It was very cold the day I landed at Heathrow Airport and then took the train into Victoria Station. I had been in sunny Spain, left from Mallorca, and then connected for London in Madrid. I was dressed in a red, white and blue cotton dress and clogs and had not even given a thought to the fact it might be cold in London, my destination. As I waited in line for information regarding finding suitable lodging, a kind gentleman must have noticed my chagrin in being so cold. He surprised me with a bouquet of flowers and smilingly greeted me with “Welcome to London.” I was flabbergasted, smiled back and thanked him.
The service that offered lodging advice made a call and gave me an address for a bed and breakfast in Kensington. I would have gone immediately but decided purchasing a jacket or at least a sweater should be the first order of business. As I walked with my luggage down a street from Victoria Station, I noticed a men’s clothing store and advertisement for a sale. A mannequin was dressed in a very warm looking turtleneck at just the right price. I entered the store, pointed to the sweater and asked the clerk if I could buy that sweater. I didn’t care that it was orange with a red neckline–it just looked warm. Upon purchasing it, I immediately pulled it over my head and felt warm.
Then, I bumped into a girl who had traveled with me. We decided to find a taxi together. I told her I had an address and a reservation and probably she could find a spot there too since it was so early in the morning. We arrived at a charming house of at least three floors, perhaps four. The friendly woman at the desk registered me and gave me the keys also explaining that there were two keys: one for my room and another for the bathroom. She explained that all the rooms on that floor shared a bathroom so I would need to use the second key as I used the bathroom. She asked me to sign the register. I looked over and on the big book of registered guests, lay a cocker spaniel sprawled out comfortably and asleep to the world all over the book.
“Oh,” she noted absent-mindedly, “Would you mind terribly coming back later when the dog wakes up?”
I smiled to myself. Only in London…with my suitcase, a bouquet of flowers, a warm orange sweater with red turtleneck at a small bed and breakfast would this scene take place. “Of course,” I responded.
What kind of welcomes do you remember?
btw I need to let you know I will be “leaving” for awhile during the month of June. I will post one more time, then I’m going up to see daughter #2 and help her pack up her classroom at the end of the year, get ready for baby, then going to Cincinnati for some consulting work. I’ll be back in July when our eyes, hearts and minds will be set on the 2012 Olympics. I already have London on my mind.