A few days in London at Pillow Nº. 17. A different hotel than Pillow Nº. 1, but same city, same general vicinity.
Getting to Pillow 17 wasn’t as easy as it should have been. Due to weekend storms in southern England, some power lines had been knocked down and trains running from Peterborough, about an hour north of London, weren’t able to get through.
After a sleepless night, which is normal for me before a journey, I left Edinburgh Waverley at 11am last Monday. I was blissfully unaware of the damaged lines down south. We’d had a little rain over the weekend, but that’s common for Edinburgh. It was nothing that might have raised my antennae.
The train was loaded with Easter holiday-makers returning home. Every seat was taken, and people were standing in between the cars with luggage piled willy-nilly all around them.
I’d only eaten a breakfast bar before I left, thinking that I would grab a sandwich on the train for lunch. The food trolley couldn’t make it down the aisle and I didn’t fancy trying to needle my way through six cars of packed people to get to the snack bar. Instead of having lunch, I nibbled on cheese and crackers that I’d brought from the apartment.
We’d been traveling south, through Newcastle and York, heading toward London, when the train manager made the announcement. Maintenance crews were on their way to the site of damaged lines, but we would be stopped, delayed for an indefinite amount of time.
The “indefinite amount of time” turned out to be four hours, so we rolled into London at 7:30 in the evening, instead of 3:30, as scheduled. I cabbed it to the hotel, where I checked in, went to my room, and ordered room service–a club sandwich and a bottle of wine. Then, I sat down at the desk and turned on the desk lamp. There might have been a tiny popping noise before the room was plunged into total darkness.
I groped around to find my phone so that I could use its flashlight to call the front desk. Busy, busy, busy signal. I finally gave up and headed downstairs again, where I ran into the room service waiter, bringing up my order.
I explained the light problem to her and she went with me back upstairs to see if she could fix it. After jimmying around with switches and fuses, I was still in the dark. She left me there while she went to get the manager.
I’d intended to ask for a new sandwich, but with little breakfast, no lunch, and only a few nibbles on the train, I was starved. I removed the silver cover from the room service tray and dug into the then-cold sandwich. Chased by a glass of wine, it wasn’t half bad.
Sitting in the dark and holding the door open with my foot to get light from hallway, I heard noises out there, so I got up to investigate. The manager was in the hall, with a cupboard open, flicking switches and checking fuses and breakers.
After half an hour, when he still hadn’t figured out the problem, he finally decided to move me to another room. It was an upgrade, a larger room, and he comped my meal, too. I was wishing that I’d ordered the steak instead of a sandwich.
That was the end of my drama in London, unless you count seeing Guys & Dolls. Thanks to a friend, I had a front row seat and only had to crane my neck a little to watch all the hoofing. It’s my fault for being short.
I’d been looking forward to seeing Guys & Dolls, and it didn’t disappoint. For me, a good musical has to have memorable music. Seems obvious, but many don’t. I like to leave the theatre with at least one tune stuck in my head.
“Luck Be a Lady” was the big number that I’d heard of. I also recognized the venerable “A Bushel and a Peck,” but neither of those was the song that I left the theatre humming. This one, I’d never heard before. It was the chorus of “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” that gave me the ear worm, and I’ve been singing it ever since.
Catchy tune, but I’m done with boats, trains, and planes for the time being. I’m happy to have my own pillow back for now.