After tearing ourselves away from the Rolls Royce dealership in Berekeley Square, we caught a cab and were soon passing the historic Coach and Horses pub. As we approached the back of the Royal Academy I noticed a long line and asked the driver what was on at the RA that had people lining up as far as the eye could see. “It’s not the RA,” he told me, “They’re all waiting to get into Abercrombie and Fitch.”
Abercrombie and Fitch!? “We’ve got them in every mall in America.”
“Well, this is the only one in London and it just might be the only one in the UK. Next time you’re coming over, you should bring boxes of their stuff with you and sell it on the street. You’d make a mint.”
Not a bad idea.
Our destination was Ye Olde Chesire Cheese in Fleet Street. You may recall from a previous post that on a past trip over, Hubby and I had twice tried to eat there and had found it closed each time. I was determined that he should see it. Why this should be, since the man could care less about British, not to say London, history I can’t say. However, as we pulled up this time, we could see that it was, indeed open. Huzza!
We went into the alley, where the entrance stands.
And through the door to the entry hall.
Directly to the right is a bar room.
I’ll tell you right now that I did not take these pictures, as when we were there it was so crowded that none of these architectural details would have been visible. Not only was it crowded, but there was no host or reception point at all. I flagged down a harried looking waitress in the front room and asked about a table and was told that it would be at least forty-five minutes before a table in her section would be free. There was no waiting list to put one’s name down upon, one should just wander from room to room and look for a free table.
Turning away from her, my mind worked furiously for a way to put this information into more positive terms before passing it on to Hubby.
“What did she say? Did you put our name down? How long is the wait?” he asked in the very next moment. Truly, I had nothing else so I reluctantly went with the truth.
“Forty five minutes, no list, we just have to walk around until we find a free table.”
“Oh, great. With this crowd?”
“Come on, we’ll go look for a table and you can see the place properly. Dr. Johnson used to come here.” Shut up, you idiot. Now is not the time for Dr. Johnson. “And Dickens. Dickens used to come here, too.”
“What? I can’t hear you with all this noise!”
“I said let’s look in this back room here.” Nothing. Not a seat in sight. “Okay, we can try downstairs.”
“Watch your head. The ceiling is really low in the stairwell. Really, watch your . . . . . . “
“Christ, I almost hit my head! Who in their right mind makes a ceiling this low?”
Not a free table in sight here either. Not a free stool at the bar. Not an employee who looked as though they gave a toss one way or another whether we stayed or not. The rooms themselves are quite small and, crowded as they were that night, they seemed to shrink as the noise level continued to rise.
“How badly do you want to eat here?” the Hubby yelled into my ear.
“It’s not so much that I’m set on the food,” I replied. “I really wanted you to see the place.”
“I’ve seen it. Can we go now?” Needless to say, we left. And started up Fleet Street back towards Piccadilly. We hadn’t walked very far before I was compelled to enter an alleyway off to our right.
“What are you doing? What’s in there?”
“Come and see. It’s Dr. Johnson’s house.”
If you’ve never been to Gough Square, where the House stands, it’s terrifically atmospheric and even more so at dusk.
I stared round at our surroundings for a few moments. “When a man is tired of London, a man is tired is life, for there is in London all that life can afford.”
“My good man.”
Back on Fleet Street, we walked a bit more and passed the Courts before the Hubby asked the question of the hour. “Where are we going to eat?”
“How hungry are you?”
“I can eat.”
“Yeah, but do you have to eat right now? Or can you wait a bit?”
“How long a bit?”
“I’m thinking we could take a cab back to Burger and Lobster.”
“My girl. I’m thinking I love you.”
So back we went to Clarges Street.
Where I showed Hubby the extensive menu. Everything comes with chips and a salad and everything is twenty pounds. Unless you want to upsize your lobster, but I’m getting ahead of myself . . . .
There were no empty tables at Burger and Lobster, either, but there were two empty seats at the bar. We bellied up, ordered cocktails and waited for our table. And waited. And ordered another round. And chatted with the barman. And drank. And waited some more. Hubby, surprisingly, was uncomplaining. It may have been the convivial atmosphere. Or the three drinks. Reader, a fine time was had by all.
We were finally shown to a table and when we both ordered the lobster, our server asked if we wanted anything larger than the standard pound and a quarter crustacean. Hubby and I both opted for two pounders.
Yes, dinner tasted as delicious as it looked. And we were each served a complimentary dessert due to our long wait. Meal over, we put our coats and scarves back on and ventured out into the brisk night and walked literally around the corner to our hotel. The perfect end to a truly perfect day. Yes, at long last, Day Two is finally over. You’ve been real troopers putting up with my wanderings thus far and I thank you for your patience.
Day Three Coming Soon . . . . . .