London times

(written by Nancy)

Well, it’s been an exciting couple of days in London!  We are enjoying all the comforts of home at Leigh’s place in London – a comfy bed, great food and great company make for a lovely visit.  And, despite all of the stories of gloomy London weather the sun has been shining brightly and it has been quite hot – yes, hot – since we got here.  A short shower today took away some of the mugginess but the sun soon popped out again.

Yesterday while Leigh and her boyfriend Simon headed to Brighton to visit a friend we hit the shops to pick up some of the things we need for our for our UK ride.  We started first at the famed Standford’s Travel bookshop, which must have every travel book and map ever made.  We picked up a good book and map for the John O’Groats to Land’s End ride and of course had to stop for a coffee and scone to recover after looking at hundreds of maps and books.  Not too far from Standford’s we found the area where all the outdoor gear shops are located.  I think we went in all of them, some of them more than once, but we did end up with the things we needed on our list.  Dave whinged a bit a few times but the female endurance genes pulled through and we found some of the necessary things at the last shop we went into.

Next on the agenda was sorting out the train tickets to get us up to Scotland.  This turned out to be easier than we expected thanks to a helpful National Rail agent.  So, we are now in possession of tickets on the overnight train to Inverness and the train from Inverness to Wick, which is as close as we can get by public transport to John O’Groats (about 16 miles).  So we leave the comforts of London on Tuesday evening to begin another train journey.

We did a bit of wandering around sightseeing as well.  There were huge crowds of people out and about, and every fountain we saw was swamped with people trying to cool off in the heat.  We came upon a food fair just around dinner time so were enticed to buy Moroccan chicken wraps – very tasty!  Full of food and tired after our expedition we headed home to relax.  Ahh, a comfy couch and the TV is an infrequent pleasure for us so we took full advantage.

This morning Dave made his ‘famous’ tomato-mango salsa and we made eggs-on-toast for breakfast for Leigh.  Simon is following a strict food plan to get fit so he limited himself to the allowed carrot juice for breakfast, studiously reading the paper and avoiding viewing the plate of bacon in the middle of the table.  Such willpower – though he did get to have some of the salsa, as he is allowed vegetables.

Leigh and Simon then took us on a bike ride along the Thames River.  It was great fun to see the city this way, riding along the river through many different neighborhoods.  We had to pull over once to let a thunderstorm pass but otherwise it was a warm day for a ride.  And, of course, as is the English way we had to stop for lunch at a pub along the way!  We didn’t quite follow the usual English path of having a beer to accompany lunch – we are alcohol lightweights these days and I don’t know if we could have made it safely after a beer.  We arrived back home after 34k of riding, sweaty and smiling after a nice afternoon.

Off to make dinner now and hang out on the deck – psshaw – who says London is rainy, gloomy and cold?

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