A Travellerspoint blog

England

Elevator Out of Service

Navigating the Airports


View 2015 Compo and Doc Martin on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Left turn light near BWI

Left turn light near BWI

March 15, 2015

We left for the airport about 3:15 and got to the Hampton Inn a little before 5. Bob sent me in to check in and the front desk person about gave me a heart attack saying that she didn't know if they would have space for the car. Given that in order to have guarenteed space, we will have to pay the rate of the airport parking lot across the street, I think maybe we will find another place to stay. I like the Hampton Inn as a rule, but their TV channels are from DISH and they don't have all the ones we like to watch.

But she did agree finally to let us park and pretty soon a cheerful black girl came to take us to the airport. BA doesn't have curbside check so Bob got the scooter out and I took my carryon, my pocket book and my cane and scootered in. I had reserved Club Class because I thought it would be more comfortable and also because I thought we would have better luck with the scooter which I am for the first time bringing WITHOUT the suitcase.

So we went to check in and there was the usual kerfluffle about the scooter battery and they also made Bob fold the scooter up so that they could see how big it was.
100_0811.JPGBob folding the scooter

Bob folding the scooter


Originally they were going to have the battery taken and put in the hold, but apparently they decided that they didn't need to do that and Bob could just put it in his carry on.

So Bob carried his carry on and pulled the scooter and I was in the wheelchair with my carry on and my pocketbook and we went through security where I had to take off my hat, my coat, my camera, my passport case, and my camera vest (but not my shoes) and went through security. Apparently our business class ticket allows us admission to the Chesapeake Lounge and they will come and get us when it is time to board.
Boarding pass

Boarding pass


Boarding will start in about an hour.
Bob sitting in the BWI lounge

Bob sitting in the BWI lounge


I had a (free) cup of broccoli cheese soup and Bob had a tiny chicken sandwich. He also had them fill our bottles of water. And then he got some water to take his pills and had another tiny sandwich - this one ham and cheese.
Bob's ham sandwich

Bob's ham sandwich


It got to be about 7:15 and we started getting antzy about boarding which I thought would start about 7:40. I caught the attention of the lady in charge and she said we didn't have to worry until 7:30 - then she found that it was almost 7:25 so she called for a wheelchair - which came. He wheeled us to the first class boarding aisle and we waited a bit. Then he handed us over to a second person to go down the gangway, and half way down they handed me off to another person. We got on and one of the people there took the scooter and put it in the wheelchair place. The Club (Business) section was only about half full, but I think the back was more crowded - although I think there were some stand-bys that got seats.

I was by the window facing forward and Bob was on the aisle facing backward.
Looking out the window

Looking out the window


I did not like the seats. I had no place to put anything since under the seats was solid and I could not reach the back of the seat in front of me. The controller in my seat arm would NOT come out - eventually the flight attendant pried it out with a knife. And the sound in the earphones kept going to max volume. They came around with hot washcloths and champagne, water or orange juice. Bob had the OJ - I had water.

They served us dinner -
Dinner menu

Dinner menu


Appetizer - the reddish things are grapefruit

Appetizer - the reddish things are grapefruit


Bob's salmon

Bob's salmon

My steak

My steak


They gave us a landing card to fill out but I couldn't find my passport to give them the passport number (which I don't have memorized).

I put the blanket over me and reclined and dozed. Bob slept some too. I got up about midnight (EDT) and went to the bathroom and got my pocketbook down out of the overhead and found my passport, but since it was dark, I couldn't find the passport holder which is black to put it in. Bob went to the bathroom a little later. It was quite a bumpy flight.

16 March 2015

Sunrise

Sunrise

TV screen on the plane in the morning

TV screen on the plane in the morning

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu


They gave us breakfast - fruit which was good, OJ again, and a bacon sandwich - it was very fatty English bacon.

We landed in the cloud and rain - I could hardly see the ground until we were almost down. They gave us a Fast Track pass for immigration but I don't know if it was particularly fast. I got on a wheelchair to come up to the airport lounge and then they put us on a golf cart thing, and then they waited until they collected another person (the scooter took one seat).
Airport

Airport


We got to Immigration and just sat in line waiting for some time. I started up a conversation with the man in the cart behind me who lived at Stonehenge when he was a boy. The driver of his cart had never heard of Stonehenge.
Cart behind us in the airport on the Fast track through Immigration

Cart behind us in the airport on the Fast track through Immigration


Eventually we got to the passport person who took a photo of us and then gave us back our passports and they took us down to the luggage area. They asked if we wanted a 'trolley' but Bob did not understand that this was what we call a luggage cart. So he put the battery back in the scooter from his carryon and we went and got a trolley and got our luggage. We went out through the Nothing to Declare door.

