Marion and I had a longer and hotter than expected train ride back to London. Our train was cancelled so we waited over an hour for the next one, chatting with some nice women and kids from Stratford as we sat on the platform in surprisingly hot weather that got even hotter in London (87 degrees. Dripping). The train that finally arrived had only three cars and little ventilation. I put my purse on the floor in front of my seat only to discover later that it had landed in a cup of what appeared to be hot chocolate, discarded by a previous passenger. Ick. Our friends tell us this decline in rail service is a result of the Tory government’s austerity measures that are causing the decline of public services.
We met Dirck at Paddington, who came from Heathrow after a flight from Warsaw (that fortunately was not too messed up by our awful president’s quick trip to Poland. Can’t escape the guy) and had a quick lunch with Marion at a fast food Mexican place overlooking the arrivals at Paddington. No AC. Lukewarm soda. No ice cubes. London just isn’t prepared for increasingly weird hot temps. (but climate change is a hoax, right?)
Tonight we had a very English experience– dinner with Francine and Russ at Russ’s club in Pall Mall. I used to ride by the stately cream colored private clubs on my bike as a 20-something. We had drinks on the balcony, with great views of the St. James area (although not views of my favorite park) and delicious English food (asparagus with hollandaise sauce, Dover sole, salmon, gooseberry pie, strawberries and cream) with impeccable service on the terrace and coffee in an elegant high-ceilinged room where many an English club scene has been filled (including for the BBC show “the crown”) and where Dickens’ chair is in a corner (yes he was a member, as was another illustrious Charles…Darwin.)
Mixed feelings about these exclusive clubs but at least this one (the Atheneam) bases admittance on merit and achievement vs money and bloodlines.