The day before the interview we drove up to Exeter to take the train to Paddington. Had a little problem finding a car parking space when we got to Exeter and began to panic as more and more cars were joining us in circling the car park desperately seeking out that elusive spot. Thankfully found a not very obvious overflow lot in the nick of time and managed to snag a space there.
We made it onto the train, found our seats and settled back to enjoy the journey until I realised that in my concern to make sure that we would have absolutely no chance of messing up I totally forgot that as far I am concerned the best and most picturesque length of the railway line that I was really looking forward to sharing with Bill was that bit between Plymouth and Exeter. Arse!
Several hours later a pestered Bill and mischievous Kay arrived in London.
We decided to head straight for the hotel and check in before doing anything else, so strode off down the street having agreed to save cash and avoid the tube and walked slap bang into a Post Office. Oh joy! My car tax was due to expire on the 1st and I was fretting about having left her in a public car park overnight without the correct disc. So Bill’s first experience of London was hanging out in a queue while I grumpily paid for another 6 months road tax when I’m only going to be in the UK until Sunday. *mutter* *mutter*
Despite reading average reviews on British Expats I’d booked the Hotel Concorde opposite Dr Phelan’s as only having to stagger across the road to get to my medical at 8am was a huge plus for me. As we expected the Hotel Concorde is the sister hotel of the Bryanston Court Hotel and reception for both is within the Bryanston, which is conveniently next door. Was a little concerned to get there and find that they had no record of my booking, but I think it transpired that they had automatically used Bill’s name as the main occupant and not mine so that was sorted out pretty quickly.
The room was small and pokey, but perfectly adequate for one night. Actually, it was pretty much the usual standard of hotel that I am used to in the UK. When I visited Bill over the summer and we stayed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo in Tennessee he laughed at me when I was impressed by the hotel and room we were allocated. I think now he realises why I thought it was nice!
By this point we were both famished so we headed back towards the shops in search of sustenance before we tried to visit the Tate Modern. Meandered off in probably completely the wrong direction to the one we thought we were strolling in and ended up at Selfridges where we spied a Yo! Sushi. I could hardly believe my luck when Bill offered to buy us lunch from there. I’d wanted to sample the sushi from the revolving conveyor belt restaurant for some time.
Had a great time perched up on stools watching the food wind its way along the bench top in front of us. Enjoyed a couple of free refills of miso soup while deliberating which fare to grab off the conveyor. The idea is that each of the dishes is colour coded as to price, you just take what you fancy from the belt and the waitress comes and tots the bill up when you’ve finished.
Once our meal was finished we wandered through Selfridges looking at all the pretty things as we hunted for the lavatories. Lots of nice goodies to catch my eye in there.
But, that afternoon we were on a mission and couldn’t hang about. The Tate Modern was calling so we found the nearest Underground and headed on over to Black Friars. We had to cross the Thames using the Millennium Footbridge. Bill wasn’t too keen, especially when I explained that when it opened it wobbled so badly they had to close it again and get the Structural Engineers and Architect back in to sort it out. I thought it was great though, and made a fantastic walkway across to the ex-power station gallery, especially as we were greeted by two huge inflatable Paul McCarthy sculptures on the other side.
Were disappointed when we got there to find that we’d caught the Tate in between exhibitions and so half of it was closed. Still, I think Bill enjoyed wandering through the permanent galleries and appraising all of the Tate’s collection. I like the Tate Modern because of the way the curator has chosen to display the artworks according to theme rather than by personality. Very quickly ran out of time and headed to the bookshop for a mosey before it closed completely.
Returned to the hotel via Oxford Circus and caught TopShop before that shut too. Stocked up on cute and funky knickers to take with me to the States (mmmm pink Union Jack thongs, tee hee), while Bill collapsed in a heap, totally shattered, in the middle of the lingerie section.
On the walk back to the Hotel Concorde we found a place to grab a pizza, wasn’t good but by that time we didn’t really care too much. Tummies full, we then staggered back to our room and tried to recuperate ready for the big day.
I finally got around to filling in my medical form and realised that it asked for my height and weight. Ooops! I was very surprised that they don’t weigh and measure you properly in the medical itself. Bill and I had to guess the answers to those. That done, with my tummy feeling rather anxious I snuggled up with Bill and zonked out ‘til morning