Monday, 21 August 2017

I woke and found that the dripping in the bedroom had stopped. After I had a cup of coffee I sent a note to the Airbnb host letting him know that I need to leave a day early because of the leaks. He wrote back and said that he had another flat in the same building and would I like to move there. If I leave, I would have to work with the Airbnb corporate office to request a refund. At first I hesitated since I was on the top floor and had already settled here, but remembering the last time I needed an Airbnb issue addressed, I accepted his offer and would be ready to move at 2:00.

I had something more important to do. Work is underway on the Tower, Big Ben and the Clock -and today is the final day that the gongs will sound for 4 years. The final gongs will be at noon, so I must leave a little after 11:00.

When I arrived there were many people already gathered. I found a place across the street from Westminster. There was a news camera from Canadian TV and they were interviewing people. Of course I was standing close to them in case they wanted to talk with me.

At 12:00 the smaller chimes started to play and the crowd was silent. Then the first of 12 gongs sounded. Around the 10th one I started to get choked up. The bell is a symbol for many people that everything is okay. At last the 12th gong sounded then there was applause. I recorded the following video.

Some people waited around for 1:00, when the chimes and Big Ben for the first time would be silent, but I had to get back to finish packing and moving to the new flat. (There have been other times when Big Ben and the chimes were stopped, but not for 4 years.)

The new flat was smaller and on the first floor. But the move was quick and relatively easy – and there was no possibility of listening to any more drips while I’m trying to sleep.

After I unpacked, Prean and Viktor came by and invited me to tea. As it turned out, they wanted to take me out for dinner. Prean found an Italian restaurant nearby and we had a good time talking with the owner as we were seated. We met the rest of the staff and they were very attentive. I had a terrific Lobster Soup (only £5.00) and a salad. For dessert each of us had a blueberry cheesecake.

They will be out of town starting on the 23rd so I won’t see them again until later in September. They offered me their place to stay while they are gone.

Tomorrow I plan to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden, then move to the Paddington Hilton.


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