Wednesday, December 04, 2019

MENU's UK Adventure 20. Visiting around London and home to Cape Town

Most of the last week of our trip was spent in and around London, with interludes at the SA owned estates in Sussex. It still feels like home to Lynne, who was born there. Her family emigrated to South Africa in 1948, but she returned and lived there for 27 years from 1967 to 1993. It has changed a lot; so many new buildings and other developments. We apologise to all the friends we didn't manage to see; our time in London was far too short

The tubes have space to stand in them! Well they do on the District Line. Lynne still remembered all the routes,
where the entrances and exits were, where to change and where to stand. 27 years of commuting will do that to you
We had Oyster cards, thanks to Angela, and were headed to East Finchley to have lunch with David Hill,
who was Lynne's boss at Heinemann Educational and then at Sage Publications
The Northern line tube trains are still fairly cramped!
David's house
We had a great lunch, cooked by David, and we caught up with him and with Caroline Lane,
another Heinemann and Sage colleague. Lynne hadn't seen them for 14 years. Caroline brought dessert
and we took a good bottle of South African wine, Bosman Adama 2017, which we found in Spar
It went very well with David's excellent quiche
Going home was in rush hour and it became very crowded
We also made a special trip by car to see Lynne's father's cousin Peggy, who has now moved to a home in Hornchurch, Essex
She is 94 and not enjoying it one bit! She told us that she is not allowed to sit with another "inmate", as they plot their escape
if they are together. Sadly, she can no longer manage on her own at home but she is still feisty, if stone deaf
A dinner at Angela's with her sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Ian. They have both been British Ambassadors
and Carol is now Chair of an important EC committee. Not a comfortable or secure job with Brexit looming. If it happens....
Another fantastic meal cooked by Angela and much enjoyed, with good company and good wine
Affectionate sisters who don’t see enough of each other!
These were some of the great wines we drank while we stayed with Angela, four of them South African, sourced by us from various English supermarkets. We did our level best to promote SA wine abroad, but the variety is somewhat limited; the prices of good wines from South Africa are so cheap that consumers can’t believe that anything at that price can be much good - which is why too many people don’t look at them. The Bruce Jack Shiraz was £5 (R92), the Stellenrust Chenin £6 (R111) and the two Bellingham Bernard series £12. However, we believe that we have converted several people with the bottles we bought
It was a really great evening with lots of stimulating conversation, much of it about Brexit
From our Wimbledon attic suite, we had very good views of the London skyline
Here you can just spot the chimneys of Battersea Power station which is undergoing a huge development
We could also just see the Gherkin, the Shard and Canary Wharf on a clear day
Another skyscraper going up, you can tell by the height of the cranes that it is going to be a tall building
Then a walk in Richmond Park... 
... with one of Lynne’s best friends, Kate, whom she misses very much. We had a lovely long talk,
catching up over tea and scones in Pembroke Lodge, which is a magnificent listed Georgian mansion
We watched the crows pinching leftovers from tables
Then we went for a lovely long walk in the park. Spotted these huge mushrooms on the way
The crows act like our tick birds, cleaning up the pests on the fallow deer, which roam all over the Park
This buck was quite hard to see in the dappled shade under a huge oak
And then, suddenly, five wonderful weeks in the UK were over and it was time to head home
Angela, very kindly, drove us to Gatwick airport, an easy hour’s drive from Wimbledon, so it's very accessible
Watching our Emirates A380 arrive at its docking station
And who should we meet at Dubai airport, also flying on our plane,
but an ebullient Malu Lambert, who had been to London to collect her prestigious award
the Champagne Louis Roederer & Montblanc Emerging Wine Writer of the Year Award
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