My friend Pam picked me up this morning and whisked us off to lovely Petersham nurseries in Richmond. I felt like I was in a small country village or a fancy magazine photo spread. The place was lovely rustic chic, lots of wood, wrought iron and gorgeous plants. We enjoyed the little tea room and browsing all the beautiful plants. word has it you can take a little toe path to an old house or estate.
I met Francine at her office near Victoria station (which is a chaotic area now due to construction) and we went nearby to a little (DDK Kitchen) cafe for a sandwich. Then I went to my old stomping ground, Covent Garden, which sadly I didn’t find particularly interesting. Lots of tourists and the shops are now mostly chains or fancy boutiques. The small little independent places I used to love are gone with the rare exception including the Neal’s Yard Dairy, which imports its Stilton to far flung places like Des Moines, and Maison Bertaux a French patisserie/cafe on Dean Street (not Frith as I originally thought.)
The National Portrait Gallery did not disappoint. I went there, I’ll admit, in search of a free loo (I refused to pay one pound for the loo in Covent Garden) and stumbled upon the annual BP Portrait Award show, which I went to years ago with the kids. It’s a contest by portrait painters from around the world who submit their work. The portraits were astonishingly good (some looked like photos) and it was fun to be able to vote on a winner (the audience choice).
Tonight I met Francine and some of her friends for a quiz night contest to benefit the nonprofit Francine runs. It was held in swanky law offices in the city near Bank Street station and a fun event although our team came in dead last. Oh well.
Meanwhile I am learning the hard way that our international phone data plan thru Verizon is not what we had hoped. I loved using my phone here to text and occasionally make phone calls. But I have already wracked up a$25 overcharge because I didn’t understand how limited the data portion is. Our plan came with only 100 mgs of data for a month and I went over that in just one day. For example, I learned that using google maps for 15 minutes ate up 38 mg. I never would have used it as much today if I had known it ate up so much data. I also only get 100 text and 100 minutes of calling but I am not as concerned about using this up because I have been using WhatsApp which I think doesn’t put a dent in my 100 texts but does take data to use if I am not on Wifi. It has sadly become a mess that I will need to sort out tomorrow.