Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

So what if you are over 70. If you can still see and walk, the countries you’ve always wanted to visit are still there.

Decades ago when I was in my early twenties, my husband and very young daughter moved to the, London UK.  We found a furnished flat, no heat without dropping a shilling or two into a meter but we were young and stayed warm with layers. 

London

Our flat was in the then rough Bayswater area, somewhat edgy at that time. 

But that area had enclaves with some snobbish home owners on the occasional ritzy squares.  

I should have saved the note left  on our car by one of the snooty  residents.  At that time, they resented foreigners and our car happened to be a Peugeot. The English still don’t like the French. It read…’Remove you foreign car from the front of our home.’

Now, of course, it’s quite chic to live in Bayswater and prices have soared to millions of pound sterling, Many owners are named in the Forbes 500 list or from Arab oil-rich countries or worst of all, the Russian oligarchs.  

In only that year and my horizons of the world suddenly widened. This was the start of a career that involved over 25 years of writing fashion for a national newspaper, 2 columns a week and the travel, visiting and writing about a hundred countries.

London

It’s still an eye opener when I return to London,  a play-pen on steroids – and unfortunately when we lived in London, I couldn’t get my husband to make the move permentant. 

My daughter, moved ‘over  the pond’  and she knows London very well so I am getting acquainted with a new London.

And as Samuel Johnson said.”When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. For there is in London all that life has to offer. ”  That said, I should also add a more current truism  by Paul Theroux .,”A person who is tired of life in London, it might be that he just can’t find a parking place”. 

Even now in entering my mid seventies, I can’t get enough of travel.  It’s just in my blood, I guess and I’m still loving it.

Recently, having slept for a few hours as we flew over the Atlantic Ocean, no dinner thank you, I freshened up, and ready for my daughter’s always full and most interesting itinerary. 

The first offering of my new discoveries, has been around for decades. 

Pertersham Nurseries (with another in Covet Gardens), is in Richmond, Surrey and takes about a hour by car  (traffic included), all worth the time. 

Down a long narrow cobblestone lane, are acres of trees and blossoming delicate cherry blossom trees and flowers which seem to hide a huge green house. This was at the end of March. 

The Goring Hotel atrium

Inside,  there is, of course, a floral shop, then a very splendid, pricey, exquisite gift shop and by the bright atrium where the restaurant is cleverly placed. It seems only locals know about this very fine eatery and naturally  reservations are a must as is ‘sharing’ the very ample dishes.

I have known about the wildly expensive, mid London, very elegant, family owned, The Goring Hotel.

Stunning with great period furniture and where the Queen is said to have taken over the entire hotel for her guests for Prince William and Kate’s wedding.  It is ever so chic. The other dining areas are in the older part of the hotel, filled to the rafters with young trendy, obviously well off 30 to 40 ish foodies, wearing designer labels  (didn’t see a pair of jeans). My daughter’s friend, Marigold, a well know woman married to a most noted author, obviously had been there often since her suggestions for lunch were wonderful. And also in the bright Hatrium, were a few familiar TV faces.

Dining with friends
Dessert at The Goring

Private clubs were once extremely important for contacts in business.  Now, with all the restaurants, these clubs have lost their cache. But  it is amazing that The Hurlingham Club  still exists and it was a hub of busy, old and young, having a great time.  The gaggle of groups wearing tennis skirts, t shirts and some in sequins, seemed to be thriving at the many activities that this club has.  From tennis to eating, I was most surprised to have one of the best meals of my stay.

However, much as I love plays, don’t ever invite or get tickets for me at The Bridge.

Theatre.  It’s miles out of the way, on the Thames, beautiful sight, but cars can’t get to the theatre’s front door doors.  I have difficulty with a healing broken leg so it was quite an imposition.  Plus the few plays I’ve seen there are sophomoric and histrionic.   Anyway, I may admit that perhaps I have missed some great productions there but unfortunately, even with the likes of a favourite actor, Ralph Fiennes, I  couldn’t ever see myself going again.  The end results were always the same-hailin a taxi.  Either get the wonderful Black cab app or an Uber. Other wise, you may be standing at a corner waiting for over ½ hour, or more, as we did since taxis don’t often come that far out after the theatre.  They are in the district where all other theatres are.

The Petersham bar

Now  on your own, slightly older than most of the young, enthusiastic tourists, here are some suggestions.

  1. If you’re not familiar with the tube, you may get lost or disoriented.  Instead of buying that great pair of shoes or cashmere pullover, use that money for taxi fare. It’s safer, easier, since the Black cab drivers are trained for two years and know the littlest lane or am equally small mews while the Uber, even using Waze, took me to Bedford Lane instead of the large Bedford Street. He had been driving, he said, for 7 years yet he hadn’t a clue and kept going in circles.  Probably more like seven days.
  2. Always polite, you could stop a local and ask directions.  But know the address of your destination.
  3. I always suggest no eye contact, wear dark glasses and don’t forget your wedding band even though you aren’t married. Small talk is fine but never ever tell anyone you’ve just met where you are staying.

  – My nightmare. A broken leg while on assignment for a  magazine. The, MD site was too tired to see me.  The General Manager had just returned from vacation and was also too tired to visit. Days later while the swelling and pain worsened, I was flown to a fine hospital in Nassau but happily, they couldn’t operate since leg was too smashed.  And to continue, I had to wait in an hotel  room since I was an out patient. Then there were no direct flights home for another five days and with the ancient plaster cast, there was not question of a plane change any other plane. As it happened, this well known hotel didn’t have room service .  How was I to know?  The nicest, kindness housekeeper would get my meals and bring them to my room.  But I have learned to travel alone under any circumstances and make it as enjoyable  as possible.  Home , at last. After a 3 ½ hour operation I had to keep my leg up and forever will have limp.