Monday, September 14, 2009

Off to London

I know it must seem a terribly hard to believe coincidence so soon after my dad's coins turning out to be sovereigns that have now funded my next OU course, to also disclose that a little while ago - completely out of the blue - I got a notification from a company that there was about £1,000 of unclaimed money from some share valuation or other (my dad dabbled a bit here and there and I've never quite got to the bottom of some very confusing papers about all his bits and pieces - I've left them alone). This notice came from a company whose job it is to track down unclaimed monies and they take 10% for doing it - fair enough and what is left couldn't have come at a better time.

I have an elderly aunt - my dad's remaining sibling - who is now in a retirement home and it is her birthday on the 25th of this month. I had planned on doing a whistlestop visit to see her and stay with her daughter - my first cousin - in North London. The thing is though that a) I hate staying with people and b) I adore hotels, especially good ones. I would be ashamed to tell you how much I have racked up over the years staying in luxury hotels - you wouldn't believe it anyway.

This out of the blue money means that I can now stay at quite a nice hotel , instead of having to share a small maisonette with my cousin and her hubbie. Don't get me wrong - they are lovely people, it is just that I like my own space. I've not stayed at this hotel before but I do like the Radisson chain very much (my favourite of theirs is the Hampshire, right bang in the middle of Leicester Square but which is definitely out of my price bracket these days).

During my four days in London I plan on doing my favourite thing in the world - going to the theatre*. The only show I know I am definitely going to so far is Wicked; I've heard such good reports of it and it is the sort of thing I once would have seen within its first month - not a few years after it has opened. I'm a bit peeved that I've also missed Michael Ball (my favourite leading man) in Hairspray; I won't bother seeing it now.

I would have done a bit of shopping whilst in my home city but I'm doing a very cheap flight with Ryanair who now stipulate that if you only have carry-on luggage (as opposed to checking a bag in) you have to put your handbag/shoulder bag/laptop inside it - giving you just one thing to bring on to the plane and which must not weigh more than 10kg. It doesn't give me much leeway to hit the shops. I can't complain though - the flight has only cost me £23 return to Stansted- in fact my air fare will be the cheapest thing about the whole trip.

The photo above is from a lunch party that Mr FF and I gave yesterday. The clearing up is only just taking place - I was a bit too inebriated mildly tipsy yesterday to even attempt it. The reason that the tablecloth is quite vivid as opposed to being tasteful white linen is that it is an easy-care one (no class, I know) because there is always someone who spills the red wine and it is such a faff to get the cloth perfect again (yes, it was me who did it yesterday).

*all suggestions gratefully received, although if it is well known and has been running for over ten years then no doubt I will have seen it


Ayak said...

h I'm so envious of your trip..I can't remember the last time I went to London...even though it's only 25 miles away from where I stay on my UK visits. Lack of money is usually the reason. I also like good hotels...I sometimes think I'd be happy living in a hotel!

Have a wonderful time xx

Ann said...

Oh wonderful FF, come and pick me up and we will paint the town red, and I am not kidding.

You must be so looking forward to this trip, real shops, as opposed to our pretendy shops, and it is lovely to hear people speaking your own language.

Pity about Ryandontyoudare, I do not like that airline one little bit, I used to travel with BA from Cork, they stopped those flights, last time I travelled on Ryandontyoudare, I thought the Russian law enforcement agency were in charge, bag overweight, food in that should not have been, had to put my bag in the suitcase, the bag was crammed with goodies, jeez, it was quite awful watching them flinging stuff into the big containers, though to be fair, one of the guys looked in another compartment of the suitcase, saw butter and stuff, winked at me, and allowed me to keep them.

You will have a great time.

A Super Dilettante said...

Have a fantastic trip FF. Radissonedwardian hotel looks splendid. The last time I was in London, I stayed in Mayfair. The hotel was near the American embassy. The service was alright but I was slightly let down by the decor! I'm sure you will have a super time!! It's my day off today as a friend from Badminton is paying me a visit.

Brother Tobias said...

The starter looks delectable. And a pretty good wine too. I think I'd prefer staying in your house than any hotel.

Steve said...

Congrats on the windfall - when good fortune smiles, greet her by the hand and don't let it go...!

Mark said...

Well doene and goo dluck with London trip.

When you do get round to looking at those old papers, if you think your father had shares in some companies it is a relatively easy thing to trace ownership via the registrars - sorry I'm a Company Secreary when at work. (Zzzzzz... I know) If you need help you can always drop me a line.


Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

This is great news! Have a wonderful trip, enjoy the hotel, happy visiting and tell us all when you get back.

Great looking meal FF - glad you had fun.

Dumdad said...

Mmmmm, that food looks good!

I know what you mean about staying at friends and staying in hotels. I LOVE hotels although it is a bit of a thing of the past what with having children - just too expensive. But pre-kids, The Frog Queen and I stayed at lots of hotels. Bliss.

The Grand at Brighton springs to mind. We drove down from London for a weekend, our booked room didn't have a sea view as I'd asked, I complained, upgraded to pentehouse suite. RESULT!!!!

French Fancy said...

Ayak - thank you dearie. It's about two years since I've been to London, it's long overdue

Ann - boo to Ryanair. Listen, perhaps when Brandon and the boys next hit the UK we'll meet up and go together

ASD - thank you - it does look very nice there and I keep telling myself that I'll spend a bit of time at the British Museum (only will I have the time?)

