Wednesday, September 7th–my last day in London

Waiting on the computer repair shop; over to the London Eye, the Dungeon and the SeaLife Aquarium with a small spot of bother at the Eye; back home by Tube; a last trip to Sainsbury's; not being able to meet with my podcaster friend due to the long wait to pick up my laptop

Best Western Cromwell



I woke up early enough to shower before taking one last load of dirty clothes downstairs by 8 AM to have them cleaned before I packed to leave for Paris tomorrow. Because I needed to hear from the PC repair shop before I decided what I was going to do today, including whether I was going to try and get together with my London podcaster friend Alan and they didn't open until a bit later I came back up here to stretch out for a while and maybe doze off again.

I called a little before 10 AM and tried to get a firm estimate as to when my laptop would be ready for me to pick up. The guy I talked to in the head office wasn't sure but assured me they'd have it ready by this evening. Apparently it had a virus or had been hacked so they had to copy all the contents of my hard drive onto one of their servers, reinstall the newest version of Windows on my laptop, and then copy all of my stuff back onto my laptop–and as they kept telling me, I do have a whole hell of a lot of stuff on my laptop–thousands and thousands of files, including pictures, documents, html files, and iTunes music files.

Alan called while I was still here and I explained the situation and said that although I really wanted to meet again the only person I actually know here in London, and one of the only two podcasters I listen to whom I've actually met, my laptop could be ready any time between then and 7 PM and I wouldn't know until possibly shortly before then.

I called again around 11:30 and got the same answer. I sent Alan a message letting him know that the situation in regards to my computer was basically still unchanged and I'd let him just get on with his own plans for the day.

I decided I'd head on over across the Thames and use the tickets for the London Eye, the Dungeon and the SeaLife Aquarium which I had bought when I went to Madame Tussaud's. The only unpleasantness came at the Eye because I had put my small Gerber pocket knife back into my pocket after I had been to the Museum of London. Unlike at the M of L, where I was told to come back without it, they actually confiscated my knife. They wouldn't give it back to me and let me leave with it, since it was supposedly an illegal knife. The guard told me he needed some information from me for some forms he had to fill out. He didn't ask to see any ID and I asked him what was to prevent me from just making shit up. He said he didn't care if I gave him false information but he just needed to write down whatever I told him so I said my name was Donald Duck and I gave him the address from when we lived back in Highland Park. He had me sign the form in two places, still not asking for ID, so I signed it Donald Duck both times.

The weather today was amazing, with a high up in the 80s F and was quite good for the view from the Eye. There were only seven or eight of us in our cabin, all nicely behaved adults and no kids. It was a very pleasant ride. For most of the half an hour ride I could see a protest group moving slowly across the Westminster Bridge holding most of the traffic up.

I next went through the London Dungeon. I knew pretty well what to expect from having been to the one in Edinburgh and it was very similar using London's history and historical characters instead. Not bad and worth doing.

I then had a cheeseburger in the restaurant/café there in the County Hall building before I went on to my last stop for the day before returning here to my hotel, the SeaLife London Aquarium. I thought this was also very well done and rather enjoyed it. As usual I didn't spend anywhere near the same amount of time other people did at their favorite tanks of marine life, I just looked around as I was wandering through enjoying myself. As a whole it is very well done. One of the most popular places was when the penguins were coming up out of the water to visit their humans. And I actually went past an exhibit that had been cleared out so that a guy could propose to his girlfriend as I was wandering past–she said "Yes", and I congratulated her again when I saw her later on my way out.

I walked back across the Westminster Bridge which had returned to normal some time before and took the Tube back here. It was now around 4 PM and I still hadn't heard from the PC repair shop so I called again. I was told it would be ready before 7. I stressed again I really needed it back today.

I was running out of lined notebook paper and I remembered that last time the only place I had been able to find it was at the Sainsbury's down the street so I went over and got some–and once again it's not loose leaf but it a binder with one gummed edge, but it will work. I also stopped at the Boots across the street for a couple of other items I was also running out of.

I still hadn't heard anything so I called the PC repair shop again, or actually their head office as I found out. The guy I talked to said it would be ready but not to get to the Chelsea shop until just before 7 PM, and my laundry had come back while I had gone to Sainsbury's & Boots so I packed most of my stuff then and have only a little to pack in the morning.

I then took a cab on over to the Chelsea store and got there a bit before 6:30 PM. My laptop still wasn't quite ready and the guy sort of suggested I not wait around so I walked up the street a few blocks and back down but not many places in the area were still open except for a couple of restaurants so I went back and read one of my Kindle books on my new Samsung smart phone.

I have to say the guy working then wasn't very good with the customers he had there, both of whom were slightly older ladies who were paying to use the store's computers and were at least a little confused about things. He got kind of mad at one of them who mistook the computer's clock showing the time for the display showing how long she had been on the computer.

I also have to say that he stayed there working on my laptop until sometime after 8 PM, long after the store had officially closed. He made sure it was working, that I could turn it on and off, and showed me where they had put all my original files back onto the laptop's hard drive. He also suggested I ignore Comcast's offered anti-virus program and subscribe to Norton on my own.

I took a cab back to Gloucester Road and went to the Italian restaurant across the street for my last dinner here in London, and had a very nice lasagna and some good calamari to start. I had time to pop into the Waitrose, which closes at 10 PM, for some lemon/lime water and some yogurt for dessert. Since I got back I've downloaded and reinstalled WordPerfect, my favorite word processor of all time which I use for all my documents, as well as Microsoft Office which I use for Outlook for email, and my favorite Web browsers Firefox and Google Chrome.

And I'm now caught up with my notes since the last time.

It's now almost 12:30 AM. The Eurostar leaves St Pancras Station at 10:40 tomorrow morning. Their Web site suggests it's not necessary to get there much above half an hour before your train leaves, so I could wait and leave between 9:30 and 10 AM but I think I'll be downstairs, checked out, and waiting for a cab not much before 9.

More from Paris tomorrow night.

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