Day Nine: A Toe’s Guide to London

Fucking hell. Around quarter four this morning, I awakened and had to rush to the WC to spend a penny (aka run to the can to take a piss). As it was urgent, I didn’t turn on the lights, and managed to stub my toe on the coffee table or perhaps the chest of drawers. It hurt but I didn’t think much of it and went to bed. I awakened a couple of hours later and it hurt a lot, lot more. I decided to pretend it was okay and go about my business.

Around 815am Karen and I left to have breakfast. Today’s was rubbish. Neither of us finished and we shan’t go back there tomorrow. Rather pay double the tariff at the hotel instead. Tomorrow will be a long, arduous travel day.

After that, we went to the tube and the Circle line closed for the weekend for scheduled engineering works which meant hopping to Earl’s court to get a train to Notting Hill Gate. Two stops but an ordeal. Walking up and down the steps I really felt my toe. It’s the right foot, toe next to the pinky. Might be broken or might not. I’ll investigate tonight. Leaving it safely encased in my sock until bed this evening.

We exited and walked through Portobello Road Market. Down one side all the way to the other end and back up the other. And I mean all the way down. Through the souvenirs, the antiques, the new food, the new shite, and the sundries. The lot. All the way until the road ended. By the time we returned to the tube it was quite crowded even though a number of booths weren’t there due to the holidays. A number of my favorites were gone including the place I got the Queen Anne land deed and the coin and medal shop. On the way down we also took a short detour so Karen could see the blue door from the Notting Hill movie.

We took the tube up to Marble Arch, and took a nice walk to Uniqlo so Karen could buy a shirt. I got one too, a nice flannel deal on sale at £15. After that we continued through past Oxford Street to the Photographer’s Gallery. It had a nice set of images, though terribly depressing and we spent quite some time there. After that we walked to Regent Street and down to Piccadilly, the Leicester Square and finally over to Shaftesbury to the theatre where Karen wanted to see if they had tickets for tonight to “Thriller Live” only it was obstructed view only. So we’ve given up on theatre for tonight We came back and I’m writing this part at our break while Karen does some travel bookings for her clients.

Happily my room is clean. Usually they come right at half past four as I’m trying to prepare to depart for theatre and dinner. Tube fares are up today but last night when we bought today’s ticket, we only had to pay one day at the higher rate and there was a spare £5 on my Oyster for which there is no explanation but I’ll take it.

Anyway, around 315pm we left for the London Silver Vault at Chancery Lane but sadly it closes early on Saturday (1pm) so we ended up having to go to plan B except we didn’t have one. We ended up walking towards Holborn for the hell of it, and ended up walking past it and going into the John Soane museum which we had twice before gone to but were unable to go in (closed first time and horrid queue in the rain). Third time’s the charm, and we enjoyed it though at high speed since the close at 5pm. Still it was fun, and after we left the curator talked to us for a bit. The museum is expanding and opening up more to the public. If you’ve been in years past you know this is a well-kept secret museum but now they get nearly 100,000 people per year.

After that we walked towards Leicester Square, stopping at Pasta Brown for a very average dinner. We walked all the way back to our hotel and then past to Paul (bakery) for an eclair café. That’s pretty much it for the evening. Tomorrow’s an early day with a 640am wake-up.

 n unrelated news, well sort-of related news, there’s an interesting first-hand account from a passenger aboard NW 253 on Christmas Day. Very interesting reading to hear from a passenger what he felt as well as saw.

 EDIT: I checked my toe. It’s gruesome and it’s definitely broken. I took a photo to gross everyone out. It’s definitely black and indigo with some red tinges. Doesn’t have the yellow and green bits yet but it’s not even been 24 hrs.

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