26 December 2008
We decadently slept in this morning as we had nothing specific planned for the day. After we did emerge from slumber, we took a stroll down to the Pheasant – a local pub that I’d been in on a previous trip – where we had wonderful jacket potatoes (mine with salmon & cream cheese, Marita Beth’s with avocado and prawns) and I had a Greenman IPA which I heartily endorse as a fine CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) beer. On our way out the door, we checked with the publican who confirmed that to get to Piccadilly/Trafalgar/Leicester we needed to take the local bus to the tube station and hop the tube to Charing Cross station. Off we set to do just that. I should point out here, that the city in which we live has NO public transportation system, and neither MB nor I are walkers. We’re not in bad shape, we just don’t walk nearly enough. The Pheasant is an 8 minute walk from the Radisson and the bus stop is an 8 minute walk from the Pheasant. We will most certainly get our walking in on this trip.
We got to Hatton Cross, purchased our travel cards and loaded up. 40 minutes later, we emerged at Piccadilly Circus – which for lack of a better description seems to be London’s equivalent of Times Square. We walked and walked and walked. Up and down Regent Street, St. James’ Street, Pall Mall and more.
Sparkly Blue Lights
This photo was taken on Regent Street. I love it. It shows the delightful Christmas decorations still in full bloom here, and it plainly shows the childlike wonder on my wife’s face. Ask her sometime about “pretty blue lights” and you’ll discover another reason that this photo appeals to me.
Eventually I got hungry enough that I said, “we’re crossing here, I need to eat.” We crossed the heavy traffic on Regency and entered a walking area called Carnaby. I stood agog. I’d been in one pub so far on the trip (I don’t count the Polo Lounge in the hotel) and here I was facing another pub, The Clachan, that I’d been in on a different trip. What are the odds? My goal suddenly shifted: I needed to find a pub in which I had not already had a pint. We did enter the Clachan where I had two beers that I’d never previously had (Pudding Top & Cheswick) while MB had some mulled wine (did I mention it’s 30 degrees here?). We also ordered some Fish & Chips that had been battered in Fuller’s London Pride ale and were damned fine. After eating, we grudgingly began the trek back to a tube station to head to the hotel, but not before finding a pub I’d never been in. We did, eventually, find a delightful pub just off Charing Cross north of the Strand. The pub, The Welsh Harp (or just The Harp), was small, cozy and filled with locals – just what the Kyle needed. However, we did realize at this time that it was post 2100 and the tube does not run all night, especially on Boxing Day. We threw back our ales (another one I’d never had called Blacksheep) and near trotted to the Charing Cross station. After a brief heartache as we saw the iron gate barriers lowered, we found our way in, presented our Travel Cards and boarded the tube bound for Hatton Cross. Easy Peasy. Now, I’m sitting in the Polo Lounge with my wife watching Cricket on the telly, uploading the many photos I took to Flickr, savoring a Guinness and munching on a Ham and Mustard sandwich. Happy Boxing Day to me!

~KR (Written on 27 December 2008 )

Cricket (Australia vs South Africa)