The Ruffled Crow

Animation, Art, and Other Shiny Things

The Last Wander of London

Today was our last full day in London before we head out on the train tomorrow to Salisbury, so we tried to wrap up a few things and just wander as we did it.

Wall art in a schoolyard near the laundrette

The first order of business was laundry. We’d packed fairly light with only one large bag, a carry-on, and a day-pack. Compared to our DC trip a few years ago, it felt like we’d only brought a few strips of cloth and a deck of cards. We’d sent the large case (and part of our laundry) up to Birmingham with Young Master Crow yesterday, so we only had one large load to do. Rather than opt for the closest laundrette, we traveled up to the Holborn district next to Queen Square Gardens to a little laundrette with good reviews. And we found those good reviews to be well merited. Between helping us with the machines, and directing us to a local coffee shop while our clothes took a spin, the gentlemen running the place were fantastic.

Dropping off our refreshed clothing at the hotel, we bussed to the Tower of London for the second time to hopefully catch up with the Ravenmaster and see if he would inscribe our book. Unfortunately, once again he was off duty. No matter, though, we visited the ravens and said hello to George again.

Confined to cage as him and his partner were hasselling and moving in on other raven’s territories the previous day.

George is the newest raven to the treachery. A collective of ravens is also called an unkindness, or conspiracy. I would say they’re not as hard core as a murder of crows, but besides being about twice as large, they are grumpier and more bad-ass than any crow I know, and I’ve known several. Anyways, George is the first raven hatched at the Tower in the last 30 years and was born on April 23rd, St George’s Day ergo the name.

Now, Mrs Crow and I are smokers and the wife was running out of cigarettes so we searched up tobacco shops. On a Sunday it is surprisingly difficult to find one open, but we did find one within a few miles. Grabbing the tube at Tower Hill we set off for Bond Street. Of course, when Mrs Crow asked which stop we needed to get off at I replied “Street, Bond Street”. You have to grab your juvenile entertainments when you can…

When we did arrive, despite my phone’s best efforts, I was rather horrified to find us back at the very posh Selfridges and in the press of masses of humanity so we rethought our choice of tobacconist (to save ourselves several quid and my sanity, which is in dire peril most days anyways) and made our way towards Picadilly Circus station.

Remember what I mentioned about my phone’s directional abilities? Yeah, we walked a half block the wrong direction. In fact is was a bit more than a half block and we happened across a small shop selling cigarettes. With Mrs Crow sated for a bit we set off in the complete opposite direction my phone directed us to find Piccadilly. Of course, it was the correct way.

A lion clinging to a wall in Chinatown

The serendipity came around in the form of a large gateway we spied down a side street. It was a classic Chinese entrance gate leading into Chinatown.. We all know I’m a fan of the art and such, so it was a facinating stroll through seeing how Chinese style mixed with English architecture. Eventually we made it to Piccadilly station, no thanks to my phone, and wended our way back to Lambeth and our hotel.

We’d found a wonderful little pub right next to the hotel last night (Pub Love @ The Steam Engine) that serves the most incredible burgers so we ate there again this evening. I love spicy foods and they have a burger called The Sombrero covered in hot sauces and jalapenos that is to die for. As I age, however, the spicy heat that I love is not loving me. That noted, I would still eat The Sombrero nightly even if I did die for it.

Well, tomorrow is the train and Salisbury. Time to pack it up and in for the evening.

Observations from day five: We have not seen any under-arm crutches like in the states. The forearm-style are what’s used here.

Sidewalks often have little metal disk-shapes evenly spaced along. It took me until yesterday to realize they were sawed off and ground down metal fence posts.

We have not seen one youngster with saggy pants. Very few logo’d shirts either.

English cigarette packs have some rather graphic pictures of cancer patients. Be aware.

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