London - July 8 2005 - a strangely subdued city presented itself as we arrived at Liverpool Street Station.
After leaving the train from Stanstead, I headed down into the Tube, more as a symbol of defiance than with any real expectation that any of the Tube lines would be running so soon after the murders of the previous day.
Extremely eerie feeling to find myself one of three people on the Tube Station forecourt where there are normally thousands of people coming and going at any given time. There was me, a London Underground employee and a poor confused individual with a stack of newspapers and no-one to sell them to.
Not to worry, back on the street and across to the bus stop to wait for the trusty 344 double decker that would take us all the way to Battersea.
All areas of the city noticeably quieter than usual, and rightly so, but signs that the city was ready to return to normal.
Battersea - Angela was waiting to let us in and Seth and Ali arrived in later from their respective workplaces.
Off to The Greyhound around the corner for dinner - food deserved three stars, service needed a couple of rockets - maybe the lack of attention from the waiters could be attributed to aftershock from the events of the day before.
Certainly hope so - the kitchen is headed up by a young Aussie, Tomislav Martinovic, and deserves a much more focused and attentive front end than we experienced. Nevertheless it was a great night out with absolutely first class food at extremely reasonable prices - not cheap by any stretch of the imagination but good value considering the quality of the courses.
Take a look at their website http://www.thegreyhoundatbattersea.co.uk/, and if you get the opportunity give them a try, but make sure to book in advance.
Saturday - leisurely breakfast and more catching up followed by a trip 'up the King's Road' for some shopping and a Cornish Pastie or two for lunch.
Saturday evening - Ali had organised tickets to the Summer Proms at Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath so off we head across London by Tube with a bottle or two of bubbles and a bite or two of nibbles gathered from the King's Road earlier.
Beautiful evening and an idyllic setting.
London Symphony Orchestra in excellent form with guest artist Hayley Westenra all the way from New Zealand - you will definitely hear more of this talented young lady as her career develops.
With a few bubbles, the evening provided a welcome rest for Trisha & Leonard after the whirlwind tour of Spain,
and Seth and Ali after the stress of the previous couple of days.
As night fell, the already fairytale setting became even more picturesque.
As seems to be 'normal' now, the evening finished with a spectacular fireworks display.
Sunday was 'gardening' - or at least 'potting' day. Off we went to the local Hardware/Nursery store and after the boys carried the plants and soil back, Trisha and Ali set to work on the balcony.
After a job well done, time for one more glass before showers and heading to the Tube at South Kensington to get to Heathrow and back to New York.
Here, after a month or so of careful plant management by Ali you can see the results.