Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Chelsea Flower Show

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

We had a busy day yesterday and I couldn’t post. Firstly John was too mean to pay for another days internet access and then he said he wasn’t prepared to sort through all his 350(!!!!!) photos from the day to find the ones I wanted. Who takes that many photos in one day?
Anyway back to yesterday, we had gone to bed late on Monday but we were up in good time on Tuesday (even Maria), we wanted to get to the show in good time, before the crowds if possible. Apparently the show is totally sold out and tickets for yesterday were changing hands at £150!
We were going through the gates at 8.20 and decided to start with the Eastern Avenue and Maria was immediately oh-ing and ah-ing over jewellery, pictures, bags, sculptures etc. etc. and that’s before we saw any plants. John showed a lot more backbone than usual and we managed to make it to 10 o’clock without buying anything. By then we had seen loads, including an eco-garden with places for bugs etc. to set up home.
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And of course lots of beautiful plants.
P5192494 P5192515 P5192503 We were all ready for a sit down and a bite to eat. While we had breakfast I had a look at the show catalogue so we could continue with a bit more purpose.
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We decided to go and look at the flower arrangements, Maria had heard about a floristry competition to do with hats. On our way we passed right next to one of Maria’s heroes, apparently he’s pretty sexy for his age. I can’t see it myself.
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The flower arrangements were lovely but not the ones we were looking for. Those were apparently in the Grand Pavilion. So off we went. WOW. The wallet had to come out and we have plants arriving over the next few months, and we came away with seeds. John said now he worked from home, he fancied growing some things from seed. Maria embraced this idea with enthusiasm and he now has plenty to do. John took loads of photos and I can’t possibly put even his much abridged set on here, so this is just a ‘small’ selection. You can view his abridged set here.
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I also made a new friend. The show is held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital where the Chelsea pensioners live. This is me with Sergeant Taylor. Some great bonsai trees in the background.
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By now we were shattered again, so we went outside for a listen to the band and a sit down. Luckily the sun was shining and the ice cream was lovely. While it was lovely outside we thought we’d have a look at the show gardens. Maria and John loved the courtyard gardens.
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My personal favourite was the James May Plasticine garden.P5192662
Apparently they couldn’t award a normal medal because he had no living plants, but they specially made him a plasticine gold medal, the first (and last) one ever awarded.
We were getting pretty tired by now and decided we would find the hats and then call it a day. They were well worth searching out.
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We were so glad we only had a short taxi ride back to the hotel, rather than the long drive back to Nottingham. We were all tired out and I think we all had a quick nap, well I know I did.
Then we went for our evening meal, down to Trader Vic’s again, for a proper meal this time. It was one of the best meals out we’ve had recently. I can’t decide which was best, the piri piri prawns or the Indonesian lamb with satay. Although the banana fritters with rum sauce was pretty good. And the cocktails were great again. Good job we didn’t have to go far to our room.
This morning it was checkout and back to everyday life. The Patchings Festival is in a couple of weeks, so lots of work to do.

London and Jersey

Monday, May 18th, 2009

They tried to sneak off without me but I sat in Maria’s handbag so they couldn’t leave without me noticing. The drive down in John’s new car was nice and smooth and at least we’re staying at a decent hotel. The Park Lane Hilton, I gather John got a great deal on something called Lastminute.com.
The room is nice, pretty big for London. We got here mid afternoon and we had tickets for the theatre this evening, so we thought we’d grab a bite to eat before hand.
There is a great selection of restaurants and bars in the hotel. We decided to go for something different and went down to Trader Vic’s in the basement. A sort of Polynesian bar/restaurant.
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Their cocktails are fantastic and certainly pack a punch. (Maria said she wouldn’t let me have any more if I didn’t stop making bad puns.
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We also had a quick mixed platter with prawns, ribs, pork and crab, and a couple of nice dips. Just enough to keep us going.
We grabbed a cab to the theatre. I would have though Maria would have learned her lesson from the time John took us to totally the wrong place in Budapest,but she let him tell the cab driver which theatre to take us to. By the time Maria pointed out we were outside Mama Mia but had tickets for Jersey Boys, the cab had gone. So we had to traipse across half of London, well half of Soho anyway. Mind you it did a lot for my education, the shop called Trashy Underwear was probably the least eye popping.
Still every cloud has a silver lining, we passed a shop with some lovely chairs, sofas and chaise lounges in the window. And they were in MY SIZE. John bought an easy chair.
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Maria is now claiming it’s for a girl bear or a doll! As if! This discussion is not yet over!
Any way the show was FANTASTIC, I didn’t know Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were responsible for so many hits. Maria had to have the CD, mind you I won’t mind listening to it on the way home.
We got back to the hotel pretty pretty late, so since we want to be up early for Chelsea we’ve ordered room service and I’m just writting this while we wait.
Looking forward to tomorrow, we’ve been watching it on telly and it looks great.

Afternoon Tea at the Dorchester

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

John and Maria snuck off to London without me (some silly excuse about a Pearl Wedding Anniversary being an occasion to celebrate together, and not with a bear), but when I realised Claire and Robert were joing them for afternoon tea and a show in the West End I insisted on accompanying them. This involved a trip down to John’s parents the day before, and then catching the train into London the next morning. It’s the first time I’ve been on the London underground and Claire and Robert headed for the British Museum to spend the morning. They very much enjoyed viewing the Egyptian exhibition, but I was unimpressed – plenty of cats and not a bear in sight! Claire tried to explain there were no bears in Ancient Egypt but it sounds like a pretty poor place to me. We then travelled to the Dorchester to meet with Maria, John and John’s parents for afternoon tea. Now this was more like it. A glass of champagne, delicious sandwiches and cakes, and the respect a bear of my wide experience deserves.

Wilbeary taking afternoon tea at the Dorchester

I was very sorry to leave, but we had tickets to see ‘The Sound of Music’ at the Palladium. Maria and John were full of reminisences about this theatre, and the time they saw Yul Brynner in ‘The King and I’. The show was fantastic. We didn’t see Connie Fisher in the part of Maria, but the understudy was excellent and the set was very clever. Claire and Robert then headed back to Harpenden with John’s parents, and made me come with them instead of heading back to their Park Lane Hotel with John and Maria (clearly the kind of place I’d like).

Home alone

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

You think you can trust people and then you find that they have sneaked off without you!!

I had a bit of a lie in this morning and got up to find the house empty. I assumed they had all gone off to Patchings, a little surprising since I know it’s Maria’s birthday.

I waited around and eventually Claire came home, she had indeed been to Patchings but Maria and John have swanned off to London!!! Without even telling me (never mind inviting me)!!!!

Matters were not improved when we received a phone call (a rather drunken one I would say) going on about how lovely the hotel is, how great the cocktails were, the fantastic (and expensive) meal in the restaurant (something about a River Cottage chef). Then there was the photo emailed to us showing the lovely flowers and complimentary cake for their anniversary.

London at the Intercontinental for their 30th Wedding anniversary

I could just about understand they might want to spend their birthdays and anniversary (30th!!!!) off on their own, but then I found Claire and Robert were also going down to London for high tea at the Dorchester on Monday, together with Maureen and Rob (John’s parents). It seems I was the only one left out!

So I’ve put my foot down and insisted I go too, after all I am a member of the family. Claire muttered something about the car only being a 2 seater and the Dorchester having a dress code. Cheek! As if I wasn’t smart enough for anywhere.