There are three ways to get to and from the airport on the ground
1) National Express Bus which costs $8 per person
2) Train: Train options include
- Heathrow Express £21.50 per person (£43.00 for two)
- Heathrow Connect £10.10 per person to Paddington
- London Underground's Piccadilly Line. £5.70 per person
3) Motor Vehicle (Which would mean a rental car, a minicab or taxi.)
I did not want to rent a car right after an eight hour flight and were jet lagged when we would be driving on the left. Taxi is the most expensive.

The bus or the Underground would be the cheapest. But I felt that getting to, into and out of a train with a scooter and luggage would be too difficult, so I asked our hotel to book a minicab for us, and this worked well. It cost us £59 for the two of us, a scooter and four pieces of luggage. The Heathrow Express would have been £43.00 and would have been more hassle.

When we exited through the "nothing to declare" door, there were what looked like thousands of men holding cards with people's names on them. But I found our driver quite quickly, and we got loaded into his van.
Heathrow garrage

Heathrow garrage


I sat up front and talked to the driver as we drove to London and took photos.
Private Hire

Private Hire

Billboard

Billboard


He explained that Black Cabs are no longer always black. Sometimes they are painted colorfully with advertisements We talked about his children,
No longer Black Taxicab

No longer Black Taxicab


speed cameras, how many trips he would have a day, and a myriad of subjects
Speed camera

Speed camera


It took us about 90 minutes to drive in to the hotel - the rain was letting up.

I booked this hotel (which at that time was the Best Western Shaftesbury Paddington Court) because on Virtual Tourist it was close to the location of Paddington and I thought I could go easily from the hotel to visit Hyde Park. The part of VT that led me to make a wrong hotel reservation was the VT placement of the marker for Paddington which was between Hyde Park Gate and Kensington Gate. After I booked the hotel based on VT's Paddington location found out that there were hotels that were much closer to the station. There was even one (the Hilton London Paddington hotel) which is linked to Paddington Station by footbridge. I had wanted to go to Hyde Park to see the dog cemetery which I thought I could see through the fence. But the hotel was too far away from Hyde Park for it to be an easy visit.

The hotel was close to Paddington Station and it had free wi-fi and I booked it because there was an elevator and I thought I could get to my room without doing steps. I specifically asked for a room where I didn't have to do steps. The scooter is very good, but it does not do steps

We got to the hotel and there was a step up to the entrance. Bob has to lift the scooter up steps
Paddington Hotel entrance with ONE STEP

Paddington Hotel entrance with ONE STEP


I registered and paid I declined the £11 each breakfast.

Then they said that their elevator was out of service so they had put us across the street where we could be on the ground floor. They did not seem to notice that to get there we had to go down a step to get out of the hotel, then down the curb, cross the street, up the curb on the other side (I guess we could have gone up to the corner and crossed there and that would eliminate the curbs, but we were too tired to think of that), and then up two steps to the hotel entrance and then go through three doors in quick succession. Non-handicapped accessible doors, so they had to be opened and held open to pass through them. This is not what I would call accessible. It seems that when I ask for no steps, people do not think that just one step counts as steps.

There were a US, a UK and a European outlet for plugs and the hotel information book in the room stated that all the plugs worked. They did not. We had to get an adapter and use the UK outlet.
Scooter charging - backed up to the desk which has phone and some plugs

Scooter charging - backed up to the desk which has phone and some plugs


We had a TV,
TV

TV


a microwave and a small fridge.
Mirror and mini bar over microwave and fridge

Mirror and mini bar over microwave and fridge


The bathroom is fancy with a heated floor, but there is no place to put anything in it.
Sink

Sink

Shower

Shower


Bob charged the scooter (first having to call over and ask how to make the US plug work and finding out that it didn't) Then we reorganized and took a nap until about 3. The room is freezing cold and we cannot figure out how to turn the heat up. It was so cold that I couldn't sleep much even though I was wearing my coat and was under all the covers.
Window on the street

