and its outside architecture and location are picturesque as can be, perched between Princes Street Gardens and Waverley Station. And like so many great museums in the UK, admission is free, although a £5 donation is encouraged and a small price to pay. Since I’m odd and love listening to the train announcements at Waverley, I headed there next since I’m flying out of Edinburgh tomorrow and it seemed weird to visit Edinburgh and not hear the announcements.

I finished the day relaxing at a cat café just down the street from my flat that I’ve passed each day I’ve been here. I’m not really a cat person and am missing my dog terribly, but it seemed like a nice way to end the day.

I can’t say that I didn’t do everything I’d planned to Edinburgh, but I know I’ve packed more into my days here during past trips. However, I’m usually here when there are fewer people and after my body clock has had some time to adjust. But hopefully, I can make my way back before too-too long.