Thursday, 3 April 2008

The Big Smoke

sunny, mild, highs 16

Wow, we're in london and it really is Spring. Was almost afraid to hope. The trees are in bloom, the daffs are up - heaven. We arrived yesterday morning - British Airways flight changed to Terminal 4 - yay. Easy flight. We changed airlines from Air Canada to BA because BA has a thing called World Traveller Plus. Basically economy class but a slight improvement. A little more leg and bum room. Not trivial on a long flight.

And - after decades of flying AC all over the world they never once upgraded us (never expected it actually) but on our very first BA flight two years ago they upgraded us to business class, which is spectacular on transatlantic flights. Lie-flat beds, individual pods. They had to practically drag us off the plane when we landed.

That didn't happen this time, but we are constantly warmed by the memory.

When we arrived at Heathrow Seamus picked us up. He's a driver we've used before. Always great to have a driver from heathrow.

We rent a flat in Knightsbridge, on Lennox Gardens. Delightful. It's a one bedroom - but unexpectedly large ande bright, and perfectly located. Michael's sister, Carol, and her husband David live just off Sloane Square, so it's an easy walk. And there's a Marks and Spencers very close. We buy all our food there, including fabulous prepared meals - all organic and healthy.

Blew the diet (not even a pretense anymore actually) by doing our traditional Afternoon Tea at Harrods the first afternoon, after a short nap. Bought groceries and bouquets of fresh tulips from street vendors. There are flower stalls all over London. Lovely.

Now it's the next morning - sun pouring in - line edits for Book 4 to read (biked over from the publisher). Will take them to a cafe on the Kings Road.

Before we left for London I had the launch of the Canadian Mystery/History website event at the Redpath Museum in Montreal. That's on the campus of McGill niverstiy and I'd never been there before. It's very impressive. Like a small version of the Natural History Museum in London - with a couple of mummies thrown in.

I was supposed to do a dramatic reading from a very old mystery written about the Redpath murders. But before the event Michael and I had lunch with the Muirheads, friends from Los Angeles. They were staying in our Mtl apartment. Over lunch I was telling them about the event and then I remembered (d'oh) that Oliver is an actor. Very accomplished. Starred in a number of movies - been on lots of sitcoms including Will and Grace, Seinfeld, Friends. So I asked if he'd help. bless him, he agreed.

So the people at the launch (of which there were way more than anyone expected) were treated to me doing the boring bits (He said, she said, ...and then he added, angrily....) and Oliver standing centre stage actually acting out the dialogue. Fantastic!

Life is good. Michael and I have had breakfast (coffee and fruit) and are heading out for a walk - then he'll read his manuscript and I'll read mine - in a city we both adore. Lucky people.

Hope this finds you well, and I'll write again tomorrow.


Elizabeth said...

I had to laugh as I read your comments about BA. Bill almost used to live at Terminal 4 during his World Bank years. BA made him a platinum member (we still have zillions of frequent flyer points) and ever since his first upgrade, BA service has become his measuring stick for everything else. I can't tell you how often I've heard, 'they wouldn't treat me that way on BA..'

Louise Penny Author said...

hi Elizabeth,

It's a rare pleasure to be treated decently by an airline these days. The bar, I'm afraid, is set pretty low. and even then AC barely manages to crawl over. At least their safety record is very good. Probably more important than food or drink.