Window on the street


I had booked on the Great Western to go to Cornwall. I was advised to buy tickets in advance, but since there wasn't enough time to get them mailed to me, I opted to pick them up at the station. We needed to 'suss out' where we needed to go. So we set off for Paddington Station. I looked for it on Google maps and determined that we turned left out of the door and left at the end of the street. Almost the first thing we saw was a sign advertising English Breakfast all day for £4.95. Bob went into a money changing place and changed some money and got some money smaller than a five pound note (for tips)
Money exchange

Money exchange


I belong to a photography group which the topic this week is SIGNS, so I was taking photos of signs as I went. Sign in a window

Sign in a window


WAIT

WAIT


Sidewalk sign outside the station

Sidewalk sign outside the station


Paddington station

Paddington station

IMG_0080.JPGDirection lines on the Floor of Paddington

Direction lines on the Floor of Paddington

Photo of the station map

Photo of the station map

Paddington station

Paddington station


We found Paddington and went to the first Information desk (I am not tall enough on the scooter to see over the top of the counter, but they peeked around in the glass section).

Here, they told us that we needed the reference number to pick up the tickets but if we went to the information booth on the other side of the station, they could figure it out with our names. So we went there and they did that. We have a train ticket and a seat ticket. It is perhaps fortunate that we have a seat reservation because we found later that the train is usually crowded.
Paddington Bear

Paddington Bear


One of the things we saw in the station was a shop selling Paddington Bear souvenirs. I had heard of Paddington Bear, but did not really know the story. So I looked it up.
In 1956, a BBC cameraman bought a small toy bear left alone on a shelf in Selfridges store, London, for his wife Brenda. He named the bear Paddington, after the station close to his home. The bear inspires him to write a series of stories about the bear. In the stories, after a deadly earthquake destroys his home in Peruvian rainforest, a young bear makes his way to England in search of a new home. The bear, dubbed "Paddington" for the london train station, finds shelter with the family of Henry and Mary Brown .

[It occurs to me that earthquakes do not really hurt a rainforest that much, and the Peru coast is very dry and the only rain forests are an extension of the Amazon rain forests on the edge of Brazil]

I went scootering around the station
Stationary shop in the station

Stationary shop in the station


There was a
Burger King in Paddington station

Burger King in Paddington station


and a McDonalds and also a sushi place with a little revolving conveyor with dishes on it. The sign said Sit,Take, Eat, Pay.
Sit, Take, Eat, Pay

Sit, Take, Eat, Pay


As we were looking around a big black man asked if he could help us and when we told him that we were going to be taking the train tomorrow, he insisted that we go register for handicapped help. So we did that.
Handicapped entrance to trains

Handicapped entrance to trains


Bob thinks he can put two suitcases together and that we can get to the station just as we did this afternoon. I think we will have to take a cab.

I decided that we would eat a late lunch/early dinner and I saw a Garfunkles near the station, so we went in.
Garfunkle's menu

Garfunkle's menu


Their website says: We’re in the perfect location for hungry commuters, guests arriving into London via the Heathrow Express and sightseers. The lunch menu (cheaper) was in effect from 11:30 am to 5 pm and it was a little after four when we entered.
Mirror over our table in Garfunkles

Mirror over our table in Garfunkles


We each had a
Set price lunch menu hamburger (which came with fries and a kind of purple cole slaw) two of them were £15.90

Set price lunch menu hamburger (which came with fries and a kind of purple cole slaw) two of them were £15.90

Bob's milkshake £3.95

Bob's milkshake £3.95


and Bob had a milk shake. That cost £20 or about $30.37 which is expensive for lunch, but not bad for dinner

I was trying to figure out which side of the sidewalk to be on so I didn't keep running into people walking the other way. The cars drive on the left and a lot of people walk on the left, but some don't.
This woman

This woman


was walking straight down the middle and it was about the same pace as my scooter. So I followed behind her as she parted the pedestrians and cleared the way.

We came back to the hotel but we couldn't remember which door of the several identical ones was ours.
Ground floor entrance with TWO steps

Ground floor entrance with TWO steps


We had closed the curtains (the window is right on the street) so we went until we came to a window with closed curtains. You hold your card up to the door to get it to open. The cards are absolutely blank plastic with nothing written on them. We also have to use one of the cards to have light.

