LONDON CALLING – Monday, 11 February 2010

We land at Heathrow the following day, of course. Nobody sleeps very well and the ‘meals’ have not been too pleasant. It’s a l-o-n-g walk through the place to get to that other place where passports become stamped and bags retrieved. We wave at Julie on another line and connect briefly with her and her husband, Matt Fraser, once we have emigrated successfully. Bags in hand we line up for a taxi. It has jump seats, like the old Checker cabs in NYC. 

Our destination is a Mailboxes Etc. where, for a fee, we can park our luggage for a couple hours until the four-bedroom apt. is ‘ready’. This cockamamie procedure involves the digital manipulation of my mobile device. In the interest of efficiency, I relinquish it to Joss. Then we duck into a nearby coffee shop for caffeine and actual digestible food. Flat whites! Killing time is best accomplished by walking toward a destination. We aim for a patisserie called Maison Bertaux. It’s not far and its croissants are huge. Breakfast tomorrow has aligned. Next door to the pastry shop is a store dedicated solely to printed Harry Potter memorabilia. The people who created all the HP graphics have their own store. It’s actually cool and I purchase some un-HP greeting cards, e.g. A Movement of Moles. Time lingers, refusing to die. More coffee only aggravates the need for a WC. We recover our baggage from the Mailboxes and proceed to 4 Broad Court, where our residence will be. We roll past a market where some busker is coercing a youngster to limbo. We roll past the Apple Store, which brings back memories of fried hard drives in Western Australia. 

Our rooms are ready. Schlepping my ponderous suitcase up three flights requires balance and stamina. Ha! There’s a moldy smell coming from one of the baths, but the layout, split between two floors, has four bedrooms and three baths, plus kitchen and living room . I think we’ll manage. Ali and Kif retire immediately. I prevail on Jocelyn to join me in a search for a superdupermarket. There’s a Sainsbury’s nearby. Beverages and snacks are required in order to sustain life. She then retires. I putter lamely. 

At six o’clock we assemble to walk to Veeraswamy, a highly recommended Indian restaurant. The meal’s delicious, but I practically nod out in my mulligatawny. The return stroll to Broad Court takes us back through Leicester Square, a hubbub and a half. Tsunamis of high school groups present navigational obstacles that nimble New Yorkers should be able to take in their stride; semi-comatose ones, not so much. London is ablaze with light and activity. We aren’t. Back at Broad Court we discover that all the baseboard electric outlets have ceased to provide juice. Bummer. 

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