|Not Cherbourg. These are the umbrellas of Borough Market.|
Welcome to Season Five of Fourth Quarter
(Deep Announcer Voice) "Previously on Fourth Quarter:"
Cut to DK on the floor after installing the TV. Close up of DK trying to figure out how to stand up from that position.
Cut to DK walking in the woods, iPod buds in his ears, looking completely lost, tripping over a tree root.
Cut to DK standing on one leg in front of the TV, with the Wii exercise trainer saying, "You are a little unsteady. That's not good for your back."
Cut to DK hurting his finger as he attempts to repair a toaster.
Cut to DK getting his hair cut and being somewhat surprised when the barber puts the mirror behind his head and he cannot see any hair there.
Cut to DK limping badly as he drags luggage through an Italian train station as LK says, "This isn't the stop for Venice."
Close-up of LK in Greenwich saying, "We've got to start walking more and get in shape."
Close-up of LK in Kingston saying, "We've got to start walking more and get in shape."
(Deep Announcer Voice) "And now, Season Five of Fourth Quarter."
"Donald, we've got to start walking more and get in shape," LK said to me before we flew out of Hobart last weekend. I appreciate the theory. Like all older people, I have learned the benefit of walking - more stamina, better lung power, increased flexibility. And like most older people, I also have learned that the leg muscles ache more than when you were younger and they wait to have their greatest revenge when you're sound asleep - which also happens earlier than usual because you're so bloody tired from walking.
Nonetheless, as we begin another of our epic tours of the world, LK has approached this walking business with the relentless insistence of a drill sergeant. We are in London for a few days before getting on a wine immersion cruise (much more about that later).
On Day One, we needed to visit a shop to get some things we had left behind. Turns out the nearest one was 1.2 miles (almost 2 kM) away in Covent Garden. "We can walk there," she said. And she was right. London's pretty flat, the weather was cool enough to make it ideal for walking.
"You know we've got to walk more to get in shape before our tour," she added.
|Into the season at Covent Garden|
So we walked. I discovered that it is possible to raise a sweat in 50 degree weather and that even walking on flat land my legs can start aching. It was OK, though, and we forgot about all that pretty quickly when we discovered that the markets at Covent Garden were in full holiday swing. It was fun and ultimately tasty, as we couldn't resist taking some of this incredible paella they were making as we wandered by.
We had decided to grab a show at one of the nearby theatres and after wandering aimlessly, we finally bought a newspaper and checked out what was playing. We were in the mood for an oldie-but-goodie -- Phantom of the Opera -- and got excited to see that Spamalot had just re-opened the day before.
Finding a half-price ticket booth, we scored the quinella. Cheap seats to the 2:30 matinee of Phantom and cheap seats (only six rows back!) to the evening Spamalot.
"We can walk to the theatre," LK decided. Which was fine, except my left hip started aching, my right calf started cramping (the same muscle that I had torn during the Venice trip so I was a bit careful when I felt it twinging). So baby steps (or, more properly, old man steps) through Trafalgar Square to Her Majesty's Theatre for Phantom. It was fun to see it again, even if it seemed a bit like watching a movie you loved 20 years ago and finding it not quite the same as you recalled.
It was nearly 5 when Phantom ended and LK decided we had plenty of time to walk back to the hotel, now about 1 1/2 miles away. After showers we fortunately didn't have time to walk to the other theatre, so we took a taxi. Only to find out that the show started a half-hour later than the ticket stated. I could see LK fuming, thinking we could have walked and by God we should have because we need to get in shape.
Needless to say there was no option about taking a taxi back to the hotel. So after another half hour (in which we passed Big Ben for the third time that day), we got back and ordered room service. I can't say I took pleasure in the fact that LK complained that her feet hurt and that she feel asleep before room service was delivered. Well, I could say it, but if I did I would pay the price when she reads this.
Yesterday we decided to check out Borough Markets near London Bridge. Only 2 miles (3+kM) away our faithful Google map said. I assumed LK's sore feet meant we could take a taxi. She decided to wear different shoes and said we should walk, pointing out that we needed to get in shape.
The market was great, and the food in the stalls was way too tempting. In fact, it was so tempting that we decided we'd just do a nosh in our room for dinner. So we bought approximately enough pate and sausage and cheese and tapenade and hummus and fig jam and bread (sour dough and fruit) to feed the twenty people we could have invited to join us for the nosh. I believe we spent about as much as you would at a 5-star restaurant for dinner.
Anyhow, the best thing that has happened on this trip so far occurred as we were leaving. LK was proposing that we could take a slightly different 2-mile route back to the hotel and see more of the river when a fat blob of water landed on her head. And then another.
"Oooh, starting to rain," I said. "I don't think we want to get soaked this far from the hotel. Better grab a taxi."
She saw through me, of course, since she always sees through me. But she didn't argue when I flagged down a taxi.
"Looks like you're just going to beat the rain, " the driver said as we got in. He didn't realize but that comment guaranteed him a healthy tip.
|First stall - French cooks dishing up duck and foie gras|
|The healthy stuff we didn't buy|
|We were quite disappointed they didn't offer the $20 Meal Deal|