Tuesday, 22 August 2017

I woke up and drank some coffee, a banana, and a yogurt, but was still hungry. That being the case, I got dressed and walked to McDonald’s and ordered an Egg McMuffin and a hash brown. There was a clue that today was going to be an auspicious day.  My number was ‘000’ and the receipt was only a scrap of paper. (In many new McDonald’s you place your order and pay on touch screen kiosk, a receipt is printed with a number, and you look on the reader board to see when your order is ready.)

I returned to my flat by walking through some side streets and then along the river just to see new neighborhoods. When I returned home I did some packing then left to visit the Chesea Physic Garden, a 10 minute walk away.

Along my walk I passed a statue of Sir Thomas Moore. It caught my eye so I took a picture. It was almost hidden but for some reason I took the picture.

The Chesea Physic Garden was established as the Apothecaries’ Garden in 1873. This physic garden is among the oldest botanical gardens in Britain, after the University of Oxford Botanic Garden.

You might not know there was a formal garden since it’s behind a tall brick wall. No big sign, just a small opening to walk through with a small sign almost hidden by a bush. There were several people, including me, who were looking for the entrance at the same time. Once you enter the space opens up and you see a very large and spacious garden.

I walked up and down the paths and saw a variety of plant species that were well labeled and in groups by type or use of plant. There was another section that contained another collection by various regions of the world. Some of the plants gave off a strong almost medicinal smell.

While resting on a bench I saw a group of women sharing lunch together. Was fun to listen to their conversation. They sounded very posh and proper. (I should have joined them to learn who they where.)

It was time to leave the gardens. Still needed to finish packing for my move into the Paddington Hilton for one night. Since there a day between my stay in Chelsea and the two nights in Newbury I needed a place to stay Tuesday night. The train for Newbury was leaving from Paddington Station, so for convenience I decided to stay next door to the station in the Hilton.

I took some pictures on the way back to the Chelsea flat.

Below is a picture of my suitcase, travel bag, and coat. This is how I put everything together when I travel. I know where everything is and know that I’m ready when I see this configuration. (Think I need a new suitcase.)

I hailed a taxi to take me from Chelsea to Paddington. The driver and I were talking about living in London and as we passed the Prince Albert monument along the way I commented that it was my favorite in London. He said his was the Sir Thomas Moore statue in Chelsea. I couldn’t believe it. It was the same statue that I saw earlier. I showed him the picture to confirm. The odds of this happening was very remote since there are statues almost every few feet (or it seems so anyway).

We arrived at the hotel and I went inside to check in. I asked to stay in the tower section of the hotel since it was more modern and guaranteed to be soundproof since we’re next to the station. The porter took my suitcase and we took a very long walk and it took two elevators to get to my room. Wish I had brought along some breadcrumbs to mark where we had walked.

The room was perfect. I almost immediately took a nap.  From “roughing it” in an Airbnb for the past week, it was nice to have a space that was clean, modern, and no chance to a leaking ceiling.

Relaxed the rest of the evening and bought some food from the M&S downstairs.

Tomorrow I’m meeting Paula and we’re headed to Newbury for a couple of days to visit Highclere Castle, as many people would now recognize as Downton Abby.



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