Aug. 3, 2017

Landing in Gatwick

Having once landed in Heathrow Airport and endured what seemed to have been a long train ride to get to the heart of London, we opted this time to land at Gatwick which is a bit closer.  We found our baggage without any delay and proceeded to grab the train and within half an hour we were at Victoria Station where we then found the "O".   We were determined not to have to pay for a Taxi!   We arrived in the pouring rain and managed to drag our baggage only a few blocks to get checked in.  Our Hotel was chosen with access in mind, and we checked in easily at The Grand at Trafalgar, a impressive marble lined foyer greeted us with a smashing looking bar in behind.   Our room, while tiny, has everything we need and on the first day we fell down for a quick snooze and then decided to look for some food.  

We skipped over a few places not wanting to just hop into the first place we saw, and then found our way to Haymarket and ventured up thataway...ending up at a burger joint that appears to be a chain over here.   Much to my surprise a mouse ran through the front entrance and across the threshold right in front of me!   I had visions of contracting the Plague... but my common sense prevailed and we went inside anyway, (much to the horror of some lovely people we met the next day and told the story to).  I am sure he simply wanted in from the rain as I imagined the overflowing gutters were not too comfortable right then.   Well, the burger that I chose and the accompanying salted caramel milkshake were some of the best I've ever tasted!   They say England is not known for its food but it was a far cry better than Busseto, Italy!   We decided to wait to have fish n chips another night ~ Aris thinks it will be better by the sea.

We were tired again after our trek to find food so we ventured quickly through Piccadilly and then back to our room for another snooze.  We are old!  

Soon after we were ready for another outing and this time, we walked toward Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.   The Abbey was closed and I only had my iphone with me so I settled for a few snaps of the exterior.  It was almost dusk so we kept walking.   I had tracked down a Census Listing from 1861 that noted my Great Grandfather's parents and siblings place of residence, (just a few years before he was born) so off we went to find Bessborough Place.  It is in an area of Westminster closer to the River and there we found some lovely old row houses.  I just loved seeing all the chimneys and of course in my head it was a Mary Poppins tune I was humming.   It was exciting indeed to imagine my ancestors living in that area, going to church, shopping in the market, going to school.  My Great Grandfather was born not long after, in 1869 on board a ship and as it rounded the Cape of Good Hope!   In the 1871 Census, the family is found in Birmingham, England and it was as a young man that Percy George Cooper White made his way to Canada and then married the lady that would bear my Grandmother, Louisa Grace Fryers.   

Louisa's mother was Hannah Hebblethwaite of Halifax, Yorkshire England, and the next few places that we search for family history in will be from her ancestral line.  

Tired once again, we collapsed in our room and there we slept for 12 hours!  What a disgrace, when I had meant to set the alarm and not miss a minute more of daylight in London!