Our first errand was to find batteries for Kristine's Camera...a futile search as it turned out., But we started off from Sloane Square with all the energy we could muster, and boarded a bus for Tottenham Court Road, near some camera shops off Oxford Street.
newest versions of the red London busses
Riding the bus is one of My Favorite Pastimes in London. Have you noticed what a long list this is? I love everything in London. The tube is usually more efficient, but the scenery is not much!
But, it was threatening rain. We all know that if you carry an umbrella, it won't be a deluge, but my umbrella was safely tucked away in the hotel. So first goal upon departing the bus at Oxford Street, was a cheap umbrella. And it worked, for the most part, We had a bit of drizzle now and then but by the time I juggled my purse, etc. and got the darn thing raised, it stopped. Hooray!
We ducked into a Primark store to check out shoes for Kristine's poor feet and for me to look for a purse of a size somewhere between a satchel so large it held everything and was so heavy I couldn't lift it -- and a petite evening bag, perfect for an evening soiree at the Palace (too bad the invitation got lost in the mail). We were both unsuccessful, for the most part, in finding what we wanted, though we had fun browsing around and trying on things. But onward for the primary purpose of the day.
In the world of camera batteries, time had marched on from the last time Kristine had updated her photographic paraphernalia. Two stores said Nyet. But at the third, a nicely-priced new camera seemed to tempt her and she went into conference mode with the clerk.
Meanwhile, I was getting anxious about getting to the British Museum, where I needed to go to the Print Study Room and access a couple of documents I wanted to photograph. So we made plans to meet up in the British Museum -- no problem finding a pal in there, right???
To make a long story short, I found my documents, got my pics, and we actually met up -- finding one another which was sort of a miracle since every single school child from France, Japan, and the U.S was in the museum that day.
Paper mosaic by Mrs. Delaney
We took a quick walkabout in the Enlightenment Gallery (click here
) about which I have written before on this blog, To see my remarks from 2012, click here
However, hunger drove us to the Museum Tavern, a pub, where we have enjoyed ourselves before. The BM itself has lots of restaurants -- and lots of noisy customers. So we hurried across the street,and eagerly related our adventures, mine with the excellent service in the print room where I found exactly what I needed and Kristine's new camera in all its glory.
The Museum Tavern, an oasis indeed
Kristine here: Picking up the story at the Museum Tavern, where we met and shared a table with an Englishman and his young son - as one does in London. We were forced, albeit gladly, to share the last table. We all ordered food - Victoria and I ordering the full English Breakfast - and three pints and then we were off, talking about America, Churchill, the Duke of Wellington, house prices, and many other things that I can no longer recall. A great time was had by all.
After lunch, we spent some time browsing at the Jarndyce Book and Print shop a few doors down and then we got a cab and rode back to the St. James's area, as Victoria and I wanted to finalize the route we'd be taking the tour group on for our Sunday St. James's Walk.
We made a few pit stops along the way, one of which was that venerable cheese shop, Paxton and Whitfield where we found Waterloo cheese! Thank goodness we had our cameras at the ready, or you'd never have believed it. Cheese.com
tells us: Waterloo cheese is a mild, semi-soft cheese made by Anne and Andy Wigmore near Riseley, Berkshire in United Kingdom. The cheese is made from unpasteurised Guernsey milk sourced from a farm near Henley. A full-fat cheese, it has a fat content of 45%. Waterloo cheese is made using washed curd method, which tempers the acidity and contributes to a soft, gentle, buttery flavour. The characteristic yellow colour is due to the presence of natural carotene. The interiors have a creamy rich pate, slightly firm and flaky centre. The affinage period is between 4 and 10 weeks. Sarah Freedman, food writer and author of 'The Real Cheese Companion' has described Waterloo cheese as, “Waterloo is luscious and creamy with the sweetness of the rich milk and undertones of herbs and grass.”
Afterwards, we stopped into the atmospheric Three Crowns pub at 19 Babmaes Street and fortified ourselves with a rum and coke.
Eventually, we toddled our way over to St. James's Square in order to nail down which house had been the former home of the Boehm's, Number 16, where Henry Percy had delivered Wellington's Waterloo Dispatch and the captured French Eagles to the Prince Regent. Number 16, it turned out, is today part of the East India Club.
Victoria stood on the sidewalk and gazed up at the building. The East India Club
. I thought of feats of derring do and exotic locales and the large piece of British military history that now loomed before us. Here's what the East India Club website
has to say:
Waterloo 200 The original house in which the club was founded was noted for being the location where Wellington's dispatch from waterloo was presented to the Prince Regent. In honour of this unique connection the club is pleased to be a founder member of Wateroo 200. further details can be found by visiting www.waterloo200.org
"Let's go in," Victoria said, ever the risk taker.
"We can't!" I cried.
"Why ever not?" Victoria challenged.
"Er, because we're not men, we don't have waxed mustachios or pith helmets, or spiffy red uniforms and - most importantly - we're not members."
Victoria gave me a withering glance, "Since when has that
ever stopped us?"
She had a point, and so we climbed the stairs, pushed the doors open and walked into the oak paneled lobby. Surprisingly, once we'd explained the reasons for our desire to see the inside of the Club, the man on duty was only too happy to answer our questions. Unfortunately, the room in which the Despatch was actually delivered - the current Club library - was undergoing renovations and thus was off limits. However, our host pointed out a book about the Club's history and suggested that we sit on the leather couches and take our time looking through it.
After a while I began to wonder how the Club was still in existence.
"How is the Club still in existence?" I asked Victoria.
"The East India Company is long gone, right? It was the members of that Company and those affiliated with it who were members of the original Club. If there's no long an East India Company, where do they find members?"
It turns out that we found the answer a few pages on in the book:
All applications must be from gentlemen 18 years of age or older and must be presented on the official application form available from the Membership Secretary's office or by downloading it here
The categories of membership are Town, Country and Overseas, and the rates vary according to category and age. Town membership applies to gentlemen who either have a residence or a place of business within a 50-mile radius of the clubhouse. In accordance with its constitution, membership of the East India is available only to gentlemen.