So we are here more or less intact. Bob fell asleep watching the TV and I was starting to get sleepy too but the room was still very cold. He called the main desk (again -second time - the first time was about the plug that didn't work) and asked about the heat. A man with very broken English came over and basically Bob couldn't understand the accent of what he was saying and the man couldn't understand what Bob was saying plus the temps were in C. Bob had it set on 35 which would be 90+ but they did something to it and eventually it got warmer and I could take off my coat. Bob got into his pjs and went to bed. I wrote up the day with my phone on but attached to the computer. Then I turned things off and went to sleep.

We go to Cornwall tomorrow.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:33 Archived in England Comments (6)

The Great Western to an Enterprise

Train to Truro and Driving to Port Isaac


View 2015 Compo and Doc Martin on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

The Great Western is not a book or movie about the US western states. It is a railway franchise. which started in April 2006 with the former First Great Western, First Great Western Link and Wessex Trains businesses. It provides trains from London in the east to Brighton and Gatwick in the south, Carmarthen, Pembroke Dock and Penzance in the west and Banbury, Hereford and Worcester in the north. We booked a train on the Great Western to go to Truro in Cornwall. First Great Western train to Cornwall from Paddington Station in London. The destination: Truro, depart 10:06 (cost $222 or £130) We have a train ticket and a seat ticket which we picked up yesterday at the station. The seat reservation didn't cost anything.

17 March 2015

Bob set the alarm for 7:30 and he got up. I went to the bathroom and then decided that I needed to email Enterprise when we would be at the station to be picked up (trying to avoid having to figure out how to use the phone to make a call in England). After a struggle, I got dressed but I changed my mind several times about what was to go in my suitcase, much to Bob's disgust. I had decided that it would be foolish to try to walk to the station with baggage so Bob took some of the stuff over to the main lobby
PIcture in the hotel lobby

PIcture in the hotel lobby


and told them that we wanted a cab. Then he came back and got me and the bellman came to help with the rest of the stuff. It was the same guy that helped us yesterday and since Bob had gotten some smaller bills when he went to the money exchnge yesterday, he was able to tip him £2.

The taxi came and loaded the scooter and Bob's big bag in the front seat and all the rest of the bags in the back. Bob and I were back there too. He took us to the station. Unfortunately the cab dropped us off at an upper level at a different entrance than what we went in yesterday. The luggage trolleys would have cost £1 so Bob put the computer bag on the scooter and I carried my pocket book and my cane, and he took his big brown bag, my little red bag and his green carryon. Since we did not know we were in a different place in the station, we went the wrong way and ended up at the subway trains
Bob going the wrong way with the luggage

Bob going the wrong way with the luggage


We had to go back.
Elevator down from where the taxi dropped us

Elevator down from where the taxi dropped us


And someone had to explain that we had to take an elevator down. I got ahead of Bob and got to the assistance office first. When I got there, I could not reach the button door open button from the scooter so I reached out and punched it with my cane. The man sitting at a table next to the door thought that was cool. Bob came in and dumped the luggage and parked the scooter and we told them we were there.
Inside the handicapped waiting room

Inside the handicapped waiting room


Originally we were going to get breakfast from Burger King or McDonalds. But Bob did not walk back there to get something. Instead he went to a place next door to the handicapped waiting room and got some fruit yogurt thing for us to eat for breakfast.
Five Berry Pret Pot - yoghurt, fruit and granola

Five Berry Pret Pot - yoghurt, fruit and granola

Napkin with recycling information

Napkin with recycling information


Of course he did not yet know that Porridge was the English for hot oatmeal. There were lots of other things he could have gotten which I would have liked better. For instance, breakfast rolls and croissants.

At about 9:30 they came and got us and loaded the luggage onto a golf cart/tram vehicle. There was an old lady and her bag on it already, and they picked up another old lady with a walker. With the two ladies and Bob and all the luggage, there was no room for me or the scooter, so I just followed him.
Cart ahead of me with two ladies and Bob

Cart ahead of me with two ladies and Bob

Tramcar ahead of me unloading an old lady

Tramcar ahead of me unloading an old lady


The tram was very fast - even at the highest rabbit setting, I couldn't keep up but I could catch up when he stopped to offload the old ladies.
Tanking sign on a train

Tanking sign on a train


First he put one old lady in first class (coach K). Then the other old lady was in one of the other cars.
Keep your bikes safe

Keep your bikes safe


We were in car C at the front,
Directions for handicapped on the train

Directions for handicapped on the train


and he helped us on with our luggage, which was good.
Scooter and our bags at the front of the car

Scooter and our bags at the front of the car


We are sitting in the front of the car and there is a plug and wi-fi on the train.
Plug for the computer

Plug for the computer


Leaving the station

Leaving the station


Reading station

Reading station

large_1cf13ef0-32e6-11e9-ad1d-5786e4162709.JPG
But as we got farther from London, the wi-fi got slower and slower. I got the Goggle maps on my phone to follow our progress, but then I decided that I needed to get the GPS out of my suitcase. I tried to get it started when it was attached to the computer, but it would not turn on. It wouldn't turn on until I unplugged it from the computer.

