Monday, 3 February 2014

Hilary, Hilary, where have you been? I’ve been to London to look at ... so many theengs! Part 2/2

This one we’re going to rock ‘n roll through .. as the days were damp and wet once again ... we skipped around the puddles and hoped our ventures out coincided with breaks in the clouds ...

First thing we all had to wake up ... youngsters were a little slow!  Medicalgirl nudging Psychogirl and saying we’re late, we gotta go NOW! ... Psychogirl needs tea to start her day ...

My scrambled eggs with
mushrooms ... 

... we caught up – because their brains were a little addled and we didn’t get the text til they were at Covent Garden – good thing they’d grabbed a table ...

... at what is obviously a very popular Belgian restaurant – we concurred after a delicious range of breakfast goodies ... organic eggs, home-made granola, a basket of fresh artisan bread ... surrounded by their speciality spreads: noir organic, blondie, speculoos, raspberry jam ...

Noir Organic

... ham and cheese filled croissants, scrambled eggs and mushrooms, a bowl of fresh fruits, lots of tea and water ... which set us up for the day.

Speculoos and Blondie spreads

Psychogirl decided a sandwich for the train was a good idea ... this is the girls’ take on said sandwich! ... greaseproof paper was under the bread – useful! ... then Medicalgirl provided the plasters to stick the sandwich parcel together ... I don’t think she’s going the surgeon route!!!  Still we had fun watching ... see photo below!

Speculoos spices: pepper, cinnamon,
ginger, cloves, cardoman and nutmeg
Covent Garden wasn’t very vibrant as it was so cold and miserable ... more miserable than cold really, as I cannot compare our weather to that across the pond ... ice-storms etc ... thank goodness we have not had that this year ... but we can easily drown anything ...

... it is SO wet and sodden ... apparently (c/o BBC) it is the wettest weather since 1767, when George III was on the throne and this little Blighty still ran North America!!  Daniel Boone, the English-American pioneer discovered Kentucky ... and a boatload of Europeans landed on Tahiti ...

Dark and gloomy in the covered part of
Covent Garden ... paella and mulled wine
being prepared ... 
We could have had paella? ... but elected to wander around looking at the stalls – then Medicalgirl said she was going off to the Library, and we three wandered around a bit more ...

... returned to the hotel, packed up Pyschogirl for her train back to Birmingham ... not sure how the sandwich survived in a back-pack with a jar of Speculoos packed in on top ...???

Happy sandwich?
Covered in plasters!!
We hailed a taxi – I have to say I was quite surprised how many ‘free’ taxis there were ... but it was cheaper than buying tickets to get up to the Station, so in this instance was worth it ... and kept us away from those heavy showers!

Mostyn Tompion clock
at the British Museum

L and I decided to wander back down to the British Museum to see a small exhibition on Thomas Tompion “The Man Who Tamed Time” ... I wanted to see the clock he’d made in about 1692 ... called the Mostyn Tompion.

... but I will need to return to see the Clocks and Watches in the Djanogly Gallery at the Museum ... more tea at the British Museum, then a brief lie down before ...

The Real Greek at the
Kemble's Head (ex pub)

... we felt we needed some warming food ... and went off to a Greek Restaurant near Covent Garden ... spotted by L as we’d walked backwards and forwards!


Plates of Kleftiko, greek salads, lagers and glasses of retsina helped us natter away enjoying the company of a close friend ... and catching up after the last few years ... 

A Dugong - not one of the winning photos -
but the two Dugong photos entranced us ..
though we loved the African reminders!

... we shared a breakfast ... and set off to the Natural History Museum for our last dose of education!  L had wanted to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year2013 exhibition ... where all 50 photographic exhibits were on show, including quite a few from Africa – where we’d met all those 21+ years ago ... 

Colonnaded entrance to the
Natural History Museum, London

I’m so pleased we went and again had a closer look at what’s on offer elsewhere at the museum ... enough to whet one’s appetite for many more visits.

It was buzzing ... with little and large humans!  We had a farewell cup of tea and a soup ... in preparation for the journeys home ...

The enormous dinosaur greeting all visitors
in the entrance gallery

... thus ending a fun memorable weekend for one and all – and one I'm sure we will repeat sometime.

Photos are scarce ... as god-daughter’s grandfather has since passed on to other horizons (L’s father-in-law) ...

... my building/ dusting/ sorting is almost at an end – not quite gone according to plan, but now I’m getting there ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


  1. You certainly saw a lot of sights. Very sorry about her grandfather.

  2. Wow. You packed a lot of action into one weekend!!! All of the eating establishments sound particularly good... or maybe I am just hungry?!?!

  3. Must perfect teleportation device... ;) It sounds like you've been having an epic time, especially food wise. That's the thing I miss most about our time in NYC, the food. Granted, I'll take the sunshine, open spaces and firewords in Florida any day over crowded subways.

  4. What a packed weekend. As I said before, it's just lovely that you have such a good relationship with your god daughters. And what a lot you saw and did. A real celebration of a weekend.

  5. Fun times. You keep so busy, and you are an excellent publicist for your country.


  6. I'm exhausted just reading about your weekend. I still would love to go to the seafood restaurant you mentioned before. Mind you, I love Greek food too. Unable to do the museum bit any more though. Sorry about the grandfather

  7. You were very busy--All this in one weekend. I'm glad you were able to do all this.

  8. Sounds like a grand weekend! The food bits made me hungry too - 'er maybe I was already hungry. :)

    I'm sorry for the loss of her grandfather.

  9. Oh, the food! I want a Belgian breakfast ASAP.

  10. Your photos are so wonderful, Hilary. Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for capturing these moments and sharing them. The food!

  11. Hi Hilary, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  12. Wow, I'm exhausted just reading about your adventures. How lovely to have this time with your two god-daughters, Hilary. A true blessing.

  13. Hi, Hilary!

    You look like you had such fun! If I ever get over to England, I hope to tag along on one of your outings. They are always filled with great food, grand sights, and lots of fun.

    Stay dry...

    We are expected yet ANOTHER snow storm tomorrow! We already broke the record for January, now February's record is next, I'm sure.

    Is it spring yet?

  14. Well, you really packed it in over the weekend, doing such interesting things and with some good food to sustain you all. That little clock is a charmer. I can see why you would get drawn back to timepieces. Taming time is quite a concept isn't it. I'd love to know the secret to this!

  15. You always have the best adventures and take great photos. The food looked really great and now I'm hungry.

  16. @ Alex - we did do a fair amount .. thankfully not knowing about her grandfather fading ... other family members lived nearer and were there - that's the most important thing.

    @ Robin - we woz busy! Being able to stop and eat, or drink tea .. helps those exhibition days!

    @ Crystal - it would be good to teleport wouldn't it .. and share the odd occasion elsewhere in the world. Cosmopolitan cities always have a great range of foods .. down here we have the pubs!!! But I'd take a bit of Florida at the moment .. the rain is stretching belief ...

    @ Val - we made sure we made the most of our time .. and yes it was lovely seeing both god-daughters ... and for me it was a celebratory time ..

    @ Janie - we did rattle and roll a little .. and thanks re the publicist bit - we've got so much to offer ..

    @ Jo – we were fairly whacked too ... ! The Caviare House was delicious ... and then the Greek meal I’d also go back ... museums take some courage! But a good couple of hours is manageable ... though we achieved about an hour + at each one ...

    @ Cecilia ... well if you go to London – you need to make the most of it!

    @ Holly – anyone writing about food on a blog or a place to visit .. is always going to ‘hit’ readers at the wrong time ... sorry!

    @ JJ – the Belgian restaurant was very good indeed – and definitely another visit will occur!

    @ Joylene – the photos bring the post to life don’t they .. so I like to include them .. glad you can see what I’m portraying ..

    @ Chris – good to meet you .. and yes, I’ll be over. So pleased you found the blog fun – it’s what I try and make ... and add in the educational aspect too ...

    @ Karen – well we have to make the most of our time don’t we?! It was a great weekend ...

    @ Michael – well it’d be a pleasure to have you along brightening my days even more. I try and pack lots in .. it’s the only way to make sure we make the most of being away.

    Stay dry isn’t an option in the UK at the moment ... your ice-storms seem to be our rain ... and you’re breaking records too. Frankly I’d rather have rain than snow and ice ...

    No Spring is not here! Though here it might be – as our plants and trees are budding, though not the waterlogged ones ...

    @ Juliet – thankfully the exhibitions were all within easy reach and as we were in central London – that makes a lot of difference.

    The time pieces were amazing .. the Mostyn Tompion Clock is much larger than the photo portrays it ... and I will do a post on it and other clocks at the Museum, or of note ... Now saving and bottling time would be a wonderful idea ... let me know if you achieve it!

    @ Murees – thanks so much ... and it’s great you appreciate the photos ...

    Cheers to you all – thanks for visiting and enjoying these ‘travels’ ... Hilary

  17. Glad you managed to avoid the rain while visiting all those wonderful places.
    Sorry about your God-daughter's father-in-law. Take care.

  18. I always feel like I am living vicariously through your adventures :)

  19. What an adventure to please all the senses. The food makes my mouth water and tummy growl (before breakfast) and the lovely pictures only reinforce. A brilliant weekend-get-away and I lived it vicariously.
    Thank you

  20. You sure did a lot, but what really struck me was how well you ate in London. We missed that - eating hotel breakfast every morning, and nothing at all memorable the rest of the days we were there.

  21. I am so jealous with the ease you can get around in London. Not so here--we are so dependent on the car. Denver Art Museum--50 minutes away, etc. etc. Cannot really walk anywhere without taking the car. We do have light rail, but it is limited and requires you to drive to get to the station. Now, with the snow, we are housebound. But I can read your blog and vicariously be in London and other places your write about with you!

  22. Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Hilary! I get to live vicariously through you, especially when it comes to the food! Wettest weather since the 18th century, really? When I was there in April 2012, with all the floods, that was the wettest April in 100 years, apparently - and we were in London on the day of the marathon! We couldn't find a taxi so we took a rickshaw!

  23. It's good to know you had such a lovely weekend, Hilary.

    I like the salads!

  24. You sure had a full and exciting weekend. I'm tired and excited just reading along about your adventure. Sounds like great fun.

  25. This was amazing! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  26. How delightful this sounds, all except the WET. Yes, we are now about to get another surge of snow and ice, but it will fortunately miss us; it will hit the midwest and northeast. Sorry for those dear people. We are blessed where we are!

    Sorry about the grandfather, but that of course is part of our earth journey--to move on to "other horizons" as you put it. Glad your dusting/sorting is almost to end, but does anything ever go according to plan!!

    (Jen and I are so glad we can keep up with your doings through Blogger. Yay for Blogger; may it always be here for us...)

  27. I am sorry she lost her grandfather.

    I just want to say you are living the life so many of us in America would love to live - for awhile anyway. I would love to see the sites you see and eat the food that is around there! Sounds so wonderful!


  28. Ham and cheese filled croissants are a big hit here. There is a local donut shop that has a drive thru and I like to pick one up now and then.

    Now I want one now. Just one look and the munchies set in.

  29. It sounds like you had a wonderful time despite the inclement weather. I would've especially enjoyed going museum hopping with you. It's so nice that you have such a special relationship with your god-daughters. I'm sorry about her grandfather.


  30. @ Fanny - thankfully we missed most of the rain - caught out as we left the British Library, but otherwise just damp! F-in-L had had a good long life .. so that's a blessing.

    @ Keith - just delighted you're enjoying my days out and visits!

    @ Manzanita - yes food pictures before breakfast are tricky to read about. It was a great weekend ..

    @ Rhonda - there's so many places to try in London and the Caviare House was the centre of our attention for the weekend .. really couldn't fail there - unless like my god-daughter you don't like fish .. still she enjoyed her food - but happier (fodder-wise) the next day I think!

    @ Tasha - the train is a boon, but I do not like it .. uncomfortable, but at least we're in the centre of London in an hour and half .. so two hours and I'm where I need to be. The tube and buses make a huge difference .. easy to jump on and off and move around ...

    I've only ever been with people in the States so have never really worried about travel - but in NYC I walked, tubed etc ... but that was 'centuries'! ago ... I've never really thought about living there and not being able to travel that much without the car .. being snowbound must be a 'right' pain .. I hope it thaws soon ...

    @ Deniz - I love my food! and do not get out to restaurants that often .. so enjoy my times guzzling!

    2012 was the year of the Queen's Jubilee and it was awful .. but not as bad as it is now. It was wet for six months, and really spoilt the flotilla down the Thames .. such a pity. But it cleared for the Olympics - I'm glad to say ..

    The weather is just unusual .. but the storms and deluges of rain this winter just keep coming. Getting a taxi in the rain is impossible - and you were lucky to get a rickshaw .. not sure how comfortable that would be .. we did see some, but I've never tried one.

    Did you get to see the Marathon at all?

    @ Julia - I have salad for lunch every day, and if I'm out I'll usually have a salad with my meal .. but I eat loads of veg too!

    @ Jen - I feel tired reading it through and remembering what we did .. but it was great fun.

    @ Gina - glad you enjoyed part 2 of our weekend ..

    @ Ann - lovely to see you ... the weather is being a real problem this year .. the rain is making the ground unstable in places. I too feel for those flooded, without power, or snowed in ... I'm just glad you're relatively free of weather related incidents.

    I was sorry to hear of their grandfather/F-in-L's death but he'd had a good life and at least he's not suffering any more ...

    @ Sandie - it's interesting isn't I don't think I lead a particularly interesting life?! .. but certainly I enjoy writing the blog as I can relay stimulating ideas or places I visit and it gets me to remember them .. just very happy you're enjoying reading all about it ...

    @ Stephen - yes I'd rather love a ham and cheese croissant .. I try not to have them too often! Sounds like you enjoy yours ... and hope you had one later on: I have to steel myself away from food places ... not easy.

    @ Julie - well we certainly kept ourselves well cheered ... museum hopping? The trouble is you get in one of our museums and there are galleries and galleries to look at - probably why I go to the smaller exhibitions. But I really should explore the British Museum, Natural History and Science Museums and the British Library .. so so many great places to see ... I'd love to have you join me.

    It's great being in touch with both god-daughters as often as I can ..

    Cheers to you all .. our south-west coast has had some the railway line washed away ... and we've had pictures of the seafront at Penzance, west Cornwall (my mother's town) being stormed upon .. it is dramatic there at the best of times .. but it's not even high tide yet ...

    I feel for anyone suffering in these weather conditions wherever they are in the world.

    All the best to you all - Hilary

  31. My goodness - what a wonderful day! I visited Covent Garden with my sister in 1997 - so nice to be able to put an image in my head of you and the girls visiting there. I bought some beautiful earrings that I still treasure.

  32. In addition to fun, your memories will include a feast for the senses! I enjoyed hearing about the adventures you all had. So glad you shared them, thank you!

    Have a great rest of the week!

  33. Oh what a lovely visit you had, Hilary. Rain or no it was a visit that built memories in your heart. Laughter and fun is always a good thing and when you couple it with fun and interesting places to visit it is even better.

    Thank you for letting 'come along' and see it all. :-)

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  34. Hi Hilary,

    I shall keep this a short comment. My rambling comments are well, just too rambling.

    No matter the weather, London is a city that we can immerse ourselves with the wonder of it all. Such a trip you had, my friend.


  35. @ Lynn - so glad you've been to Covent Garden, so could relate .. we didn't see much that tempted any of us - but the food was good!

    @ Karen - glad you enjoyed our visits around parts of London .. and our eating habits!

    @ Sia - yes it was lovely sharing time with the god-children and with my friend - catching up with her after seven years of not seeing each other that often.

    Glad you enjoyed wandering with us ..

    @ Gary - yes no matter the weather London is good to visit at any time ... and I'm lucky it's fairly accessible for me. A fun weekend much loved by one and all ..

