Tuesday, May 25, 2010

London - Victoria & Albert, and the Houses of Parliament (and Sort of Westminster Abbey)

And we're back to my vacation pictures. You've all been such a captive audience (heh heh).

We ate our dinner in this fancy-schmancy pub one night:
I worked in the service industry for over a decade, and I've never had such poor service as I did in London. Sorry to make such a sweeping generalization, but I guess I am spoiled by the service in restaurants I frequent. Things we noticed:
  • no greeting;
  • no taking a drink order right away (we have to get our priorities here!);
  • no checking in to see if our food is okay/we need another drink;
  • leaving all the dirty dishes on the table until everyone is done (ew); and
  • not up-selling (dessert? coffee? another drink?).
It was just weird. No wonder the tip is included in the service! I wouldn't have tipped otherwise! It's been so good to get home and eat out properly. Hee!

Anyway, that pub above, aside from having bad service, also had a wandering saxophone minstrel. Oooooh, boy. He played the lyric line along with a karaoke-style music track for all kinds of songs, merrily butchering them as he went. It was standard AM radio fare until...oh no, he couldn't...oh, god, I hope he does! He is! Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"! Yes, it was a bad as you can possibly imagine.

I'm glad I caught a picture of the train coming in at Paddington Station:
We headed off to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where we took hundreds of pictures! I can't believe they let you take pictures in museums! It seems so strange.
Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you to death with pictures of sculpture and objets d'art. I went to this exhibit of Grace Kelly's fashion and I wandered in the general fashion exhibit for about an hour. Mom and L did their own things.

After that, we took the tube to Harrod's:
It was okay. Lots of snooty shoppers vying for attention with hordes of tourists. I liked the Egyptian escalator.

Then we wandered over to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben:
Everything was still in security lock-down following the election:
Yikes, that's a machine gun!

We fully intended to visit Westminster Abbey, but they closed at 3:30. What's up with that?
It did have some cool gargoyles:
Wait till you see the pictures I took of the ones at Notre Dame!

This pigeon was baiting me as I sat on the curb, waiting for Mom in the gift shop (yes, of course the gift shop was still open!):
He kept zooming in for a close-up, then would take off.

And on to fashion! I got this jacket for 10 pounds (cheapy cheapy!) in Camden Market:
It's sort of an irridescent grey scrunchy nylon, with gold trim on the shoulders and silvery-gold buttons.

I bought it because I loved the collar:
Isn't that cool?

I kept the rest of the outfit fairly low-key with a high-waisted vintage pencil skirt and shiny gold top with built-in embellishments:
Inigo's blocking the shoes, but I think he approved.

The stuff:
I was pleased with the gold and grey combination.

Jacket (A--- style, I can't read the label, it's too stylized), blouse (Casual Corner), skirt (vintage, Gianfranco Ferre), shoes (Aerosoles), earrings (Plum).

10 comments:

  1. Crazycool jacket. I love seeing all the pics from your trip. It sounds like you had a blast.

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  2. Your Westminster Abbey comment reminds me of the tower scene in the Colin Farrell movie, In Bruges...

    I would find it so hard to leave that Grace Kelly exhibition. Were there many people?

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  3. Lol, when we emigrated to NZ(from UK) I remember finding it really strange (and, I must admit, a bit rude) that they would come and clear the plates of those who had finished eating, even when some of us were still part way through our meals! Still getting used to that :-)

    Love the jacket, love Camden market too!

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  4. OK, the lack of greeting, drinks order, checking in (although I absolutely *detest* being checked up on more than once) and upselling is weird - I don't think I've ever *not* had those so maybe London is a place all on its own - but the not clearing your plates thing is pretty much the custom over here.

    I'd consider it quite rude, as if I was being chivvied along, if some people's plates were removed while I was still eating. Just one of those odd little cultural differences, I guess!

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  5. I feel like I went on the trip with you ! Yay!
    I hate bad service. I left a PENNY one day as a TIP to show that the service was not even worth a quarter.
    I would have loved to see the Grace Kelly Exhibit... I can imagine all the princess dresses.
    Great jacket, you look lovely.

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  6. Thanks, Megan, I'm enjoying doing a little travelogue!

    Jen, heh, I liked that movie. The Grace Kelly exhibit had timed entries, but you could stay as long as you wanted. The clothes were lovely. It was busy the whole time.

    Kiltsnquilts, I guess it's what you're used to - I like the "dead" plate cleared away. Thanks!

    Cat, maybe it was just London, but we ate out twice a day and it was every time! You'll have to remember that little difference if you come over to Canada one day. Ha!

    Lorena, oh, I'm not done yet! I hate bad service too - it's so annoying and can really ruin a special outing. It was an amazing exhibit - I'm glad I went. Thanks!

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  7. I love the jacket!

    I hear you on the service issues. It's all what you're used to, I guess.

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  8. Your hair looks great this way - and I really like the close-up pic!

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Sheila