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A Day in London

After a trip to the House of Commons on Monday night (the FSB’s "Summer Reception" wherein we met with politicians from both sides of the house for informal conversation on issues close to small businesses" and meetings first thing Tuesday I found myself with a few hours to spare before today’s director’s meeting. A bunch of us are staying at the Hilton Double-Trees in Victoria right now, formerly known as the Hesperia, formerly known as the Holiday Inn – just behind Victoria station (the constant changes confuse the hell out of taxi drivers).

Ye Olde Cheshire CheeseRather than contemplate the bad weather from the hotel room, one of my colleagues and I decided to make a day of it in London. He had a visit to the National Theatre planned so we headed off to the Thames area.

First stop the science museum which I have to say was something of a damp squib – we probably missed something but all I could see for kids were a bunch of theatrical sets with embedded touch screens and for adults a mock-up of the first lunar lander, some old cars and planes and not a lot else. If I’d paid to come specifically to London for that I’d be mightily disappointed. Next stop Fleet Street – wherein we visited Ye Olde "Cheshire Cheese" pub which did a cracking fish and chips, well worth a visit.

The Prop ShopAfter taking in the Thames view including the new Shard building, we made a fleeting visit to the Tate Gallery (no comment) and then ended up at the "Prop Shop" – a makeshift bar outside the National Theatre (created out of theatre props) where very helpful staff entertained us as I made a 3d video of the place on my new Fujifilm 3D camera.

Peter Scargill at the Prop ShopFinal stop the theatre itself, we had a personal tour of the place as we checked it out as a possible venue for events before returning to our hotel briefly to recover, next stop Brick Lane for a curry with Nigel Duncan and David Miles. I have to say, great fun, the moment you arrive, there is intense competition for your business and it didn’t take Nigel long to negotiate 20% discount, free poppadums and drinks all around (and when the bill came, sure enough we got the discount etc. – extremely reasonable pricing). If you’re in London and you love Indian, definitely give Brick Lane a go and be prepared to haggle (I should point out that on a previous trip as the owners were haggling prices we took a female colleague with us and as soon as she interjected she was told impolitely that the owner was "talking to the men" – needless to say he didn’t get any business out of us and if I could remember the name of the restaurant I’d help ensure he never got ANY business full stop – but that was some time ago).

All in all a great way to fill a few hours – today I’ve a long meeting and a short presentation to do before heading back home to Northumberland for a couple of days hard graft, catching up on the many jobs that need a decent office Internet connection for. Between holiday and meetings I’ve build up an impressive backlog so I’ll be hiding away for many hours tomorrow to catch up.

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