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The London Trip - LONG POST

The Doc and I had the following email exchange yesterday:
The Doc: I just noticed, I can't find your England Report on your blog, you say you will tell people what happened but I can't find the actual info

Teru: Hmm, I should put that up, shouldn't I

The Doc: Only if you want to go into details about your booty call ;-)

Teru: Hmmm, I'm still uncertain about how much information I want to share on the web. It might get me more readers though :)

The Doc: Don't mind what you tell people, let them know how badly I was at sex, I don't care... tell them how you got ill and had to be cared for. tell them about the time I ran out of money and had to ask for NTL to put my money back into my account. you have my consent.

Anything you want. But most importantly of all you MUST tell people how much I love you, and how much I smiled and how much we kissed in public.

Oh and don't forget the meet and the reading bit.
Since he said I could tell all, so I might as well say right out that yes, we had sex (duh, it's in the email). We had sex the first day, and yes, it was his first time (and oh yes, I did feel like the Evil Temptress doing that). No, he really wasn't bad. As for the rest of the trip, commentary is as follows. Apologies to anyone who read the commentary I wrote for Postmaster. Yes, most of this is exactly the same.

It was decided that there was to be a meet up of frequent contributors to the Postmaster Discussion Forums. A date was set: July 19, 2003. What this also meant for me was my first vacation without my whole family in four years.

Turn out was small for this first meeting, but hopefully this will just be the first of many more to come.

Day One
I arrived on Friday, July 18th. The Doc was going to meet me at Heathrow (were I was being picked up by the wonderful Simon of Bibliotech, the parent company of Postmaster, my email service), but due to a horrible train incident, fortunately involving schedules, not crashes, he was still in Euston Station when I arrived.

It was about 7:50 by the time I got cleared through immigration at Heathrow and Simon was going to drop me off in Euston and then try to get to an 8:45 dentist appointment. Traffic was hell and it got to the point where he decided it would be best to drop me at a tube station so he could still make the appointment. Well, that didn't work either. By 8:30 we were still not even close to a station, so he called and canceled and drove me the rest of the way to Euston.

The Doc was waiting for us there with a huge backpack and a bag of more camping gear (we had planned to go camping - more on that later). He shook Simon's hand and we nervously hugged and kissed each other on the cheek. Simon bought us double espressos to keep us going until hotel check-in time and then headed to work, leaving The Doc and me to finally get acquainted in Meat Time.

We decided to drop some things off in the hotel’s luggage room first before doing anything else. In front of Euston Station, I stopped him and we really kissed for the first time. It brought smiles to both our faces, and set the tone for public make-out sessions which we would do all through London.

The Doc had forgotten the power cord for his Mac, so the first thing we needed to do after dropping off some stuff was find a place to buy one. We headed to Tottenham Court Road, were there are a lot of electronics stores, and eventually found one for the INSANE price of £80.

By this point I was tired and whiny (a reoccurring theme on this trip) and insisted that we get to an internet café so I could e-mail my family and let them know I arrived safely. Oh, and check the Postmaster forums of course. After e-mail and some food, it was finally late enough to check in to the hotel. Even though we had stopped in earlier to drop off a little bit of our crap, but The Doc was still carrying the backpack that weighed more than a 6 year-old child.

We checked in, showered and planned to get some sleep. There was, of course, the knowledge in the air that eventually we were going to see each other naked and probably have sex. Well, that moment came when I got out of the shower.

He was in bed by then, having showered first, and I took off my robe and climbed in next to him. He turned toward me (don’t worry, you can keep reading, this isn’t going to turn into a full-on description), and we kissed and cuddled. I let him set the pace and when he was ready, we did have sex. And then, we napped.

The Doc had been awake even longer than I and was still out cold when I woke up from my nap, so I went out and explored the neighborhood a bit.

Day Two - The Meet
I woke up at 8:00 and managed to get The Doc up by 8:30 so we could go down to breakfast. After we ate, we headed to Soho to look for an open wireless connection. We stopped in Soho Square Park and found a couple of networks, but they were closed. Fortunately, just a couple of blocks away on Frith Street we found Bar Italia, a not too badly priced cafe where we could access a FAST open wireless network. Had some more food here (breakfast at the hotel was only tea and toast) and called M_.

We met up with M_ in Picadilly Circus and the three of us made our way to The Eye to find J_. J_ found us right away and led us back across the river to a pub he claimed was the cheapest in London. I certainly didn’t find any cheaper during the trip, and it was cozy to boot. AND had Samuel Smith bitter on draft for under £2. We had two rounds there and then made our way out to St. James Park.

It was a beautiful day and plenty of people were enjoying the park. We planted ourselves in the shade of a gnarled tree. The Doc set up the laptop for music while M_ twisted up. The music was good and the conversation mellow. Eventually we left and J_ led us to Covent Garden where he took his leave and went off to fulfill the rest of his social calendar for the day.

