Things I Haven’t Done Before My Trip to London


Photo op: at the library

Things I Haven’t Done Before My Trip to London:

1.  I didn’t lose any weight. Go on Weight Watchers…lose five pounds…gain it back…lose five pounds…gain it back…lose five pounds…decide you can’t live on an apple at dinner, which is the only way you’ve lost five pounds…  Then cook a colossal dinner of Mollie Katzen’s macaroni with mushrooms and spinach for your thin husband, the only one in the house who has lost weight on your diet, and he informs you that you are not going to have a swimsuit photo op in London.   And so I’m back to cooking dinner again.  “Thank God for that!”  he says.

2.  I didn’t dye my hair.  I thought briefly of dyeing my hair.  Yes, I was going to be thin in London…with dyed hair.  When it came right down to it, all I could stand at the salon was having my hair trimmed.

3.  Read a lot of London bloggers so I can have contact with the London blogging community.  News flash: I read no London bloggers.  None!  How did this happen?  Fortunately all the American and English bloggers have been to London and have given me excellent advice about everything. .. especially bookstores.

Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry

4. Figure out how to go to the Oxford Literary Festival to see Sebastian Barry one day and Margaret Drabble on another day.  The festival goes on for a WE-E-E-E-KKKKK and I don’t see how I can possibly go both days. But, wait,  I just found out there is something called the Daunt Books Spring Festival right in London.  Perhaps I can buy tickets for BOTH LITERARY FESTIVALS  just in case.  CAVEAT: You’re not rich, and you’ve seen Borges, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Wolfe, Bobbie Ann Mason, Ann Beattie…for free in the U.S.

5.  I didn’t reread all of Dickens, or any Dickens.  I’m going on the Dickens tour, right?  Well, probably.  For some reason I am reading Trollope this winter.  I don’t think there’s a Trollope tour, though.  Too bad…

6.  Travel with unstained clothes.  See that lovely spring sweater (above:  photo of me at the library)?  I spilled coffee on it .  It was nice to have coffee at the library…and then it spilled and I had to rush to the restroom and apply soap on a wet paper towel.  I don’t see a stain, do you?  I caught it in time. But I may be turning into Enderby, the tea-stained hero of Anthony Burgess’s Enderby books.

AND NOW I NEED ADVICE. Where do I buy groceries, i.e., lots of vegetables in London?   Grocery stores?  Co-ops?  I know about the markets from my guide books, and I can always find Starbucks…  But it might be nice just to buy some stuff quickly at a store and make sandwiches.

8 thoughts on “Things I Haven’t Done Before My Trip to London

  1. There’s a little shopping centre north of the British Museum where Skoob Books lives, and they have a supermarket (either M&S or Waitrose – I can’t recall which) – this would be ideal for everyday groceries! Good luck!


  2. Thanks for the help. I’ll add the supermarket to my list, Karen, and will look for the egg salad sandwiches, Nancy. Sometimes it’s hard to find healthy food on vacations, especially when you’re eating out all the time.


  3. You’ll see about 700 Pret-a-Manger sandwich places in London – it really is on every corner, so if you want a quick sandwich and coffee to take-out and eat in Trafalgar Square or one of the parks, try Pret. There are lots of Marks and Spencers and Waitrose and Tesco, where you can buy basics – although the first two aren’t particularly cheap – but you’ll also come across a few greengrocers and convencience shops as you walk around. Definitely try the markets for fruit and veg! Eating out in London is good value if you stay away from the obviously touristy bits, too.


  4. Jen, I do have trouble finding places to eat healthy food when I’m on vacation. The veg restaurants sound good…

    Catherine, thank you for the wealth of information! Pret sounds great, and it really is good to know of a reliable sandwich place. I find that I get very tired of eating in restaurants on vacations, to the point that I’ll eat breakfast cereal at night. It’s a relief to know that there are so many stores. And to-go sandwiches and coffee are a dream…


  5. When are you going? Will you blog? Though I’m not sure I want to hear about the books you buy for hardly any money at all.


  6. Cynthia, I’m going later this month and I WILL blog eventually, though not sure when. Really I don’t even have room in my bag for a damned hair dryer let alone books!


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