Saturday, July 16, 2011

Living and Shopping in London...

We had a slow start to our rainy day today, which allowed us to spend some time hanging out together while waiting for Colin Firth.  He never showed, but we made the most of the day anyway.  Some of my classmates headed to Covent Garden for a tea reservation, some headed out to museums, and I decided to get some shopping done.  During our orientation we were told that we are "living" in London.  I'm not sure that three weeks in a place can really count as living there.  Anyone else have an opinion on that?  Maybe after I am finished on this entry and have processed my day fully, I will have a stronger idea.  The shopping I did today was certainly the kind one might do as a resident.  We are staying in a "flat" complete with a kitchen, living room, and two bathrooms.  We have all memorized our maybe we are living here...though not long enough to lose our accents.
I was hoping to have some distinct London experiences while looking for the practical things I needed.  The first thing I did was head off in the wrong direction.  I kept thinking that the Carphone Warehouse store was across from Russell Square tube station.  Once I arrived at Russell Square I realized that I had just put all the locations we had seen on a walking tour together in my head.  Out came the map and some musing over it.  Luckily I was close to a place with plenty of delicious food cooking in tents on a courtyard and another place to buy an umbrella.  Armed with food and water defenses, I found my way over to where I needed to be to get a mobile phone.  Let me tell you about these phones: you can buy phone for 2.95 pounds and a sims card for 10 lbs and people can call you from the US for free and you can make local calls.   MUCH cheaper than trying to work something out with your cell phone company.  When I go to Paris, I'll need to get another sims card if I want to use the phone there.  After pocketing this new device, I headed down Oxford Street toward shopping potential gallore.  I was thinking I would just keep walking until I got to Notting Hill and could see the Portabella Road Market.  My aching feet kept telling me that might be too far.  I also started getting a bit lonely.  Wouldn't it be nice to stop in one of these cafes and chat?  I knew some people had gone to Covent Garden and thought I might bump into them If I headed that way.  I didn't have luck finding anyone but the shopping gods decided to smile upon me and led me straight to The Body Shop which is an English company and a little cheaper than in the US, depending on the exchange rate.  Feet still aching I wandered through Covent Garden and saw lots of people.  Covent Garden has a shop area and reminds me of Quincy Market back in Boston.  Starting to feel like I was in Boston and not in London I headed up (up? north? still having a hard time with direction) some twisty side streets.  There are still cobblestones in some of these streets around Covent Garden.  There were also some shoe shops but I just couldn't see dropping so many pounds for shoes that weren't that special.  That was before I walked up to the Terra Plana store on Neal Street.  One look in the window and I fell in love.  I knew that it was meant to be when I saw the SALE sign and when I learned a little more about the company.  It is a British shoe company and their motto is "We make shoes. Better for you. Better for the environment"  ( don't pay me to advertise for them, I'm just so excited that while I was in London, I stumbled into a place for shoes that is British and uses sustainable resources and methods to make their shoes.  I am all about that.  So I guess one afternoon of slight loneliness is worth it for a random British shoe discovery.

After taking my finds back to the flat I did some grocery shopping at Sainsbury Central on Northampton Rd.  I bought some eggs (not refrigerated), some soup, french bread, yogurt, bananas, cheese (Wensleydale because of Wallace's love for it), and juice.  All set for dinner and lots of breakfasts.  

So now my shopping day is over and I hope I don't have to do that very often.  I barely had enough time to get ready for our jaunt to the Victoria Palace Theater to see Billy Elliot.  The show was wonderful, stirring, and made me cry.  So stirring, in fact, that I am still up at 2:30am!  

Ginger Chicken Enjoys Public Transportation

Maybe it was the ride back on the double decker bus that got me all riled up.  Time to settle down and get to sleep so I can continue the London Life tomorrow. 


  1. glad to hear your rain coat is well used :)

    did you see any ghostlike victorian children in covent garden?

  2. i'll take a pair of the dharmas

  3. I'll send you a pic of what's on sale :). And yes, we are actually getting rain this trip. I'm thinking about doing my digital story about rain in London.

  4. I just realized, J, that you are noting that I bought an umbrella :). It is very necessary in ADDITION to the wonderful raincoat I brought with me.