I hereby place before you my scintillating memoirs entitled “Papa Bouilloire Goes to Oxford”, being a true and authentic account of the fascinating adventures of that renowned educator, Mr TJ Paris and his adventures in London and that most august centre of learning, Oxford University.
Several small vibrations in the aircraft on the flight from Australia had naturally caused me the greatest alarm, but after downing 4 mini-bottles of Gordon’s Gin (skilfully procured from 2 separate hostesses) I escaped a nervous breakdown and after an uneventful flight of interminable length, we arrived safely in London. A well-appointed coach absorbed the students and their luggage and drove us to our “remote corner of Bayswater”, into which is set that jewel of late Victorian architecture, “The Pembridge Palace Hotel”. The students were quickly installed in several basement “rooms” where the hotel had managed to squeeze four beds into what must have originally been an old linen chute or possibly a coal scuttle.
My own room consisted of a peculiar combination of stairs, a minute bathroom and a closet, into which was insinuated a double bed, a chair and a malfunctioning television set. The bathroom basin was exactly the shape and size of a quarter of a small sponge cake, and upon turning on the tap to wash my travel-worn hands, a great cascade of water gushed forth over the basin, saturating my trousers in a most unfortunate manner.
Being close to 10.00pm we fed the students on a sumptuous repast of kebabs and retired for the evening to the dulcet tones of someone being sick in the gutter outside.
As we have had the most glorious weather for the last two days I now know that all the nonsense about English summers being wet to be but a ruse, perpetrated by the British to dissuade foreigners from coming to London.
After a redemptive breakfast we set out on our first foray into the London streets, a quick trip on the tube ejecting us into the heart of the city with Big Ben obligingly hailing our arrival. Determined to make the most of the day, we frog marched the students to Downing street and Trafalgar Square and then to Westminster Abbey where a charming guide whisked us through that extraordinary edifice.
Although my heart belongs to St Malo (and Paris) I am now prepared to admit London has some beauties.
“OMG!” as the good Dr D would say! The Abbey was phenomenal, and we did but glimpse at the wonders therein before we were rushed off to Buckingham palace to see the changing of the guard. We gazed with wonder at the very balcony upon which the royal family was wont to appear (but didn’t) and thereafter took in Kensington palace and some other royal residences that I fail to recall.
Narrowly avoiding being subsumed in the Gay Pride parade, we dashed away down Piccadilly, not stopping until we reached Harrods. The students happily bought discounted garments at exorbitant prices and I personally managed to procure 2 pairs of heavily reduced socks for 6 pounds 50p (a prodigious bargain) and 2 small slices of cheese.
With our bulging Harrods bags proclaiming our excess, we ignored the pathetic suggestions that London was too vast to walk about and returned on foot to the hotel, sunburnt, dehydrated and crippled after strolling the length Hyde Park. Another Belshazzar’s feast at a local “All you can eat” Chinese restaurant ended this perfect day.
Millenium Bridge photo in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry
If you would like to read more installments of Papa Bouilloire’s adventures they can be found below. A new installment comes out each Friday!
Papa Bouilloire Goes to Oxford – Chapter 2
Papa Bouilloire Goes to Oxford – Chapter 3
Papa Bouilloire Goes to Oxford – Chapter 3 continued
Papa Bouilloire Goes to Oxford – Chapter 4
Papa Bouilloire Goes to Oxford – Chapter 4 continued
Photo also included in Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #11