Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday 1 June - Arrival in London

The Air Canada flight was quite relaxed and in the absence of decent movies I managed a couple of hour's sleep. Heathrow was not busy and after picking up a sim card for my phone we took the Heathrow Express into Paddington. A HE employee was selling tickets from a portable machine at the entrance to the Baggage claim area.  Very enterprising and there was a reduction for travelling at the weekend.
Familiar sights
- Hanwell viaduct
- Acton Yard where I came close to being run over by a train.
- Old Oak Common car shops and sidings where there were two class 08 diesel shunters built in the 1950s. I once got one up to 14 mph - the maximum speed was 15 mph!
There are many signs of the work on Crossrail tunnels.
The hotel is just a couple of minutes away from the station and there was some complimentary wine for us as repeat customers.
Lunch was at the Mad Bishop and Bear pub in Paddington station. Not the best bitter I have tasted but the food was good.
Putting money on an Oyster card was as easy as it is difficult for the Ottawa Presto card. Put the card on a reader. Tell the machine how much you want to add then insert your credit card. 
After some down time we went back to Paddington to get tickets for the train tomorrow. I realized that the machine had given me day returns for today rather than for tomorrow but the booking clerk straightened things out.
Kensington Gardens were pretty busy with many quite large groups playing cricket, frisbee or kicking a ball around.  There were lots of picknicers on the grass. Some tourists were trying to feed three cygnets with the cob close by. It is always risky to come too close to swans especially when they have young. The cob was hissing onimously. We also saw some beautiful wood ducks.

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