Sunday, 17 November 2019

Lacoste's 'Crocodile'

Lacoste Crocodile London
A crocodile in London.
Saturday November 16, 2019.

It was a typical walk around London with my friend, Gary, that resulted on me stumbling across this Crocodile, in Marylebone.

As with most of my walks there is little in the way of a route. Rather a meandering left here, right there, until it is time to head home.

A such I never know what I will see or discover. Such as this life-size crocodile, clambering up a waterfall from the basement of the Lacoste boutique on Duke Street.

Lacoste Crocodile London
Definitely no swimming!
To find out why Jean RenĂ© Lacoste used a 'crocodile' as his logo, we have to go back to 1923.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Wellington Hotel

Historic Wellington Hotel, Lambeth
The perfect place for an overnight stay.
Thursday October 31-November 1, 2019.

Since it was half-term and we had a few things planned (London Ghost Bus Tour, British Museum), we thought it wold be simpler to stay in London, overnight, rather than travelling  back and forth to Watford.

Usually we stay at Premier Inn, but, on this occasion, we decided on somewhere different. We had walked by the Wellington a few weeks before and thought that it might be an interesting place to stay. Situated just across the River Thames, from where we were to pick up our Ghost Bus, on Northumberland Avenue, it was also close to all the transport links we might need. The Wellington was perfect.

Our check-in was at 15:00, which was the exact time we arrived. The lady reception was friendly and efficient and within minutes we were booked in. With swipe key in hand we made our way to the top floor, where our family room was situated.

The room was quite spacious and had 'London Eye' wallpaper across one wall. All of the rooms have this sort of design, apparently. With an ensuite bathroom, desk, television, fridge, kettle, heating, free wi-fi and more, our room was perfect. There are also other room sizes available, depending on your needs.

Our Family Room. 
Once we had settled and watched a bit of TV, and had a drink, we made our way out for some dinner. Just around the corner, on York Road, is the 'Enough to feed an Elephant' restaurant, where we had eaten before, while waiting for our trip on the London Duck Tour. Fully fed we headed off to catch our Ghost Bus.

Following an excellent Halloween evening out, we headed back to the Wellington. With two tired girls soon tucked up in bed it was time to relax, take stock of the day and plan for the next day.

The following morning we were all up and ready for breakfast, and so hurriedly descended the stairs to the restaurant area of the bar. With the girls tucking into croissants and cereal, Emma and I decided on the Full English, washed down with fresh juice.

The food was perfectly cooked and served without delay. The staff, again, were friendly and helpful, making for a great experience.

The Losers.

After breakfast we headed back to our room ro pack and get ready for the day ahead. Checkout was a breeze and, after a nice and interesting chat with the landlord, who was possibly the friendliest landlord I have ever met, we headed off on the next part of our two-day adventure.

With so many great thing going for it, I don't think it will too long at all before we stay at the Wellington Hotel, again.

The Victors.
If you are walking past Waterloo Station and fancy a really nice beer, great food and an amazing pub, you should pop into the Wellington and, at the very least, check out the murals.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

British Museum

Interior of the British Museum
The Great Court, Entrance Hall and Glass Roof.
Thursday October 31, 2019.

With school half-term upon us, we decided to take the girls on a trip to London, for a few days. 

Our first stop, after lunch, was the British Museum. It was a museum that I had never visited, but had always been on my list of places to visit. As Erin (7) was learning about the Egyptians, at school, it seemed like the perfect time to visit. 

We entered from the Montague Place entrance, and headed directly into the Wellcome Trust Gallery, which had a display of 'Living and Dying'. From here went to the North America and then the Mexico collection. 

From here we entered the Great Court, now enclosed in a wonderful glass roof, where stone artefacts from Egypt and China could be seen. A cafe and gift shop, surrounding the Reading Room, were busy with customers, so we continued into the Egyptian Room. Stone tablets, bearing hieroglyphs, adorned the walls, while stone statues stood in silent majesty, gazing back at the throng of visitors. Sculptures, temples, pillars as a Sarcophagus were also easily accessible.

We then headed to the Middle East, beginning with Assyrian sculptures and Balawat Gates, before travelling through Ancient Greece. From the Minoans and Mycenaeans to the Lycia. From Alexander the Great to the Romans. Vases, sculptures, Mausoleums, monuments and the Parthenon were all on show, in all of their awe-inspiring beauty. 

Back into the Great Court, we caught a lift to the third floor, where we crossed the bridge, from the Great Court Restaurant, and entered the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Galleries, which showcased more of the Middle East. From South Arabia to Anatolia and Uratu and on to Mesopotamia and Levant, there was a lot to take in.

Then we were on to the highlight, for us, of the visit. Ancient Egypt.

Sarcophagi, mummies, burial offerings and much more were all on show. This gallery reached, if not surpassed, my expectations. Erin was busy taking photos and was completely immersed in the experience, while Keilyn was happy to wander around and look at everything, with an innocents mind.

We then headed up to the Mitsubishi Corporation Galleries, where an amazing amount of Japanese culture was on display. The collection dated from around 13,500 Bc right up to the present day. From pots to figures of Buddhist deities. From Samurai armour and weapons to wooden models of animals. Chests and clothing led on to a collection from the indigenous people of Japan, the Ainu. Photography and glassware from the 20th century were also on display.

We then headed back downstairs and into the Sainsbury Galleries and its Africa exhibit. After a good look around at the various art, relics and weaponry, we were beginning to flag. But, with so much more still to see, we decided that we would return again, and so we made our way back to the Great Court and out of the museum. So we headed down Drury Lane, in search of coffee and ice cream, before continuing to our hotel and the adventure that we had planned for Halloween night.

Friday, 1 November 2019

London Ghost Bus Tour

Necrobus London Ghost Bus Tour
The seats, curtains and lamps on the upstairs of the Necrobus.
Thursday October 31, 2019.

My wife, myself and our two daughters, who are 6 & 7, managed to grab some tickets for the 19:30 tour, on Halloween 2019, and were not disappointed. 

Our pick-up was on time and all of the staff on the street and on the Necrobus were warm, friendly and helpful. 

Our conductor, Marcus, was very knowledgeable and obviously enjoyed his role. His stories were accurate and, equally, ghastly and entertaining. I think he managed to point out every murder site, haunted place and execution spot on the route, along with names and dates. 

Mr. Hinge, the Health and Safety officer, took his job seriously, too, ensuring that there was full disclosure about 'events' that had happened on the Necrobus, in the past. Although, it did take him a while to get all of the facts out of our conductor.

We travelled around Whitehall, Westminster, the City of London, through Holborn, crossed the River Thames, visited Southwark and more, before heading back to our drop-off point. 

So much more went on, but I would hate to spoil it for anyone that hasn't taken the trip. Suffice to say that we will be taking this tour again.

A bit of trivia, about our Necrobus:

  • It had run on a designated route, in London, until 2005
  • It's designation was RML2528, with the registration plate of JJD528D
  • It was purchased by The Ghost Bus Tours in 2013
  • It is painted in a midnight black livery
Ghost Bus Tours London

As a side note, they also operate Ghost Bus Tours in York and Edinburgh.

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