Heathrow airport must be the most antiquated international airport I have ever been to. Shabby, lack of character, gloomy, very complicated to get around, lifts, escalators with heavy suitcases, lack of clear signs, a car park that is old and where gusty freezing winds hit you in the face with gale force.
In other words the arrival was rather cold. And the next few days even colder with a biting freezing wind.
But after a long drive through London, with a weird taxi driver who somehow was devoid of common knowledge, we finally have been received by our son and his wife. Champagne flowed and we stayed up quite late chatting and catching up.
Next day was a trip to Oxford trip with J. We hoped we could jumpmimto the thick of this megapolis full of energy. Full of people and tourists doing the shops. All seemed fine to start with, but all of a sudden a tremendous fatigue overcomes us and we were just dragging our feet everywhere. A short lunch at Marks and Spencer which was very tasty. The English have come a long way since the days where their food were ranked the worse in Europe. Today they have beaten all the dire comments about English cooking. The best of everything could be purchased at a very reasonable price and even cheaper than in Australia for similar quality. Superb sour dough bread and pastries, fine meats and vegetables, superb cheeses and fruits. And most of it was organic and sourced from small farms. We were truly impressed. A real renaissance of quality.
The afternoon went by quickly. Coffees, cakes, teas at Carlucci’s was a little overpriced but not bad at all.
A short supper in a Japanese restaurant was not too hot. Ordinary food, not too exiting, but one could say correct for the money. Noodles, homemade in a miso soup plus a few Gyoza. Nothing to rave about. Though it was Japanese restaurant there was not a single Japanese cook nor a single Japanese person in there.
Then, J and G, treated us to a live concert of contemporary music at Otto’s Cafe. French avant garde musician Pierre Bastien, he was a real magician. A set up of mecano driven by rubber bands, strings, papers, screws and bolts. Each function was producing a sound that blended together forming a real concert of original music. The backdrop was a screen where some old faint music representing choirs, blues and even the Russian Army choir all mixed with the tones of the ever grinding mecano strings. A feast of ingenuity. I am sure you can find him on You Tube?
By then my eyes closed readily and I was just falling off my chair. Exhausted! Yes, not slept for 24 h. Just off the plane from Bangkok and within a few hours we were catapulted into Oxford St, Soho, and Selfridges. A marathon! Then around midnight we took the train back home where we collapsed in a heap in the arms of Morpheus contented to be at last horizontal.
Public transport is so tiring when you have been living in a small village for a few years. Walking, running, catching overground trains, underground trains, suburban trains plus the interminable long connections between stations. What a contrast! something I have forgotten, and happy to have done so …Long stretches of escalators and hundreds of metres of walking to get from place to the other…a seat on a train if you were lucky! Gosh, we are getting old. But what a pleasant surprise to find Londoners so civil and gracious and so courteous!
Everyone is connected to an ear plug with long wires hanging into the pockets or a bag talking on their mobile, reading their tablets, their Ipad or their Kindle. They walk talking, waiting for the next call or fiddling around with their gadget. Glued to the screen, hypnotised,checking their phone every minute or less. Have I missed a call? Have I not heard it ringing. Would I play another game between two stations? The world of mobile phone is a world of pseudo connection. We have become obsessed with them. We are lost without them. The new drug. Worse than cigarette or cocaine. We are scared of loosing something hey! Or missing a message on Facebook!
I have forgotten what it takes to live in a big city.
What a bunch of funny humans we are! And sometimes not funny at all!
Till next time!