Hope you're having a good time with your friend

Brotob - that is very sweet of you to say so. Mr FF and I do like to go 'that extra mile' when people come over

Steve - A little bit of me wants to squirrel it away for a rainy day but I really need to get away from this peace and quiet - it is doing me in a bit

Mark, thank you for that. I quite like the surprise element of things (cheques and the like) just turning up in our post box. When he first died - about 2.5 years ago now - I half-heartedly sent in change of ownership applications and the probate certs, but then they sent me more forms to fill in and I lost heart rather and just left them. Maybe I'll get round to them one day.

Reasons - spontaneous things are the best.

Dumdad - now that would be a lovely hotel to go to - the Grand in Brighton - PENTHOUSE SUITE - yes, it does deserve capitals. How lovely that must have been

willow said...

Wicked is fun, I saw it in Chicago a few years ago. (love your beautiful Czech glass goblets)

Lady Fi said...

Oooh - lucky you! Staying at a hotel and going to the theatre. Enjoy!

the fly in the web said...

Enjoy the dosh...spend it yourself rather than letting the taxman have it. You'll have more fun than he will.

bindu said...

That hotel looks nice! Enjoy your visit.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Totally understand needing your own space. For me though, it comes from being at the age where many of my friends live in very small spaces (like studio apartments).

Loved Wicked, btw! I saw it in New York in 2005. Really fun show.

French Fancy said...

willow - I'm not sure if they are Czech. They were part of a wedding present to my parents and I have six of four different sizes. The ones in the pic are the largest.

Ladyfi -can't wait - a week tomorrow!

flyintheweb - I do pay taxes though as well - in both countries (it hardly seems fair)

bindu - thank you sweetie

ContemTroub - Another endorsement for Wicked (Willow was the other) - really looking forward to it even though the best seats are £85 each (about $170)

Carol said...

Next time you plan a trip over you must must must let me know so that we can get together!!

I can recommend Chicago. Tom and I went to see it and both loved it!! I've heard that Billy Elliot is also really good....

Have a wonderful time hon

C x

Anonymous said...

How lovely for you. And I absolutely agree with you about choosing a hotel over staying with someone. Hotels are always a treat for me and I detest staying at the home of another, regardless of how much I might love the person.

And congratulations on your unexpected windfall. That will make your visit 'home' even more enjoyable.

Jennysmith said...

Wonderful tablecloth - I want it - and NOW! don't bother cleaning it - keep it as it is.

I hope you enjoy your home city. London will be more vibrant with you back in it xxxx

justme said...

How nice that you are being blessed with good fortune at the momemt. I hope you have a LOVELY trip, and if you have any spare moments in your busy schedule, get in touch and we could meet up for coffee or something. ( I work in central London, just by the British Museum) Sorry, no useful suggestions for the theatre!
On another blog has temporarily gone 'private' while I sort out a few things, folling being 'discovered' by someone. It says its invitation only, but actually I have not worked out HOW to invite people so its actually ME only at the moment. Normal service should be resumed in a few days. I hope! My E mail address is

Veggie Carrie said...

Have fun in London! I've only heard good things about Wicked, so I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I quite want to see Sister Act, although I don't know how good it is.

Lola said...

Oh darling friend, have a wonderful time in London! Take loads of photos and post them on the blog as soon as you get back. We'll be here waiting

Ciao Lola xx

Rob-bear said...

Oh goodness. More money! Wonderful.

Totally understand the desire for privacy. Especially in a nice hotel.

BTW the meal looks great! I'm so hungry!

And how many pairs of Rocket Dog boots will you be wearing back (since you can't pack them)?

Hope you have lots of fun.

Lulu LaBonne said...

Have a lovely time, see some great things and eat lots of great food.

My tablecloth rivals yours for brighness - I'm all for easycare me.


French Fancy said...

Carol - yes, isn't Chicago a great show. I saw it first time round. Another time when I am coming over for longer - and maybe with Mr FF - it would be lovely to meet up

Mr WO - glad it is not just me who doesn't enjoy staying with people. My m-i-l thinks it is much better to stay with friends and I sometimes wonder if I'm just not very friendly at heart.

Jen - I wouldn't need to clean the cloth because the wine just wiped off, nice and easy

justme - sorry to hear you've had this blogging bother. Please let me know what you decide - I'll send you a mail

Carrie - Wicked seems to be the show that everyone is mentioning. I hope I don't have to cancel my trip at the last minute because of this infernal back ache; that's the only thing putting me off booking a seat for the show in advance

Lola - yes I mustn't forget my camera. I did for my last London trip and there were lots of potentially good things I missed (like seeing the group Take That being interviewed)

Rob - I'm now wishing I'd booked a train trip so that I could have done some London shopping. As you say, it's out of the question now (except for some Marks & Spencer sausage rolls)

Lulu - I've got drawers of white linen with clean-washed stains in but they still look dirty when you are trying to make a table look nice. The one in the photo is so lurid and is easy wipe clean. Wasn't cheap though - it cost €58! and didn't have a price on it - I only found out at the till and didn't want to look cheap

Frankofile said...

Oh see some Shakespeare, any Shakespeare, for me, will you?

French Fancy said...

Frankie - I feel your pain, sweetie. I don't think there is much of a classical nature on though that I actually fancy. To tell the truth I've not done that much research. I'm planning on getting a Time Out as soon as I can (I've got to be Stansted based for the Tues night 'cos I arrive so late) - so from Wed lunchtime I will be scrutinising those listings

Berowne said...

Were you aware that it was the French who were the first Europeans to discover New York?
They named it New Angouleme. I'd be interested in your reaction to this on the post "Hudson Second, French First," on the blog Savage Reflections.

French Fancy said...

Berowne - no I didn't know that at all; I thought it was the Dutch, hence it once being called New Amsterdam. Popping over to see you now...