Wednesday, May 28, 2009
With only five days to go before I move out of this Holborn flat, the countdown has begun. I spent most of my day packing. In the morning, I made good headway with The Order of the Phoenix (still determined to finish it in the next couple of days!), then proofread my blog. I ate my cereal breakfast while watching TV and then started the arduous task of sorting through all my papers and files with the aim of getting rid of a lot of paper to reduce my moving loads.
It was while I was chatting on the phone with Llew that Robert from the real estate agency walked in with a prospective new tenant, a Chinese undergraduate student. They took a look at the place while I apologized for the mess as there are boxes in every room. However, they were out rather quickly and I was able to return to my packing.
When I was satisfied that I had done enough, I decided to eat an early lunch, then go out and enjoy the lovely day--indeed it was warmer than I can remember and I felt as if I were in Southport in the middle of summer! I grabbed a copy of my Jubilee Walk map and off I went intending to mail out the books I had packed yesterday later in the afternoon.
Because I had to return a book to the Holborn Public Library, I went past Gray's Inn today instead of taking Gray's Inn Road as I normally do. The wine pink roses are in full bloom in the gardens surrounding the sculpted figure in the first quadrangle and I couldn't resist taking pictures because with my charger back in my possession, I can now take photos again. It was when I crossed a passage at the left of the quadrangle, that I saw the spacious Gray's Inn Gardens and I realized immediately that I had seen this place before, a few years ago, when I had begun my walking tour of Legal London. I had not been able to enter the gardens then as the large wrought iron gates were locked; but today, I could enter at my leisure and spend a while sauntering through the lovely flower beds along with the large number of office-goers who were munching their sandwich lunches on the benches and the lawns. How lovely it is to know that I have these gardens only a few steps away from my home! All this time, living here on High Holborn, I did not know that these gardens existed or that they were so close to my building! Of course, I had to make the discovery just five days before I move out!!!
Once I gave my book in, I walked to Holborn Tube Station from where I began the last bit of the Jubilee Walk--Part 7. Considering that the entire walk is 14 miles long, I walked an average of 2 miles in each installment. The walk today took me into Great Queen Street past the massive Freemason's Lodge and on to Drury Lane. From there, it was just a hop across into Covent Garden where I found a food market in full swing--of course, I could not resist enjoying a few 'tasters'--there were all kinds of savory dips and oils and spreads and full scale lunches that could be had for the asking. Having eaten my lunch, however, I only had room for a few nibbles but the majority of them were delicious.
And then on I went along King Street to the Royal Opera House and the side street that leads on to St. Martin's Lane and then Charing Cross Lane. From there, it was only a few steps to the Half Price Theater Tickets Booth at Leicester Square where I had begun the Jubilee Walk a few weeks ago. Interestingly, the film at the Odeon Theater had changed--it now showed Angels and Demons. I decided to take a different route home and walked along The Strand pausing frequently to window shop before I found my way back to my building.
I have to say that I've had the best time on the Jubilee Walk. It became a mission to spot those silver disks set in the pavements and though I never did find the lone golden one that is somewhere in the East End, I was pleased that I had traversed some of London's most beloved routes and seen some of her most recognizable monuments on this quest. There is one more item can can now tick off on my List of Things to Do in London!
Disappointment at the Post Office:
Then, with the help of Arben, my concierge, who brought me a dolly, I carted my five boxes off to the Holborn Post Office in the Ryman's stationary shop in my building. The lady who informed me about Global Priority Mail for books and printed matter helped me again today but discovered, to her embarrassment, that she did not have enough labels to affix to my packages! She told me to return again tomorrow when she will ensure that she gets more labels. I returned home with my task unfinished and another item that I will have to complete tomorrow!
Back home, it was packing time again--this time all my closet items went into the largest and roomiest of my suitcases. When almost everything was finished, the doorbell rang. It was Elizabeth from the real estate agency who had called around to find out if all was going well with my move and if there was anything that required her attention. It was nice to meet her finally after the year-long correspondence we have had via email. She did not stay long--just wanted to ensure that I had no outstanding bills and wondered if I would care to give her a forwarding address.
After she left, I felt downcast again--those withdrawal symptoms manifesting themselves rather strongly. I sat down to have an early dinner and watched some TV still disappointed to know that there are a lot of things that have yet to be boxed.
Still, as Scarlett O'Hara put it, "Tomorrow is another day..."