    Cheers to you all .. it's still raining, with storms lashing the coasts causing some major damage .. Hilary

  36. It does look like you had a delightful trip despite the weather, and hurrah for it!

    That clock is stunning.

  37. I think I have to go back to Covent Garden to check on this Belgian food restaurant. Sounds as only the name is Belgian, lol ! but the most important is that the food is good. We have the same lousy weather and the warmest winter since I don't know when and water in abundance !

  38. Wow my friend. You are a traveling gal these days. I am so happy for you. I love reading about all of this too. So very sorry about her grandfather though. :( But it sounds like you had fun. Love you Hil!!!

  39. Thanks for sharing this trip with us, it is rare that I have a trip to London. I hate big towns but visiting it with you was a pleasure.
    I love the photo of the Dugong, they are so prehistoric looking, but cuddly in an odd sort of way :-))
    Have a great weekend. Diane

  40. @ Rosie .. it was a fun time and probably a very good fillip for a wet January - just what we all needed.

    @ Gattina - well worth a visit and looking round Covent Garden is always fun. I expect your Belgian weather is about the same as ours .. very wet .. and warm as you say.

    @ Robyn - well I needed a god-daughter weekend .. and it was lovely to get them together, and share the time with my great friend from SA days ...

    @ Diane - your trips are always so excellent to read ... and if I wasn't staying there for that weekend .. it is exhausting ...

    The photographic exhibition was incredible .. and being with L we were able to reminisce about our travels and the stories behind the photographs. The Dugong photos in the exhibition were just brilliant - but they don't even show in the brochure .. otherwise I'd have taken a photo that way ...

    Thanks for visiting .. cheers Hilary

  41. Wow! A gourmet, architectural, historical and educational tour. What fun you had, Hilary. I admire your stamina and your exciting adventures so much.

  42. What a great weekend, you really managed to do a lot. I would get sooo tired! I love the way you get excited about things, it is very engaging. If that's the right word.

  43. @ Lee - we certainly had all of those things .. it was so stimulating being with the youngies, yet educating ourselves too ..

    Staying in London helps .. I get whacked going up to London doing things and then getting on the train to get home ... the hotel stay was a real treat.

    @ Inger - we staged ourselves quite carefully! It's so interesting and I learn so much .. I can't help but get excited ... and 'engaging' is the right word: many thanks for that.

    Cheers to you both .. Hilary

  44. Visiting from the pre-#atozchallenge hoopla. :O) It's cool that you have signed up to be one of the co-hosts helpers. Me too! :O) I commiserate with you on the weather. We have been without power most of the week. Ugh.

  45. @ LuAnn - good to meet you and yes the A-Z should be fun .. I hope your power is back up and running ..

    Cheers - Hilary

  46. Gosh Hilary - what a culinary trip to London, with a few museum sidebars! It makes me positively hungry.
    I've only stayed in London for a few months at a time, but always remember fondly the huge variety of restaurants and cuisine on offer!

  47. We did, Hilary! My husband's second cousin was running in the marathon. Somehow in all that confusion we found her and the family at the finish line, and we all went for a celebratory pub dinner :-)

  48. Wow, you are the adventurous one, aren't you? Even drinking retsina! I've never tried it before, but have heard it's an acquired taste.

    Your weekend sounds fantastic, all except for all that rain. You've had more than your share of it this year. Wind, too. But you obviously didn't let it dampen your spirits.

  49. @ Coral - we just had three fun-filled days and those museums were just so lovely - I learn so much each and every time.

    Lots and lots of different restaurants around .. food to choose ..

    @ Deniz - I'm so pleased Deniz .. and you all managed to meet up .. crumbs that's some luck- mind you I suppose with mobile phones handy .. that helps .. and then the celebratory pub dinner: sounds very good!

    @ Susan - I've always loved retsina, hardly ever have it - so this was a treat!

    We hardly noticed the rain .. luckily we selected our trips out when it had eased off .. a mist is manageable!

    We are deluged with the stuff - but I really feel for those who are suffering .. the wind has been incredible .. especially last week.

    Our spirits don't get dampened .. so we had a ball!

    Cheers to you .. lovely seeing you here .. Hilary