A dear-to-my-heart friend is in London on business. Lucky lad. Memories of my one trip to London flooded my mind when I read that he was across "the Pond."
Pete and I went to London the year before he died. We went in the
wintertime, to dire warnings of how horrid the weather was sure to be.
The weather, like everything else that week, was splendid. The weather was so mild, roses were blooming. We only had rain one day and only for part of that day.
We did not expect much from our hotel. What could we expect for a
$399.99 package that included airfare, theater tickets, a rental car and breakfasts? That was dirt cheap, even for the early '70s. Given our choice of deluxe, "American" or English-style, we opted for the latter. We both figured "English-style" meant the bathroom was down the hall, but we couldn't afford the surcharge for the deluxe and we were not about to travel all that distance only to stay at an "American" anything.
How wrong we were! As our taxi pulled up, on the right was the clean modern lines and glistening, towering height of New Scotland Yard, as it proudly proclaimed; to the left was the courtyard leading to the gracious warm red brick building that was St. Ermin's Hotel.
We walked into the lobby and both stopped still in our tracks with amazement - it was beautiful. Gracious Edwardian architecture, comfy overstuffed chairs and couches, formal but welcoming at the same time. Light and airy, elegant without being stuffy.
We were entranced. To the left were the elevators to the rooms, to the right was the clubby Caxton Grill, which we would frequent often and which was a favorite "watering hole" for Scotland Yard officials.
We were in love. With each other, with all that we had read about London through the years, with a sense of coming home, and now with a hotel.
And with a view - the view we had as we lay in bed at night, looking up at the lights of Scotland Yard which blazed throughout the night.
So many memories stirred by the business jaunt of a friend. Lovely way to head off to bed tonight.
Love to you all as I head up the wooden hill - Mrs. Raymond Lewis