28 December 2009

Financial haemorrhage

Dear readers, here we are in London.  We arrived here yesterday via THE EUROSTAR!  Yes, the train.  It was very exciting to board it and then to feel the thrill of forward propulsion as we whistled past acres of snow-scattered fields and chilled cattle.  I managed to squeeze in one more chocolate shop at the Eurostar terminal at Brussels (Pierre Marcolini) and also could not resist just one wee tub of Ben & Jerry's.  Needless to say, I am pondering a month of lettuce leaves and passionfruit when we get home...

London is proving to be every bit as expensive as we'd (half) expected. As soon as we arrived, we went off to buy tube tickets, only to find my 20 pound note just evaporated before my eyes!  However, our hotel is a very tidy rabbit warren of rooms (just call us Thumper and Bigwig) right opposite Gloucester Rd tube station.  SInce we had these very expensive train tickets, we decided to use them as much as possible and went off to explore Knightsbridge.  Heck!  What were we thinking?  It was the Boxing Day Sales and there were THOUSANDS of people shopping.  It was absolute mayhem.  I think we saw the entire population of Australia inside Harrods...  There seemed to be a huge number of international shoppers too as we hardly heard any English being spoken.  In fact, pretty well every person we did speak to had some kind of eastern European accent.  I was on the lookout for Russian oligarchs and Saudi princes.  We saw quite a few women dressed entirely in fur, which made me feel like tossing red paint over them...  Or throwing them a bone to chew. 

We stopped in at the Harvey Nichols' food hall for a peek at the interesting and yummy-looking things.  I found a LITTLE pot of Manuka honey for sale for 55 pounds!  I thought perhaps it had been created by virgin bees from the fjords of New Zealand's south island, but in fact it was local and the NZ Manuka honey was less than 1/5 of the price .  So, after a lot of gasping at the prices, we quickly ran away past the limousines, the Burberry store and the hand crafted cheeses and jumped back on the tube in search of good coffee.

Being a bit of a Wallace & Gromit fan, I would have loved to try one of these bread mixes but of course, all that would happen is that some Australian Customs officer would end up with a great loaf.  Shame...  Thank goodness the chocolate gets through okay - doesn't it?
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