London again…

During the planning stages of the trip, we’d decided that we’d fly from London to Edinburgh, so we planned to find a place to stay – originally at a hotel near the airport – then decided that wouldn’t be very adventurous. Sarah’s doctor had given us the name of a B&B so we decided to book it for this mid-part of the trip. We were interested to see how it might differ from our first B&B experience on Ebury Street.*

Then we looked at flights and thought about the hassle of flying vs. rail and quickly came to our senses. Unfortunately, or not, we’d already booked and were locked into the B&B, so we left Stonehenge/Salisbury on the train back to London. We told our hostess that we expected to arrive in Islington around 8pm.

10 minutes to 8…

We rang the bell. A few minutes later she appeared. Flustered. “You’re early! I didn’t expect you this early. I’m not ready.”  10 minutes early. Okay. Good start.

She was making her dinner when we showed up. But our room was ready and she graciously showed us where everything was though she wondered why we were early. The shower was down the hall.  She had 2 rooms to let and we were the only guests that evening. I would have loved to take pictures inside of the kitchen, living room, and atrium, but it just didn’t seem right. It was an absolutely charming place with lots of antiques, theatre memorabilia, including posters, artistic and eclectic collections. Our bedroom was very comfortable with a built in cabinet made for a baker or confectioner, with inlaid marble slab and drawers for spices, large doors/cabinetry for baking utensils. The shelves were filled with books. Upstairs, the kitchen was roomy and cozy at the same time. Raw pine kitchen table. Aga stove. Had a great collection of plates and saucers. It was antique heaven. We didn’t get a close look at the parlor, which had a 2 story atrium off to the back of the house. The atrium was filled with live plants. I have a few pictures of the bedroom to share:

We had a fascinating discussion over breakfast while she watched her email. She’d submitted a screenplay and anticipated word from her editor or a producer that morning! We learned she’d been a theatre designer. We talked about every possible taboo subject: politics, religion, race, sexual orientation. She was fascinated with American politics. We learned she was trying to sell a home in France. Oh…. breakfast was at 8am. Precisely. We were a couple of minutes early and had to wait while she set out the fabulous croissants from a nearby bakery and some yogurt. We declined the toast and cereal.

While we greatly enjoyed this short stop-over in London, we both realized that we could have planned better if we’d had time to think through the air vs. rail. We could have spent more time in Salisbury and then headed north to Edinburgh, stopping somewhere north of London for the night. Ah well…. there’s always next time!

We left the B&B around 9am and caught a bus to the rail station at King’s Cross. We had the rail figured out by this time and were old hats at navigating the platform rush.

Our journey north to Edinburgh had stops in Peterborough, York, Darlington, and a couple other cities. The countryside was covered with farms and, at least before we got to York, an amazing number of nuclear power plants.I’m not talking about a half dozen. I’m talking about 50 or 60, maybe more, as many as 12 in one place. Sometimes there would be 6-10 on each side of the train. Past Darlington, the landscape turned hillier though there were still plenty of flat farm fields and grazing land for sheep. It was a very relaxing 4+ hour trip.

Next: arrival in Edinburgh

*the bathroom at our Islington B&B was spacious as compared to the airplane-sized bath on Ebury Street. Both places were wonderful, close to public transportation, pubs, shopping. Excellent hosts. I’d highly recommend either one!


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