This is our first big adventure since settling in California, and it is a LONG, LONG, way from Eureka to London. We drove to San Francisco to squeeze in an eye appointment for me, and we knew that we could park for a month at the El Rancho motel. (Bad and good news though: the hotel will close in the next year and the property be redeveloped as housing.)
We flew Delta to Heathrow via Salt Lake City, and our travel went as smoothly as it could have. We arrived at 1:40 pm and had to wait a while for our prearranged ride to the city. More good news, our phone chips work and I could check with the taxi company. About a half hour late the driver showed up, and off we went. We arrived at our rental townhouse in Kennington, on the south side of the river, at 4 pm, both exhausted.
Our home for the month is compact. There is a extra bedroom and bath on the third floor that we decided not to use. The upstairs bathroom is a bit larger, but the extra stairs make it less attractive.
The bath attached to our bedroom is similar to the kind you find on a cruise ship. Everything is there, but close together. The sink is the smallest we’ve ever seen, the bowl is 8 x 10 inches, smaller than a sheet of printer paper. It makes us laugh, as we always thought the powder room at our house in Wheaton had the smallest sink we’d ever seen.
The kitchen is made for cooking, with a large range, all the cookware Jonathan needs, and a full-size fridge. It also has the dining table (photo is at the top of this post). Heat and hot water work very well, and the house gets nice light from windows over the street in the living room, and kitchen windows over the back garden. We hear a few birds in the trees, but haven’t seen any. Our first morning, I looked out the garden window and watched a fox prowling on the lawn. It’s definitely a city dweller, as there’s is not much in the way of woods for quite a distance.
A quick check on the phone and we found a nearby store where we could get something for dinner and breakfast. I love that it is “National Crumpet Week”. The neighborhood appears to have a bit of everyone, meticulously maintained gardens, houses with new paintwork, and some DIY works in progress. Most is town houses and apartments, including a couple of big council estates (subsidized housing).
On the way to the closest large grocery store, we cross Pasley Park, where a pair of boulders have been turned into birds. We’ve seen a few live birds, too, the dramatically colored black and white magpies, and rose-ringed parakeets (much larger than pet budgies) that escaped from a cage somewhere. Robins chirp in the bushes. Last night’s sunset was spectacular. All this in the middle of the city.
Despite the comfortable surroundings, we didn’t sleep well the first couple of nights, no surprise considering the 8 hour time difference between London and Eureka. Coffee fixes many things, and before long, we were ready to explore.