I was saved the pain of driving all the way from the Heathow area to my home in North Shropshire this weekend by my family joining me in London. We booked into the Holiday Inn, Kings Cross (using points of course) – room for me and the Mrs and another room for the kids.
Overall, we had a good time in London. We had some decent meals and generally enjoyed the warm weather and lively atmosphere. There is a great buzz in London that few cities have that I really miss when I am away despite my country-bumpkin originals and homestead [well, it is an old farmhouse].
The hotel is crossed off our list. For a start, it is not as close to Kings Cross station as one would jump to the conclusion that it is, the pool is poor, the main restaurant has a very small and uninteresting menu (although there is an “Indian Restaurant” attached to the hotel) and, most importantly, they could not give me a room with a big bed. All week I am on my own in one of the IHG hotels and I get a huge bed. When I need such a bed to share with my wife, I end up with what felt like a standard double. Not enough room for me!
I have been travelling and working in and around London for year. Generally, I find myself pretty relaxed at finding my way around. My wife by contrast gets very worked up and panics (from my point of view) very easily. I confess that I am not as sympathetic as I should be and I am not sure why – she is so smart that I just expect her to not have a problem. I think the situation is compounded by having the kids with her: although they are now 14 and 16 and capable of sorting themselves out, it must be hard for a mother not to feel under pressure to look after them when in a strange place.
My wife had booked the hotel, so I assumed she knew where it was in relation to Kings Cross. I did – I looked it up. She had just run out of time though to plan properly. When they came down from Telford on the train into Euston, she texted me to ask how long it would take on the tube to Kings Cross. Being in bloke mode, I answered the question accurately rather than texting the suggestion that a taxi would be a better option. Oops.
When they popped out of the underground at Kings Cross, she missed passing on my first instruction (with your back to Kings Cross, main entrance: turn left, and cross over the crossing to and past MacDonalds) – rather she mentioned MacDonalds and there was more than one. When we spoke on the phone, she kept focusing on there being more than one MacDonalds and I could not care how many there were as I was only interested in the one in front of them when they turned left – we were stuck in that kind of discussion with neither of us able to back out and try things from a different angle. Instead, I asked my wife to give the phone to my youngest daughter (my eldest does not like phones much and does not try to guess what is being said when it is even slightly noisy so there was no chance she could following instructions whilst wandering down the road outside Kings Cross station). My youngest managed to follow my navigation with only a few “pardons” and disagreements about what she should be able to see and soon I was able to meet them part way surprisingly burdended with baggage. Women!