27 December 2008 Yesterday we tubed into London, got off at Piccadilly Circus and stayed there…sort of. Today, we established a wee bit more of a plan and by the time we left the hotel (too late for breakfast again) we had decided to head to Covent Garden and then on to Portebello Road or some other outdoor market area that sprinkle London on the week-ends. Hah! We went to Covent Garden and while searching around for the singular store that was the purpose of our visit, we found that parts of it were outdoor market. Two birds – one stone, as they say. We wandered about a bit trying to get our bearings and narrow down the specific location of the shop we were seeking. Eventually we found it, Marita Beth arranged for a return visit (for a fitting) and off we went…back to the market. We were treated to a large variety of buskers from re-imagined pan pipes, to a tightrope walker, to jugglers, to an astonishing vagabond opera display in the atrium. I’m not unused to buskers, but the sheer quality and skill of these reset the busker bar for me. Eventually, after purchasing a hat and scarf for me (I’d somehow managed to leave Texas without both of these necessary items) and a purse for Marita Beth (don’t ask) it was time for her fitting. I escorted her back to Bravissimo, then went in search of a pub and some footy. I didn’t find the footy, but I found a plethora of pubs. Unfortunately, I only had an hour, so only visited two pubs. First up was the Punch & Judy where I enjoyed a fine winter ale called Rosey Nosey. The pub itself was nestled in the cellar of a Coventry Garden building and the table I occupied while people watching was in the atrium. Quite lovely, really. When done with Rosey Nosey, I mosied on over to a pub called the Marquess of Anglesey where I enjoyed a Young’s Winter Warmer while I waited out the hour I had promised my wife. When time was up, I went to collect my wife and begin the trek back “home” to the Radisson. On our trip back to the tube station, we spotted a pub called the Coal Hole that looked too inviting to pass up. The pub building itself is Victorian and used to be the home of the Wolves Club. Gilbert & Sullivan frequented this place as did several other lesser notables. While I enjoyed the Dirty Dick ale and MB her half Strongbow she located a listing in a Covent Garden flyer I’d picked up for a Tex-Mex restaurant. Hmmm. Intrigued and hungry we basically said, “what the hell” and walked on over to it as it wasn’t all that far and we’ve gotten quite used to walking. The Texas Embassy, for so it was called, was, in a word, fantastic. From the huge Texas flag outside to the “Come and Get It”Come and Take It” (Update: Thanks, Da, for the correction) flag inside. From the University of Texas banner to the Rice University banner. From the “Don’t Mess With Texas” bumper sticker to the “Kinky Friedman for Governor” bumper sticker. From the tortilla chips and hotsauce to the sizzling plates of fajitas. This restaurant could have easily existed, and made a good go of it, next to Abuelo’s or Mexican Inn or El Rancho Verde. If you find yourself in London and are feeling a little “London Homesick Blues” head on over to the Texas Embassy for some great Tex-Mex. Enough of the commercial. From the restaurant we had to head back to the hotel as it was nearing 2300 and we had to pick up the car in the early morning. I took this photo in Piccadilly Tube station just as our cars arrived. Piccadilly Tube After 55 minutes of tube riding, two missed stops and a miscommunication with the bus driver, we arrived back at the hotel where I retired immediately. That was our day. Cheers. ~KR (Written on 28 December 2008 ) Watching: The Big Fat Quiz Oaks Hotel in Alnwick, England. Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS Exposure: 2 sec (2) Aperture: f/8 Focal Length: 5.8 mm ISO Speed: 80 Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV Flash: Flash did not fire