Hollyhocks growing along the road to our bus stop...
Today is a lovely day outside!
After our morning showers, breakfasts and discussions about what to do today, we walk to our neighbourhood bus stop, board our favorite red double-decker #243 and arrive at our tube station, Manor House, a few minutes later. Sliding our Oyster cards over the turnstile reader pad to allow us to enter the station area, within a few minutes we are hurtling through the underground network at speeds I don't like to imagine!
We are dumped out at South Kensington station, and neither of us has any clue where we are.
Check the tube map, I think.
Unfortunately, it is still sitting on my bed back at the house!
No worries, we'll just ask someone along the way.
My original plan was to walk to Kensington Palace, have lunch in the Orangerie and see the display of Princess Diana's amazing dresses in the palace. Seems like this plan is in the trash for now.
Plan B is in place within minutes and it consists of just winging it! We wander through the shops along the street, looking for souvenirs for the granddarling to buy for her family and friends. Our first souvenir bonanza is in a tiny confectionery shop, where souvenirs are sold along with cold juices, bottled water, snacks in plastic wrappers, newspapers and magazines.
While Taryn shops, I am busily scanning the London A to Z map books for our exact location and where we might choose to go next. Thankfully, the shop owner doesn't seem to mind that I'm browsing and not buying!
The Victoria and Albert Museum is right down the street, according to the map, so we keep walking. I'm not sure where the museum is, so I stop on the sidewalk to ask an officer in a police uniform where it is located.
He starts to smile, and I get it!
"We're standing right in front of it, aren't we?" I mumble, blushing.
"Yes, you are!" he replies, likely laughing more on the inside than he allows on the outside.
Going inside of the museum, we find the gift shop right away...they are always a great source of good quality keepsakes to take home for gifts. Taryn shops and I browse. She finds some pretty incredible gifts here! This girl can spot a perfect gift for someone a hundred miles away.
As we leave the museum, I ask the guard for directions to Harrod's, and we are not that far away, apparently. Walking down the hill from the museum, we arrive at the famous old store and enter from Brompton Road. The store is a crush of shoppers, lookers, interesting and strange people...this could be an adventure all of it's own!
Harrod's is an amazing place...there are separate rooms for the cheeses, another for chocolates, yet another for perfumes and toiletries. I think the prices are a bit astronomical, even with the annual summer sale in full swing. For the granddaughter, the prices are also a little over the top, so we leave after an hour of looking-but-not-buying. I wonder how there are enough people in the world to buy the inventory in this store!
On our way home, the discussion turns to where we will have dinner, and Taryn opts for a restaurant that we liked one day just after we arrived in London. So, I turn her loose with her uncanny spidey-senses to locate it, and soon we are standing in front of the restaurant.
This girl's good!
She can find a needle in a proverbial haystack, I swear.
We order...those beloved fishcakes and chips for the Missy and lemon sole for me. When our plates are set down in front of us, I notice immediately a faint smell of spoiled fish, and so the first taste of my sole is done hesitatingly. Sure enough, it tastes off. I cannot tell you what that means, other than I can tell that the fish has sat too long in the warmth of the kitchen or in some way has not been kept chilled properly.
I call the server over and ask him to take it away, and now I'm really not that hungry at all. Funny how a thing like this will ruin my good appetite. He offers me something else from the menu and I decline, because my tummy's just not in the game any more. Taryn's meal is excellent for her, though, so she eats, while I people-watch.
I can hear a Scandanavian accent in the booth behind ours, and soon I realize that they also have called the waiter over to their table! After he leaves, I ask them what is going on.
Queasy Tummy Alert...the rest of this story is not for the squeamish or for the faint of heart!
The woman directly behind me holds up her glass salad bowl towards me and says, shakily, "There's a...a...a snail in my salad!"
There IS a snail without a shell, more commonly called a slug by this Canuck, crawling up towards the top of her glass salad bowl, waving those sticky little feelers at the world and leaving that telltale trail of slime in it's wake. It is about an inch and a half long, definitely very alert and moving, very much alive and very surely not salad trimmings or bacon bits......this is not a good thing, I think to myself!
I turn back to Taryn, whisper to her between my gasps and giggles, "Oh, my goodness! There's a slug in her salad!"
She looks at me with huge wide eyes and says," A WHAT?"
"Yep, you heard me!" I reply. "There is a slug in her salad! AND, he's very much alive!"
Taryn begins journaling about sips and snails and slugs that are found in your salad...
The waiter returns with the manager and I do my very best to eavesdrop on this about-to-become interesting conversation. The manager apologizes profusely, apologizes again and takes the offending little creature and the bowl he's sitting in away. My guess is many heads will roll in the prep kitchen over this!
We have laughed for several minutes, uncontrollably...I turn to the lucky recipient of the slug of the month award and ask her how she's feeling, now. She tells me she's happy there was only one in the bowl. I make the mistake of cracking up and gleefully pointing out to her, "Only one that you know of!"
She has no sense of humour!
She is not impressed.
We pay our bill, leave the restaurant and continue to giggle and talk about this, all the way home. We also consider ourselves blessed that we had no salad...at least we didn't get HER salad!
“I don't like to eat snails. I prefer fast food.” ~ Roger von Oech
Dessert for the granddarling...A deep-fried Mars bar!