An Idiot Abroad – My Adventures In London – Part 1

I write this post from my hotel room in London. Despite the street outside sounding like a scene from ‘The Fast And The Furious’ last night, I managed to sleep quite well. We are staying in Mayfair, which is one of the most expensive properties on a Monopoly board. It’s apparently quite posh, swanky and other words to that effect. I will take their word for this as we arrived at the hotel at 9:00pm last night and I was in bed by 9:15.

The journey from Belfast to London passed without incident. Oh, apart from the drone sighting at Heathrow which meant we were kept on the plane for an extra 30 minutes upon landing. Tempers flared and mutinous mutterings abounded as the captain and his crew valiantly attempted to keep passengers in their rows with their seatbelts on. I buried my nose in my Kindle and pined for bed.

We eventually disembarked and, after a 17 mile hike, caught the Heathrow Express to Paddington. My colleague has little experience of public transport in the capital so it was left to yours truly to navigate the route to Mayfair. This involved Phase 3 of our arduous journey – the London Underground. This entailed catching the Circle Line to Baker Street before transferring to the Jubilee Line, and continuing on to Green Park.

I worked out the route, mastered the ticket purchase machine, and even managed to get us through the barriers without being knocked over by herds of Oyster card waving commuters. After another 5 mile trot we found our platform, to be informed by a disembodied voice from above that there were delays on other lines due to there ‘being a person on the line at Sloane Square.’

The tube journey itself was a mildly disappointing experience. There were no stabbings, mass brawls or tense hostage situations involving Tom Cruise or that other bloke, what’s his face, Jason Bourne. Our transfer passed without incident and we arrived at Green Park in good time. From there, our hotel was a two minute walk away. I was home and hosed, or so I thought.

I spent the next 20 minutes travelling up and down in a Victorian era lift which resolutely refused to deposit me on the 5th floor. Other residents came and went, while I smiled and nodded at them while frantically pressing buttons like a demented lift attendant. I contemplated using the stairs but a sign sternly informed me that they were for emergency use only. In the end I stormed to reception, where the bemused concierge looked at me as if I was an utter idiot.

‘Have you used your keycard sir?’ he politely enquired, before referring me to the large sign within the lift indicating that the lift would only function if you inserted your room keycard in the equally visible slot. I mumbled an embarrassed apology and sheepishly retreated to the now perfectly functioning lift. I had triumphed over drones and one of the most complex underground systems in the world, only to fall flat on my face at the final hurdle.

I need to get up now and do battle with the aforementioned lift shaft again. Who knows when I will reach the breakfast buffet, if ever. Stay tuned for a later update on my adventures in London. Our meeting this morning is in Pall Mall. It’s the pink section on a Monopoly board. Then, it’s back to Belfast this evening. That seems like an awfully long way away at present. And who knows what adventures lie in between.

What’s been your weirdest lift/elevator experience?

Have you ever been stuck on a plane or train?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

40 thoughts on “An Idiot Abroad – My Adventures In London – Part 1

  1. Ha!!! Oh my goodness, I’ve been laughing at this (with you, not at you of course!). Priceless! Had I been in London, I’d have offered to guide you … I was going to say ‘escort’ you, but despite being in Mayfair that word does not have frightfully salubrious and wholesome undertones! Katie

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      1. Ahhh, The Ritz! So you didn’t head down to Jermyn Street and blow a few grand on silk dressing gowns and smoking jackets? I think you might look rather the dapper author dressed in those, whilst dictating your novels to a pretty little secretary… Although of course Fionnuala might have other ideas …

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  2. Ohhhhh !!!! I am so envious! I should SO love to go to London! Honestly, I am so longing for any trip anywhere that I’d go to Cleveland, OH. LOL

    I was never stuck on a plane longer than a few hours (in flight) but I was stuck at an airport … Detroit, I think it was … for a 3-hour layover because our connecting flight to California was stuck in Chicago because of fog. This wouldn’t have been a problem except my son was only 3 & had to be entertained for those VERY LONG THREE HOURS. Of course he wouldn’t nap. & of course the minute we got on the plane, he was out like a light.

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  3. The joy of London. Don’t expect shootings and stabbing, just the American Werewolf at deserted stations 😊. It’s an amazing city. Full of all kinds of everything. Have a great time.

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  4. Oy. Planes. Yes. I had a trip from hell (planes, absent planes, tarmac, missed planes, airport hotel) but I survived (back in the 1990s). Elevators??? Uh.. not sure… but a vending machine that wouldn’t work… (because I didn’t yet understand the sizing of coins and value)

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  5. What’s been your weirdest lift/elevator experience?
    When I was a Freshie is college (2008), my floormates thought it would be a brilliant idea to play sardines in the elevator. The elevator was not altogether happy. It stopped between one floor and another. The college campus’s fire department came to our rescue. That was also the same day I experienced my first encounter with claustrophobia. I failed to find the energy in me to laugh and tease and joke whilst standing so, I curled up into the fetal position, feet flat on the floor. I realize none of that sounds inherently weird…I guess the weird part of it was I had thought that us as a collective, collegiate whole would know better than to test the elevator.

    Have you ever been stuck on a plane or train?
    I have never been stuck on a plane or train, thankfully. Perhaps it may happen, perhaps it may not.

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  6. I stayed at a posh hotel in Los Angeles in October that had the same functionality on its elevators. I didn’t understand it either and felt like quite the country bumpkin as I watched someone else put their room key in the little slot and push the floor they desired. You are not alone 🙂

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  7. I don’t know how people functioned before Google Maps. Google may be taking over the world, but it got us around San Francisco in a jiff.

    …whereat I had my first ‘stuck in train’ incident and nearly missed the flight home.

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  8. Heading to Florida soon. One of your American spots if I remember correctly 😀 It’s our first visit. And I am excited. Sadly I am more nervous about this flight then any other. Even Japans 14 hours! With the partial govt shutdown here and the TSA overworked or furloughed, it’s weighing on my compulsively worrisome head.

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  9. I hope the rest of your time in London passes without too much more rigor! I don’t think I would be so brave! My weirdest experience was on a plane to Toronto. The pilot did not inform the passengers why we were circling the airport without landing – we were flying above the city for a good 30 minutes or more before he came on to tell us that the R.C.M.P. would be boarding the plane once we landed and that we were to remain in our seats. No explanation just these terse directions. You can imagine the level of stress and worry this left us all with. There was the funny moment though as I turned to take a second look at the fellow beside me only to see him turn his head to take a second look at me!!!! Well, it turned out there was a stow away – an illegal passenger/immigrant. He kept shouting he was a refugee as the Mounties led him off the plane. That was an experience I am not likely to forget. Aw, travel, always an adventure!

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