Saturday, 15 August 2009

The Hop on-Hop Off Tour of Richmond - courtesy of the Lovely Lynda Grimshaw...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another FABULOUS day in the Smoke.

First off - CONGRATS TO TAIT "T-BONE" ROBINSON ON THE NEW JOB. For those of you who haven't heard, T-Bone is now the Senior Manager of Program Management and Financial Engineering for a Denver software start-up. That's right...he's the man with the plan. Way to go, brother!

We popped up (well, relatively speaking) around 8:15 this morning and were out the door by 9, catching the Bakerloo line down to Embankment. There we boarded a West bound ferry for Richmond and a fun filled day at the last remaining spot we had on our list of day trips: Kew Gardens.

The cruise on the river was amazing. Dad – you’ll remember how much fun the trip to Greenwich via boat was. This was just as fabulous. We saw the old haunts of Margaret Thatcher, Mick Jagger, and others, were treated to a great history lesson on the Thames tidal variations, Battersea Park, the hidden/”lost” seven rivers of London (including the one that feeds the Serpentine in Kensington Gardens), and some of the history of Chelsea. Also, we even got to pass through a lock on the Thames! Dad – I couldn’t help but think of Sau-St. Marie (and the gal who kept pronouncing Lake Huron funny).

The cruise was great for so many reasons. First, it was a perfect day, and Jenny and I got to relax whilst drinking our coffees and eating our Ham and Brie sandwich from CafĂ© Nero (SO GOOD PEPPY CHEEKIES!!!) and seeing some amazing sites. I'm sure everyone recognizes Parliament, but the second photo is of Battersea Power Plant, mine and Jenny's favorite building in London. Second, as a sucker for history, I now know where to find the remains of Captain William Blithe. Third, it was honestly a good chance to relax and let the pressure of work (which feels as though it’s mounted slightly as of late) slide away.
But the biggest reason...I WAS ON A BOAT!!!! Check me out, lookin' like I'm Leo. If you on da shore, than you ain't me-O!!!!


Ray - I wasn't wearing my flippy floppies.

Sean - I wasn't wearing a nautical-themed pashmina afghan.

Megs - There was no dolphin.

The good news (for Kimmy) - this wasn't SeaWorld - this is a REAL AS IT GETS.

P.S. - If you are not understanding a word I'm saying right now, there are probably a few good reasons:

1. You haven't been on a conference call with me in the last 5 months.

2. You aren't trying to implement a payroll in Canada.

3. You didn't ride home with Kim Tacy in May.

4. You have better things to do with your time than listen to a RIDICULOUS SONG on YouTube.

Fun historical note: the route we sailed covered the 4.5 mile length of the Thames that hosts the annual Oxford-Cambridge boat races. This year was the 155th running (Oxford apparently won handily – sorry Carter!).

We landed in Richmond and met friend and co-worker Lynda Grimshaw (who has some wicked cool Oakley prescription sunnies, for the record) for what can best be described as the “Lynda Hop on-Hop off tour of Richmond and Kew.” So much fun!

We started with a drive through Richmond, taking in a view from Richmond hill of the river and the preserved land. Whilst we were taking in the scenery, Jerry Hall (that’s right – Sir Mic’s gal) walked in front of Lynda and hopped a cab. How cool!

After that, we drove through Richmond Park, an ENORMOUS park with great views of the city, wonderful countryside, and wait for it…wait for it…three enormous herds of deer! Yep, it used to be a king’s hunting grounds, and the deer are still around.

This park is simply beautiful – tons of places to walk, run, and bike, as well as spread your blanket and have a bottle of wine. If we ever move back to London (don’t panic mom), this would definitely be a spot we look at.

After that, we popped over to Lynda’s flat and met Barry (her fella). Then we walked over to Kew Gardens, celebrating its 250th year. But not, however, before getting an ENORMOUS meat pie and pasty. Seriously – JT’s meat pie was a solid slab of pork, and my pasty was basically a 12 ounce hamburger wrapped in buttered bread. Remind me – why am I fat again?

Kew Gardens was, simply put, fantastic. Lynda got us in FREE (so glad she had that annual pass!), and we walked around some simply breathtaking gardens. We saw the old pagoda (build in 1761, at the time it was the most authentic Chinese building in Europe – Jon Brisson – that fact is for you, much like Dublin’s Phoenix park being the largest walled park in Europe – you’re welcome for that), the Palm conservatory, some really cute fish (mom – they had a BLUE lobster – just like the one in the Seattle Aquarium), an awesome exhibition on water lillies (I know, I know…VERY manly), and a great arbor section.

Also, we saw the palace where King George III was imprisoned during his bouts with “madness.” Yep – the movie was set in that building (but not actually filmed there – it was just reopened to the public 3 years ago.

The highlight, however, was this spectacular tree walk through hazel trees (and plenty of others that I can’t remember).

What I will say is that, being near Heathrow, planes fly overhead EVERY FIVE MINUTES. It is shocking how busy that place really is. That being said, the place is a very nice sanctuary.
It should be noted that Jenny was blown away by the vegetable garden display - seeing all the peppers, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes fascinated her. Yes, my Tennessee family, despite this, I'm happy to report that she's still "a good 'ole gal."

We left the gardens around 6 and took the district and bakerloo lines back. Now, we’re finally back at home, looking forward to a veggie dinner and an AFD.

As I prepare to post, my perfect pumpkin is sitting across from me right now blazing through book 3 of “Twilight”, and I’m about a quarter of the way through “The Exorcist,” which is so far WAY better than the movie (but isn’t that always the case?).

Okay – a slightly better performance tonight with the blog. That’s all the news that’s fit to print. Americans – safe travels over to the mother country – we’ll see you tomorrow. Chat then!


Sam and Jenny

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