Day 34. Llangollen to London

The Navigator – Navigating on a train, she knows exactly where it’s going!

Before we leave Wales thus morning I’ll give you a few reflections.

Thoughts on Southern England;

1. Accents are very clipped, very posh

2. Driving is ok, less narrow roads than Wales but drivers more aggressive.

3. People friendly but not as friendly as Wales

4. The scenery is pretty, very organised farms, neat hedgerows, a few tractors on the roads. The Cotswalds are so pretty, we could have spent more time in this area. We saw a documentary with now King Charles and Pam Eyre’s the poet at one of his houses Highgrove House which we missed. Could spend more time in this area.

Thoughts on Wales;

1. Drivers very patient, courteous, despite the odd Pembrokeshire wave and scary skinny roads that can cause a little stress. But, try and be clear where you are going, opportunities to turn around are often very limited. A clear Navigator or navigation tool is essential. Oh nearly forgot, everything here is miles per hour, not km per hour

2. Welsh people are very friendly, easy going and helpfully. We found it this way North and South

3. Wales is more beautiful than I imagined. I had a picture in my mind of smoke filled valleys, and crumbling villages, poor depressed people, however, it’s a diverse landscape, stone buildings, history from Roman times to the Norman invasion of 1066 to WWII history, farming country, grazing country, wild mountains devoid of trees, mountains and valleys with forests, wild streams and waterfalls, and a positive outlook and people proud of their country. I was more than impressed.

4. So much activity options here, outdoor adventure stuff, climbing, hiking, white water canoeing, cycling, motor cycling, trains, canal boats that can go all the way to London in about 6 days.

5. It’s all so close compared to what we are used to. From Chester to London on the express ways is about 4 1/2 hours drive, we chose to pay for a no return car hire and take the train. The Mercedes 200E station wagon has been brilliant but I’m done with driving and glad to be back on a train.

6. There are lots of tractors on the roads, even in close to the city centre of Chester.

7. Dogs. Almost everyone has a dog🐕 in Southern England and Wales. They take them into shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, anywhere they can. Now I’m mostly Ok with dogs, but they are dogs, not children, and mostly we don’t let our children piss on every corner wall, potplant or post they see. Almost every corner of a building, a fence, or post has a little straw coloured puddle trickling down the footpath, although they do mostly pick up the solids I know they can’t do anything about the piddle, but that doesn’t make me feel happy about it. Just a comment after something I heard on a tv show, I noticea lot of the owners look like their dog’s, or vice versa, at least thats what I think, could be wrong. Ok, I’ve had my say.

Now to today’s travel. Early rise, for me anyway. Fuel up in Llangollen, the tyre hose is out of order so we can’t top the two drivers side tyres up that are showing a bit down on the sensor. The drive to Chester is good until we hit a traffic jam about 8 miles out then it’s slow into town and Europcar at Chester. The car is handed over, no problems that we are aware of, they organise a taxi for us to get to the Chester train station.

Todays Travel by car and train

We are on a 10:55 from Chester to Crewe where we change on a fast train with allocated seats to London’s Euston Station. Then we are getting a taxi ( too hard on the Tube with our bags) to Earl’s Court where are booked into No. 1 The Mansions where we have stayed before, great location near the train station and lovely accomodation.

Six quid for our taxi ride to Chester Station and our young Bulgarian taxi driver squeezes the bags in better than we thought. A coffee, croissants and catch our breath before the small train to Crewe, it’s a diesel, fires up like a truck, not many passengers a we fang through the now English countryside to our next stop.

Dairy farm by the train track

11:43 train is delayed a bit but about 11:50 it comes in. It’s very full, our seats are scattered, it’s hard to get our bags located, spaces are full but we manage. The Navigator has a red shopping bag which I foolishly volunteer to carry, as I put it up on the rack a bottle of Pepsi I didn’t know she had in there falls out onto a blokes head sitting in the seat below. How to make friends and influence people on a train!

I’m sitting in a 4 seat table, 1 young bloke and his computer probably doing ridiculous PDP’s or some other inane performance review process, he’s in a tie so clearly feels he’s important. Opposite me is a middle aged couple reading books the whole way. Noone speaks, the couple don’t even talk to each other, so f… them, I find the blues playlist on my phone, it fills the 2 hours train ride London.

We’re in London by about 1.30, Euston Station is big but we find a cab pretty quickly, he fitts us and our bags in and quietly takes off in the almost silent black cab – its electric. What a good idea!

We check in at No 1 The Mansions at Earls Court where we have a 2 bedroom apartment booked, we can’t get in until 4 so we head up to a pub up Earls Court Tube Station for a late lunch and an ale. A top up of our Tube Oyster Cards, bit of shopping at Marks Spencer for breakfast, then we move into our apartment. They say its on the 6th floor but the lift only goes to 5, conf…fusing, then it makes sense, go to the 5th floor then up a set of steps to the 6th floor. Next try to configure our phones so they open the front door and our room with the app, some get it sorted easy and sme don’t BUT we get it done. There were some people with eastern European accents at the lift when we were coming up, a bit rude and a bit ignorant, don’t know where they come from but for they should lighten up or bugger off home I reckon. Maybe its just been a long day?

Not sure what everyone else is doing tomorrow but I think I’m having an easy day, maybe the Tate Modern Gallery, maybe a look around the shops, dunno.

Cheerio from London – Pauolo


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