Saturday 26 April
After a comfortable night we made our way to the hotel’s lift expecting to whizz up to the top floor and the restaurant for breakfast with a view over London. Wrong! Since our last visit, the restaurant had been re-located in the basement so we followed our noses and found it without any help from available staff, notices, information sheets in rooms etc. Well done us! Breakfast was quite good, too, though the tea, coffee and orange juice left a lot to be desired. Afterwards, Anji having looked at train times on her mobile’s app, we set off for the station and bought the necessary tickets so that we could get to Sussex and visit the southern branch of our family. For the best value, it meant using our Oyster cards for the first part of the journey and then travelling on the new tickets for the remainder of it. Our carefully chosen train times would have worked well but for the fact that we needed to check out and in again at the interim point and that made us just in time to be too late to catch the connection. We would have had a Costa coffee to while away the hour’s wait for the next one but that was far too complicated as Costa was outside of the ticket barrier so we made do with a station buffet version served in polystyrene cups. It was OK (and better than the hotel’s) but you can’t beat a Costa coffee, can you? The weather was being kind so we enjoyed our journey into the countryside and the short walk from the station to R, M & J’s house with a stop on at Tesco en route for me to buy a bottle of champagne and a couple of other goodies.
We received a warm welcome on arrival and had a lovely time chatting, catching up with news and events and admiring and fussing the two magnificent feline members of the family. I was very generously indulged in my plea for permission to take lots of photos and even J cooperated by letting me include him. M had prepared a delicious lunch so we polished that off and drank the champagne which was to celebrate Crystal Palace’s survival in the Premiership (I’d been promising myself that reward on the team’s behalf for some time, never dreaming that it would come actually happen) and R’s new job.
Our visit came to an end far too soon but Anji and I had to get back to London and let the others recover from our visit as we fully realise that we’re a bit of a force to be reckoned with when we get together! Sorry folks! All agreed that it had been an enjoyable afternoon, though. R walked us back to the station and when we arrived in London, we popped into the local supermarket to buy a few provisions to see us through the evening and the next day and then we relaxed in our room back at the hotel. Tomorrow promised to be another exciting day!