Britain Days 1 and 2 – Primark and Richmond Park

25 September

It’s 11:30 pm here in England.  I’m sitting here watching a British version of Hoarders on TLC (yes really) after a lovely afternoon being shown around the centre of Kingston-upon-Thames and how to get to the train station, etc.

We hit up Primark (super cheap Walmart-level clothing) where I found a cute tote bag that my computer fits in and also has 1) a cross-body strap and 2) closes with a zipper completely.  What is up with bag manufacturers who leave the tops open–have they never heard of pickpockets!?

And why do we not have Primark in the U.S.?  I’m loading up, people!

We also went to Boots so I could get some toiletries. Though I packed far too much crap (I should not be allowed to start packing until a week before I leave–I do much better that way), I didn’t want to drag that kind of stuff here when I can just buy it.  I will try some British brands, but for now, I stuck with my familiar Olay moisturizer to avoid breakouts.

A visit to a place called Carphone Warehouse netted me a British pay-as-you-go mobile (a prepaid cellphone in American).  I got a cute little Samsung smartphone made for the kiddies and a talk/text/data card.  My PAYG won’t work over here.  Now I can get hold of my Welsh buddy and make calls, etc.  It’s as much for safety as information and keeping in touch.

Although I’ve been here before, it was a long time ago, and I wanted to note some impressions for you.

  • The stalls in the toilets at Heathrow go almost all the way down to the floor. I LOVE this. Near total privacy; no one can nick your carry-on out from under the stall.
  • Queuing. Yes, I forgot how great at that people are over here.
  • All the lovely red buses. J  I’ll be riding them a lot, most likely; Kingston-upon-Thames is a suburb, and it’s a bit cheaper for me to go further afield than taking the tube every time.  Plus, I have to go into town on the train to even get to the tube.
  • I have my own Oyster card! Though Transport for London (TfL) is phasing these out in favor of contactless debit/credit options, there are still a lot of people who will use them.  Visitors and people who don’t have cards come to mind.
Oyster

I can go anywhere now. It’s a thing of beauty.

Photo:  Elizabeth West

  • Okay, London, I know I don’t have a chip and PIN card, but if you run my card as credit, it will work, I promise. It’s not my fault the U.S. can’t get its damn ducks in a row and upgrade.

—————

26 September

Today, my auntie and her friend and I had lunch at a lovely pub and went to Richmond Park, one of eight Royal Parks and the largest enclosed green space in London. This was on my list anyway.

If you find a place with good fish and chips, you’ve found heaven.

If you find a place with good fish and chips, you’ve found heaven.

Photo:  Elizabeth West

Richmond Park is full of deer–they have been there since before the days of Tudor kings, when the land was set aside as royal parkland/hunting areas.  Because so many people wander around the park, they’re kind of used to them, and they don’t run away when you get close to them (mostly).  They roam around freely in the park.

This is the part the tourists want to see.

This is the part the tourists want to see.

This is the part nobody tells you about. 

This is the part nobody tells you about.

Photos: Elizabeth West

There’s an ornamental park within the park called the Isabella Plantation.  Find out more at the link.  I did not know this existed, but it was absolutely one of the loveliest places I’ve ever seen.

Pond in sun Isabella Plantation

See?

Photo: Elizabeth West

On the way back, we heard what sounded like a cow bellowing.  We looked under a tree and there was a huge stag, at least 12 to 14-point, who apparently was none too happy we’d disturbed his nap.

Another stag in a meadow was wandering around, occasionally calling out and just looking cool.  We’re approaching the rutting season for these animals, so the boyz are strutting their stuff.

At King Henry’s mound, there is a maintained unobstructed view of the city.  It’s quite far, but if you look through the gap in the center, you can see the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The slit in the center is the view. You can't see it in the picture because I took this with a smartphone. You'll have to come see it for yourself.

The slit in the center is the view. You can’t see it in the picture because I took this with a smartphone. You’ll have to come see it for yourself.

Photo:  Elizabeth West

Tomorrow I go to Cardiff, Wales on the train.  My B&B has internet, so I will post when I can.  This holiday is going by much too quickly.  I’ll just have to come back.  Oh darn.  :)

4 thoughts on “Britain Days 1 and 2 – Primark and Richmond Park

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