Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday: Shopping & Pies & Something Sweet

At least if I had to suffer
a day of shopping,
I could appreciate
how awesome the stores
looked from the outside.
Before I dig into our final full day in London, I need to clarify that I loathe shopping.  I don’t mind buying gifts for people.  However, I prefer to know what they are and where to find them.  And I enjoy window shopping, looking at pretty things with no intention or even desire to buy anything.  I also love bargains, which is why I love buying books at a library book sale because I also love buying books so it’s twice as wonderful to buy books at a bargain.  And if I find something I love while window shopping, there’s something delightful about returning to the shop and find it’s on sale. 

But my idea of a good time does not involve shopping.  So I was dreading Saturday in London. Why?  Well, when I had planned the itinerary, I had purposely shoved the shopping into the very first full day of our trip, hoping to get it done and out of the way.  Rob’s being sick kept us from going shopping that first Sunday.  Every day we went out, I looked for and hoped we’d find something everywhere we went to give as gifts. My logic, my hope, my expectation was that I would easily find something for everyone given how many places we would go.  British Museum.  Tate Britain.  Hampton Court.  London Tower.  National Portrait Gallery.  National Gallery.  Surely, that would be enough for us to find something for everyone. 

In planning the trip, Saturday was set aside. If we did not find gifts for anyone and everyone, we would go shopping.  If, however, we had all the kids we could afford and/or desire, we would go to Hatfield Place, the ancestral home of a certain Robert William Cecil, Jr.  Or we might go back to one of the sights we had visited that we felt deserved another visit or we couldn’t finish seeing.  Like the National Gallery, with all the paintings we missed because we had to rush off for the London Walk.

Believe it or not,
we didn't buy even one
of these incredibly
yummy looking
So Saturday morning, we woke up and I knew we were going to go shopping. 

Yeah.  You can imagine how “thrilled” I was to spend my last day in London doing something I loathe.

We took a taxi to Camden Market which was a wonderful choice.  We arrived early, before most of the crowds.  Some of the stores and shops weren’t even open but we started browsing right away.  It is impossible for me to begin to describe the plethora of items we saw.  Suffice it to say, we were able to find some really great gifts for everyone (and some not-so-great gifts as well). 

Before leaving for London, Rob was hoping he could find a replacement cuff or something Celtic, to replace the one he used to wear that wore out and broke.  That happens with such things so it wasn’t a terrible disappointment.  Finding a new one in London, however, would have been perfect.  And he did.  He found one he liked.  In the meantime, I found gifts for all of the children, a scarf for Kanika, and even a little something for myself. 

Throughout the trip, Rob complained that I didn’t get anything for myself.  But I did.  I got a book at the British Museum.  And a postcard.  I bought myself a thimble and a quill pen at Hampton Court.  And more books.  We may not have gone to Westminster Abbey but we went to the gift shop to pick up something for Rob’s mother and I bought myself another postcard and some pen nibs.  See?  I had things.  But he kept insisting I needed more and, at the market, I found a book, a blank book, made with paper that had flowers in it.  This felt perfect for me because I had been so consumed with eating flowers that there was a sort of symbolic parallel to writing on papers with flowers. 

♥ ♥ ♥
As we shopped, it became increasingly crowded.  We decided to leave.  We decided to leave because we had promised Kanika we would buy Steven a football t-shirt.  He sent us a long list of team names and headed to a shop that the concierge recommended to us.  By some perverse twist of fate, there was an American football event occurring that weekend and all of Regent’s Street was shut down, overflowing with crowds and bandstands, and noise, noise, noise, noise, noise.  My heart grew three times smaller as we took a cab into yet another crowd of people to hopefully purchase this shirt for a friend. 

We found ourselves back in Soho, walking the now familiar streets and some unfamiliar streets.  For lunch, we meandered over to Chinatown where we found a buffet.  I had hoped to have some dim sum.  I’d wanted dim sum when we went to New York.  Finding myself in Chinatown, I hoped we might finally get me some.  We didn’t.  No dim sum at all.  Bah humbug.  Still, the food was good enough.  And while in Chinatown, we found a couple more gifts for our granddaughter and niece.

Back at the hotel, I spread out the gifts and was not satisfied with what we had for Bibi.  Rob agreed.  She needed more.  She needed a Paddington Bear toy.  Which explains how, even after all that shopping and how much pain I was experiencing, we ended up heading out to Hamley’s to do more shopping.  Ugh!  We came away with two bears and a third toy, this one for me and Rob. 

Although we had passed
the Queen Victoria Memorial
several times, this time
Rob stopped to take a pic.
I was able to rest with my legs up for a little while before we headed off for our final dinner in London.  Where did we choose to go?  Back to Chimes where Rob had the Poacher’s Pie and I had the Shepherd’s Pie.  I was tempted to order the bread and butter pudding, since Rob hadn’t been so generous with sharing it the first time as I had hoped he would be.  Rob talked me out of it because, as he reminded me, I had planned on ordering the cheesecake with rose petal ice cream from room service anyway.  No reason for me to give into the temptation.  Rob ordered some ice cream for himself.  Only, my dessert arrived with coffee ice cream.  It took me a minute to realize that I received the wrong dessert.  I called room service and they delivered the correct dessert, free of charge.  Rob and I shared the mis-delivered dessert. 

Extra dessert at the end of our trip?  Can you see why I keep saying that the trip was wonderful, in spite of the wasted sick days and the leg pain I experienced?  Is it so hard to imagine why it is that here I am two weeks later still dreaming every night (but one) about London?  I wasn’t ready or even wanting to leave.  But I missed my loved ones enough to get back on a plane and return home in spite of having fallen in love with London.


  1. I'm sorry you had to come home too! I have really been enjoying your trip! I don't like shopping when I'm traveling. There are just so many things to see and so little time.

    1. Betty, My friend's sister loves to shop when she travels and I think Rob enjoys it a little. Maybe not to the point of loving it because he definitely loved everything else we did but he enjoys shopping more than I do by a long shot. Unless it's books at a library book sale. Then I love shopping more than he does. :)

  2. When I'm in Soho, I love to get crispy duck! My favorite place to shop is Covent Garden, especially on the antique market days!

    1. We went through Soho so many times we actually got to where we knew our way around. In fact, the entire time we were in London, we only got turned around one time. All things considered, think that's pretty impressive.