The Doc, M_ and I wandered around a bit and got an OUTRAGEOUSLY priced drink in some chi chi yup-scale hole. Leaving after one, we went to this big-ass arcade building with video games, bowling, sports bar, etc. We got a more reasonably priced drink in the sports bar where I got to marvel at the beauty of rugby shorts (why are American sports uniforms so modest?). We then wandered around a bit more while I became an irritating bitch because I hate crowds and noise and was in need of some alone time. Oh, and not only was I snippy, but I started crying too (did I mention the PMS during the trip?). So we left the noise and went to Pizza Hut for some food (not nearly as disgusting as the Americans are thinking, in fact it was pretty good), then found an Underground station and headed our separate ways.

When The Doc and I got back to the hotel, I was still pissing and moaning and generally grumpy. He took a bath and I sulked. Then I bathed and we both passed out on top of the covers until Simon called to check in to see if everything went well at the meet.
No sex occured.

Day Three
Sunday was to be the first of my Tourist Days. I made a list of free or dirt cheap things to see (along with page numbers in the guide book so we could find them) and after breakfast we started out.

Stop the First was the National Gallery. Okay, so Stop the First was supposed to be the Theatre Museum, but I got us lost and we ended up at the National Gallery. I was very disappointed to find that you could not take picture in the NG as they had some very nice internal space and ceiling paintings. This sort of stuff really interests me, so much so that on my only trip to the Louvre I actually decided to lie down in the middle of a gallery to get a shot of the ceiling.

After going through enough of the NG to enjoy it but not be sick of it, we went to lunch at the Operah Room at The Chandros. There we decided that the Tate Britain would be next. I would have liked to go to the Tate Modern (and will next time), but The Doc has a thing against anything after the 19th century. Fortunately for me, there was one gallery in the front showing modern, which is where we parted ways for a bit (Doc, how could you NOT go in and see a Mondrian up close?)

We didn't meet up again until after I'd seen ALL of the Turners (my favorites being the Finished or Unfinished? Gallery) There was a Sargent I really liked too, which I found odd as I've always been rather indifferent about Sargent. We saw the Aubrey Beardsley gallery too, which was a lot of fun.

Eventually we left building and sat outside the doors on a bench, where we were approached by a woman who asked The Doc if he would be an extra in a movie. No really. He waffled but gave her the info of where we were staying in case she wanted to call to see if he changed his mind. (as a side note here, no one was asking me to be in a movie, and I'm the one who wants to act!) Then we went across the street and made out on a bench overlooking the Thames (did I mention public make out sessions were a big part of this trip?). Someone driving by yelled at us to cut it out, which we eventually did and went back to the hotel.
Yes, there was sex. And slightly kinky too.

Dinner was a take-away curry brought back to the room and ate while watching a Black Adder DVD.

Day Four
This was supposed to be the second of my Tourist Days, but ended up being the first of my Sick Days. I had started to feel a little tired, with a tickle in my throat on Sunday, but Monday it went to full-blown illness with fever, swollen glands and the lot. As such, we decided to stay close to "home" and go to the British Library.

On the way there, we stopped at a café on a side street for some breakfast. This was THE cheapest meal we got in London (the tea and toast included with our hotel room doesn't count). The Doc got his sausage, bacon, beans and toast and I got eggs on toast. That and tea for two set us back a mere £5. Yes, for the both of us.

We then went to the library where you need a reader's pass to get entry to the stacks, but they have a couple of galleries open to the general public, which had the stuff I was most interested in seeing anyway.

I got to see 'Jane Eyre,' the original handwritten manuscript, three iterations of the Magna Carta, plus the papal bull denouncing it, a 4th century Greek bible, 'Finnegan's Wake' (it all makes sense when you see those insane pencil scrawls randomly across the page) and so many more things. I was in nerd heaven.

Unfortunately, I was also sick as hell and walking around the one small gallery wore me out. We went back to the hotel where I went in and out of sleep, The Doc put ice on my head to cool me down (or maybe he did that the next day, it's kind of a blur), and then he went out and brought me back some throat spray. Later in the evening, after spending about six hours in bed, we went out and picked up another curry. We started to watch a movie, but I conked out not even halfway through.

During the night I kept waking up. I was freezing, even under the blanket, but my skin was burning hot. I knew I would not be able to go camping as we had planned for the next day.
No sex this day either.

Day Five
We were supposed to check out of the hotel this day, but I woke up at 8:00, called down to reception and asked if we could stay another day. I felt like hell and there was no way I was going to move out then. When they called back and said we could stay, I went back to sleep for another two hours.

When we finally got up, we'd missed breakfast at the hotel, which was fine by me since there was no way I was going to be able to swallow toast. As it was, my throat was so swollen that half the liquid I tried to swallow ended up going up my nose.

