Saturday, October 22, 2011

London Diary: Solitary London Day Five

Deb: Rough night. My back kept waking me up asking me to get help. Finally I capitulated and booked a massage for tonight. I love the concept of the night massage as you can just fall into chill mode into sleep mode into dream mode afterwards. I am getting a soothing pressure point massage that I pray helps me. Being on pins and needles is never best, be it literally or figuratively.

Today was stellar. Woke up late––almost 10, which was reflective of the fitful back sore sleep. I feel I need to state where the responsibility lay lest the bed should feel guilty. If ever a bed should be off the hook, it’s this bed. This bed of comfort, this bed of cosy, this bed of sink. So bed is exonerated. Thank you, bed.

I headed out around noon leaving husband to his bath and very very full day of rehearsals, wardrobe and live audience shoot.

I set off to explore the area around our hotel, the old and grand Langham. The hotel supplied me with an audiotape and earbuds for my sojourn. The tape lasted exactly ten minutes before it conked out, but here is what I gleaned about the Langham. The site of the hotel was originally the private country home (yes, country) of the third Lord Foley in 1797. He secured an undertaking in perpetuity from the landowner, the Duke of Portland, that no future building would block his view northbound from his home of Regent Park. This resulted in Portland Place being the widest street in London today. It is home to many embassies and upscale law offices and businesses of the schmansy ilk. In 1814, the architect John Nash bought the entire kit and caboodle when bossy Lord Foley (no relation to Dave) went bankrupt. The hotel had its original opening on Saturday June 10th, 1865. The Langham was now London’s biggest and finest hotel and its claims include the very first “rising room” (lift-elevators) in the world. It would take me fifty blogs to describe all the firsts, ups, downs, fires, renos that took place in the Langham, but it is wonderful to stay here and be a part of her grand history. Better than a swank white boutique hotel any old day. Some of the noted guests and residents of this hotel have included Marie Louise De La Ramee, Oscar Wilde, Sir Richard Burton (the explorer––not of Liz), Algernon Swinburne the poet, Robert Browning, Sir John MIllais the artist, Lord Lytton the politician, Wilkie Collins the author, William Allingham the poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mark Twain the author, Colin Mochrie the improvisor and Deb McGrath the blogger. The last two were left out of both the book and the audiotape due to a horrendous error in judgment. I mean, Mark Twain??? COME ON!
The bookstore I went into to buy The Little Princess. Who's this guy?????
So this ends my tasting sampler of the Langham and the blog continues from this point with my day.

I did the area of Marylebone, which is very near the hotel, very posh and very charm charm charming! What isn’t here? I did some shopping, I won’t lie to you. I bought two pairs of shoe/booties and a pair of slippers. A casual dress, a blouse, a wallet and a scarf. But the area is so wonderful that I could have just window-shopped. LIES. Good one. Almost bought that myself. Then I was off to Regent’s Park for a long stroll. The last shop I was in offered to keep my packages for me so I did not have to return to the hotel before exploring the park, so that was awesome. The park was dressed for fall but still clinging to its summer finery. I could have walked for days but my stiff and aching back was a constant reminder of each step I trod.
R.P. Merman and mermaids––look at the algae!

Late October. Are you kidding me?
Regent's Park
But the best better bestest part of my day was wrapped up in conquering a hate/fear/discomfort of mine. I was determined that I was going to face it and I did. I ATE ALONE––twice. Lunch and dinner. Lunch was soooooooooooo good. It was at a bistro called La Fromagerie and it was stupendous. It combines meats and or cheeses and fruits with wine pairings. Going back with my husband to this one! Charm personified. And I did not rush. I lingered. I did not bury my face in a book. I owned it. I looked around. I drank in the ambiance, hoisting a nice Barolo in my paw and I smiled at people, unashamed of the fact that I was at a “one top”. 
La Fromagerie

Lunch––gorgonzola, pear, salad perfect wine.
Chairs you can rent by the hour, day or season. Wow!

A delightful little shop. The owners pup sleeping in a window that says:
Music, Japanese tea and Sweets. Dogs are very welcome.

Queen Mary's Gates leading to the inner circle of her gardens.
The best moment of this Deb-in-progress occurred tonight for dinner when I went to a very charming tiny Italian restaurant near the hotel that Colin and I had been eyeing. When I walked in, the owner was crestfallen to see that I was on my own––translation: girl meal. Bad tip. He attempted to sit me in the corner by the drafty door and I went there, as is my wont. Suddenly I turned to him and said, “Excuse me, is that table by the window taken?” YES I PEED A LITTLE. He said, “No, but we are booked up later for the entire night.” I said (A DRIBBLE MORE), “I will only be about an hour and I would love to have that table to people-watch, as I am alone.”  Yes, it’s true, I said “as I am alone.” Working the Jane Eyre vibe and might have even affected an accent, can’t be sure. Seemingly in a trance, he lead me to the good table by the window. And I sat there, tickled pink with myself, if not a tad damp.

Left the restaurant and headed to the hotel where I got an amazing massage to help my injured back. Sadly (did not think of this) that I am so badly bruised from my chiro and massage therapists attempts that he could not work on the exact area. But. Or I should say BUTT, he worked around it. And I feel wonderful. Waiting for my husband to come home from the first taping! I chose to give him one taping for free, as it were, but I will be back here tomorrow with a full report of “Trust Us With Your Life”. A great day. Solitary, it’s true. But I get on so splendidly with me so ... it’s good. 


