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Posts from the ‘London’ Category

History written with tears and pride

I have lived overseas for 19 years, but I was never prouder to be British than yesterday. I am a (South) London boy and the world’s best city was resplendent as the country and the world stood still to witness the first state funeral in almost everyone’s lifetime.

It was an emotional yet beautiful spectacle as the world watched every tiny detail so perfected that not even the biggest budget or best film director could recreate. The Queen meticulous to the end as every rehearsed and planned aspect was executed perfectly. Real life theatre showing history being made. It was a wonderful tribute to the most loved sovereign.

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God Save The King

There has been many days or times when I had wished I could be in London, walking its streets taking in the moment. July 7th, 2005, the opening of the Olympic Games in 2012 to name two.

I am no royalist, but today is another one of those days where I am kicking my heels at home with all the TV’s on.

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My Top Five 2021 Favourite Places

🔝5️⃣. Next up on my look back at the year that wasn’t of 2021 is My Top Five Favourite Places. Not quite as limited on exploration as the year before, nevertheless the five were relatively easy to select.

There was nowhere new, but plenty of places revisited, one in particular was long overdue. Here are my 2021 Top Five Favourite Places 🌇

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My Top Five 2021 Favourite Hotels

🔝5️⃣. Here we are back at the beginning of a fresh year, and therefore my most recent collection of annual Top Five’s.

In 2020 I stayed in just 4 hotels, but in 2021 I stayed in 19, and the counter only started in June. It was good to get back out there, but a warning for those yet to throw money at hotel stays — there are still many hospitality restrictions depending on the hotel and location, and do not expect the same level of service(s) as hotels struggle with staffing and personnel. Also, as you’d expect very little investment has being going into hotels within the past two years, so also presuppose tired and neglected properties at inflated prices as hotel owners attempt to claw back some money.

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Relief and optimism

It has been some day. I have a glass of champagne in front of me, still processing today’s news that we have finally been released from the nightmare of Roland Duchatelet. I’ve also spent some time toasting those Londoners who showed such incredible instinctive bravery today on London Bridge. Some of the videos and stories coming out of that are inconceivable.

It was a day to sit in pj’s in front of the television, which I did. Although Arsenal insisted on grabbing the football limelight after sacking manager Unai Emery, the excitement oozing through the veins of Addicks was palpable amongst family and friends and online, and I get the impression that I wasn’t the only one popping a cork this evening.

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My 2018 Top Five Favourite Places

Time then for my annual self indulgence. I’ve always been a list and top of this or worst of that sort of bloke. My daughter is the same. What’s your top five she will say after a day out or when staring at the Christmas tree baubles. Anyway I will try to plough through a few of these this month, so apologies in advance.

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Two hotels

I like hotels, you know that, and this week I stayed in two historical buildings that in last year have been tastefully converted.

In Chicago this week I stayed at the old Chicago Athletic Association (CAA). The CAA was established in 1890 just south of the Chicago River on Michigan Avenue. It’s original use was as a private club (for men I am sure) to meet for ‘athletic, business and social activities.’ Chicago based architect Henry Ives Cobb was inspired by Venetian architecture and the huge building was completed in 1893 with a sold out membership of 3,000 members.

The CAA used to host big national and international sporting events such as boxing and swimming. Many famous sports figures like swimmer and Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller used it to stay and train. The CAA remained a private membership social club for the city’s top brass, and I remember when I lived there it had a very hoity reputation. It closed in 2007.

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Chris Powell & Prostate Cancer UK

Thank you to Shadow Play for flagging in my comments that Sir Chris Powell is running the London Marathon on Sunday for the charity Prostate Cancer UK. Chris has been a long time ambassador for the charity and it is rare that he is ever seen without the charities pin on his lapel.

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My 2017 Top Five Favourite Restaurants

I got a little waylaid with these, well actually I forgot. But selfishly I wanted to post them, so close your eyes if you’re not interested in a little narcissism.

I going to post my final three 2017 Top Five’s in quick succcesion starting with Restaurants. Picking five wasn’t easy but I’ve had a crack so these were my Top Five Favourite Restaurants of 2017:

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Being thankful

The American’s are responsible for a lot of things – disposable nappies, the light bulb, mac & cheese, the computer (these are in no particular order) and of course Thanksgiving, once described by my old boss as a 4-day Sunday where all you can do is eat, drink and watch sport on TV, with no added pressure of buying anyone presents. God bless America and all that sailed in The Mayflower.

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Surrogate homes

A week back in a combination of East Sussex, Chislehurst and London Town, all now surrogate homes to me, and now I’m back to reality, if Bermuda is actually reality, with an imminent general election which the media is full off. It’s the week after next and if I can bring myself to, I’ll put a few words together on it soon.

I do a lot of travelling but generally as a rule I don’t like being away for as long as a week on my own, and I was ready to get out of dodge yesterday. As is usual I did a lot of running around, and caught up with a lot of people including old mates on Friday for 50th birthday celebrations. That was a long but funny day. 

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As the Americas Cup in Bermuda finishes and the super yachts make their way out into the Atlantic to find the next nautical shindig, I myself thought I would do a runner for a week and have headed back to the U.K. and home. I arrived back this morning and drove down to my parents in the East Sussex countryside. I’m here for a couple of relaxing days to catch up on some sleep, update myself on the family gossip and drink my Dad’s red wine. 

Tales of 34 C temperatures looked a little fabled this morning driving down the M23 in grey rainy skies. I might not have packed appropriately. 

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A taste for more

“What is your favourite city” my son asked as we both looked out of a Shard window 33 floors up (photo). A bit of loaded question that, although since I was old enough to explore London on a 36 bus from the bottom of Sandhurst Road in Catford I have always given the same answer.

My Kent-country-living son is a lot less travelled than I was when I was 16, but Saturday with no football was the ideal opportunity to open his curious eyes. Admittedly my Dad and I were never fortunate enough to be in the position to blag ourselves into a posh restaurant with no reservation and a pair of trainers and jeans on, and all the same you’d normally have found us in The Valley Club on a Saturday afternoon.
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Family guy

As expected my body forced me awake early this morning, but it was nice to be back in my own Bermuda bed after a great Christmas at home with our families.

However the imperturbable other half will tell you, my disposition driving anti-clockwise around the M25 from Heathrow to pick my son up on the day we arrived was not particularly festive. Anyway a better journey under the now toll-less Dartford Tunnel to an old mate’s house in St Albans to be met with chili and lot’s of red wine did the trick, and despite a hangover the drive to Oxfordshire on Christmas Eve via Henley had me ready for Santa.

I was on the nice list, which was a pleasant surprise, as was my daughter, which was less of a surprise, and my other half’s family were in great spirits and we had a wonderful couple of days with them before we left early on Boxing Day to drive into London to my brother’s. My parents were already in situ as was my sister in law’s family and we had another very lovely day, rare days of us all being together that should be cherished.
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Home for Christmas

We fly home to the UK tonight from Atlanta to spend Christmas with our families, which I am really excited about. Tomorrow after we land at Heathrow we have a bit of M25 navigating to do, first of all we have to nip around to Kent to pick my son up and then go back around the other way to friends in St Albans where we are going to spend tomorrow night.
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