We needed to do laundry. Or, more to the point, The Doc needed to do laundry, as I had brought enough underwear for two weeks and am the sort who will wear my pants until they stand up and walk out on their own. There was a small launderette nearby on Grey's Inn Road (our hotel was off of this and King's Cross Road) where we took our stuff (I did throw some socks and panties into the mix). We were both hungry, but all I wanted was ice cream which we got along with some kick-ass ginger beer at a little store next to the launderette.

I went across the street to an internet café for 30 minutes while The Doc watched the clothes. When the laundry was done, we both went back and logged on for an hour before going back to the hotel. Later that night, we went back to that block and got a pizza, some more ginger beer and some saffron ice cream, which really didn't taste much like saffron, perhaps because of all the sugar, and was actually quite good.
The whole day, we never went beyond Grey's Inn Road.
Still no sex.

Day Six
We finally checked out of the hotel. We got up for our last free meal of tea and toast (of which I could only eat one piece and only in tiny bites), packed up and got out. We hoofed it to King's Cross Station where we stopped in at Boot's so I could talk to the chemist about some meds. She gave me some awesome throat lozenges with an anti-inflammatory that ended up working wonders.

Stop one was Bar Italia so we could go online, check finances and look for a new place to stay. The Doc found that one of his utilities had double-dipped from his account, so we needed to hit a bank branch later to sort that out. We decided to look outside of London for lodging as the only cheap stuff we could find was around King's Cross and we'd been there, done that already. Gave The Doc the map and he chose Reading.

So after sorting things out at the bank, we hopped a train to Reading. It was a local train, making a zillion stops and took us an hour and a half to get there. But get there we did and took a cab to the hotel where we got a cozy room better decorated than the last, but with fewer facilities.

After a rest and a wash, AND SEX! I changed in to a dress, which The Doc loved and we walked into town to get some food. We stopped in at a pub ("What, you're here to visit our quaint English pubs?" "Yes") and had a really nice little meal and drinks for very little money. So while our room was not as inexpensive as King's Cross, the food was cheaper, so getting out of London worked out well.

Day Seven
We went back into London for the day (on a much faster train that didn't stop everywhere). We were to have lunch with Simon, so we made our way to Fulham where he picked us up and brought us to The Mother Ship.

Lunch was at The Ship (not The Mother Ship, just a pub named The Ship), a pub on the water with an open deck and lots of grilled food. I had a fabulous roasted veg with cous cous that was the only vegetarian item on the menu, but was really good. Nabil and Omar, co-founders of Bibliotech, joined us for drinks and wonderful conversation was had. After lunch, we went back to The Mother Ship, got a chance to poke around (oooo... servers...) and have a cuppa before Simon brought us back to the tube station.

Since it was my last day and I had not done nearly enough tourist stuff, I dragged The Doc around for a bit, stopping at Southwark Cathedral and eventually making our way to The Globe Theatre where I got all vaklempt. I grew up around theatres and just being there felt very special to me. We considered going to the show, but there were only 24 tickets left and they were probably the really crappy seats (no, I didn't check, I should have).

We had planned to meet up with Simon again for dinner, but when the time came, he had sitter issues and needed to go home and be withy the kids. So The Doc and I now had more time to ourselves. Which meant there was more time for me to cry and whine and be bitchy. Which I did. A lot . (SOB! Let's go back to the hotel! three minutes later, smiling Let's stay in London some more!)

We did get to do another attraction and wandered in to The British Museum, managing to catch a tour group at the Elgin Marbles. Really that was all we went in to see as we were tired. So we skipped out after that, wandered through Regent's Park and then made our way back to Leicester Square. We got a drink and then headed back to Reading.

I was tired and hungry and cranky by the time we got off the train, but we got some food in a kabab shop and took a taxi back to the hotel (okay, we tried to walk first but got lost).
Sex was had for the last time.

Day Eight
This was the day I headed back to the States. He woke up way too early and wanted sex, but I was just not in the mood (like most women when they’re still half asleep). We got up later and packed, checked out of the hotel and took a cab to the station where we got a bus to Heatherow.

Once at Heathrow, I got in the line to check in while he waited. This was the last time we would see each other for a while and it was difficult and awkward. He left before I even got through the line.

Going through security it hit me that I wouldn’t see him again for some time. I was angry at myself for not making love one last time and angry for being a god-awful bitch through most of the trip and probably for a host of other things too. And I knew it was going to hurt bad.

I called Simon one last time from Heathrow and logged on to a BT Blue Box to post on the forums and let folks know I was heading back.

On the plane the sadness started to settle in and several times I had to turn toward the window to keep my tears from showing.

When I got home, he had left a message on my answering machine letting me know he was home safe and asking after me. He called, we talked, we cried.

And I still miss him terribly.


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