  1. So loving your solitary adventure (those are just as important as the couple or family ones, aren't they?!) And mmmmm cheese, pear and wine, mmmmmm. I'm having my own adventure in Montreal right now with my daughter. So great to see her!! We had an amazing dinner at a great Syrian restaurant that managed to satisfy the meat-eaters and veggies alike. My own mmmm! xo

  2. PS Rigel, thanks for pics!!! So adorable!!!

  3. Barb that sounds wonderful. How nice that you guys are there for her birthday. Sounds like you had a great one. Have our children gotten together yet? Yes Rigel, just got up and I was going to say the same. Amazing pix of an adorable boy and his world!

  4. Sounds like an absolutely lovely day, except for the back part. I suffer from back problems and have had decompression therapy which is miraculous. Perhaps you should try that Deb when you get back to Toronto.
    In spite of that, you really seemed to savor your day and solo adventure. It sounds wonderful!!!

  5. deb have you visited convent garden market at all ? (i am trying to read your account of London in backwards order starting with the most recent and going back to the start , for all i now you might have already done so) from what i remember of my last trip there in 2008 you would love it . plenty of nice shops to spend money in and cafe's should your back need a rest .
    i travel on my own from Ireland to the UK a lot and i have to say it is great to be able to eat on my own. if people have a problem with seeing a lady eating solo that's there problem not yours !
    enjoy the rest of your trip

  6. sorry about this but the sentence "for all i now" should read for all i know . damn spell checker changed know to now and i didn't notice !

  7. Off to make a video for class...will post later! :]

  8. Loved your day except back pain. Is this from the kidney infection, if so I hope you are taking the right antibiotics? I love the photos and I often eat by myself. I enjoy it and sometimes I bring a book or just people watch. Being single for so many years after a long term marriage I found my little haunts and eat there and know the waiters and the owner. I even sit at a table instead of at the bar. I can't believe how many things you have already bought in the way of clothing. I mush rather by object's de arte than clothes.

  9. Oh Deb, these are the parts of London that I, sadly, did not get a chance to see!!! And honestly, the most enjoyable moments of my trip were the very few quiet short moments I had to myself, whether writing a paper in my flat or strolling around Surbiton/Kingston!!! Go you! :D

    Can't wait for the new show!

  10. Sounds like a wonderful day (except for the back pain). Why do people find women eating alone such a sin. I always feel a little braver at each solitary meal.

  11. sorry this is a little bit late in the game...but i have a remedy for the earwax conundrum you mentioned on Day 1.

    pour one capful of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into your ear. after a few seconds, the liquid will bubble. lay with the peroxide fizzing until it stops (5 or 10 minutes).

    keep a tissue or two handy (in case it bubbles over and makes a mess); then use tissue to catch everything when you turn your head over & blot until it's all cleaned out. repeat on other ear.

    you should be able to get it rather inexpensively at a drug store/pharmacy. and it will keep your husband unmiffed at you for using his olive oil, which is much better for eating.

  12. Again with the gorgeous pictures! Are you just wandering around? Are you finding some of the gems because you've gotten lost? I tend to luck out that way. I get mixed up and find the most wonderful shops tucked away in alleys and such.

    I get more jealous with each post, but it is tempered by your absolute joy and enthusiasm for all you are doing.

    I send my thanks to your bed, and hope you feel better every day.

  13. Oh, Deb, FABULOUS! Good for you, conquering the 'eat alone' thing. I think that is super common. I usually take a book or a notebook, but in London, that would be a shame. And I love that you're at a historic hotel--they have so much more personality, even if some of the quirks can be cumbersome. OSCAR WILDE! (he gets me all excited... Twain, too, but Oscar seems like 'the wild life' where Twain is somehow more approachable even though he's been dead longer.)

  14. It sounds like you had a very busy but fun day around London. I have never been to London but would love to go minus the flying part because I'm afraid of heights . Anyways, love the photos of the looks so beautiful and peaceful ,it looks like a place where you could really get your head together and at the same time see some beautiful scenery .

  15. Lyndsie trust me, I was afraid of flying too. Really afraid for a time. Give yourself the gift of finding your way though it. You will thank yourself. Hart I know huh? The Langham is steeped in history. Dawn frankly it is random organization. I know where I want to go. I set out and then I improvise around the target if that makes any sense. Thanks Meredith. I have copied and pasted your great suggestion to my treehouse. Shawn you are right. I do too. One meal at a time. Thanks Holly I am trying to see everything I can! Linda thanks, Covent Garden is our go to. We love it and we continue to explore it over the years. Madge thanks for the sisterhood of the alone sit. I am embracing it, I really am. As for the UTI, it has nothing to do with the back. The back is it's own beast. I am walking and walking despite the issues. I refuse to stop. I will deal with it when I get home. Kelly hope your class is great. Mary-Jo I am hanging in there with the back. It is not good but it is also not felling me. So...onward I go!

  16. There's a reason I'll never go into television...sure had a great time though. Lots of work; I send my applauses to Colin and the rest of the Trust us with Your Life crew.

    Love the pictures, as always. The roses are absolutely gorgeous (my favorite color of roses!!!) Hope your chiropractor appointment helped and you'll be able to get some much-deserved sleep tonight :]

  17. Hi guys, Yeah sleep is an issue but fun and exploration is NOT!


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