I went into the bathroom. I had to push OPEN on the panel beside the door in order to unlock it and get out. Took me a couple of tries to figure that out.
Locked door

Locked door


It was hard to take photos from the train because of reflections. In order to avoid hot spots from the flash, the pictures tended to be blurred from the movement of the train. We went by fields, and gardens, churches and cows and sheep.
large_1c668b20-32e6-11e9-ad1d-5786e4162709.JPGCows and horses

Cows and horses

large_39ee0d80-32e6-11e9-9f5a-6b156245b4f3.JPG
Church

Church

large_3afce570-32e6-11e9-ad1d-5786e4162709.JPGIMG_0154.JPGPlymouth station

Plymouth station


We saw a river with boats
7344303-Crossing_a_river_Paddington.jpgCrossing a river

Crossing a river


large_39f3b2d0-32e6-11e9-ad1d-5786e4162709.JPGBlurred photo

Blurred photo


and also where the tide was out and the boats were sitting on the mud.

We saw fields of daffodils that seemed to be growing wild. Bob claimed that he never had to memorize any poems and hadn't had to memorize the Wordsworth poem about daffodils which starts
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

At lunchtime Bob went down to the dining car and brought back a bacon baguette (which was good)
Bacon baguette

Bacon baguette


and bottle of
Cranberry crush

Cranberry crush


which was awful. It was carbonated and had rose water and vanilla in it. The train stopped at Bodmin Parkway.
Bodmin Parkway Station

Bodmin Parkway Station


Normally to go to Port Isaac, you would get off at Bodmin Parkway and Enterprise would pick you up there and when you were ready to leave, they would drop you off at the station again.
Bodmin Parkway

Bodmin Parkway


But we were coming in by train and leaving by airplane, and the Bodmin Enterprise would not take us to the Newquay airport. Geoff_Wright (of VT) called Enterprise in Truro for me and put me in touch with Christopher Bell. So we are going on to Truro to get a rental car from Enterprise which will take us to the airport after our visit. We got to Truro about 2:30 - Bob got us off the train without much help (I hadn't asked for any).
Truto station

Truto station

Truro station map

Truro station map


There is also a Hertz rental car place in the station but of course we would have had to return the car to the station.
Pumpkin Cafe at another station

Pumpkin Cafe at another station


I got down to the station exit and they wanted to see my ticket, but I had put it away in my pocketbook which was under the scooter seat. I must have looked harmless, because they let us out without collecting our tickets. They had to manually let me through the gate anyway. David, the guy from Enterprise was there. He gave us a Vauxhill and took us back to the office.
Driving to Enterprise

Driving to Enterprise


Their office (should you want to go there) is Newham Road Industrial Estate, Newham Road, Truro, Cornwall TR1 2SU.
Map from their website

Map from their website


The car has a GPS,
GPS in the car

GPS in the car


but it was almost impossible for me to set. Bob kept driving really close to the left side of the road - sometimes scraping the tires on the curb.

Eventually I got out my own GPS in order to see what was going on. Every now and then my GPS would say turn right and the other GPS would say turn left.
Driving to Port Isaac

Driving to Port Isaac


We were on the A30 which was OK and then A39 - also OK. Then we turned on B3314 and the road was almost wide enough for the car. We did meet one car. I didn't take any photos during this part of the trip. We drove 12 miles that way and eventually ended up in Port Isaac. We found the hotel and went in through the bar.
Door to the bar

Door to the bar


There are 10 rooms and the manager stays in one of them. There are two of us staying here - a lady and her daughter (I think) from Wales. But this is off-season and they are not filming now.
From where we parked to unload the car

From where we parked to unload the car


When I made the reservations, I asked for as few steps as possible and they emailed me before we came and were concerned because all the rooms are up at least one flight of steps. But I really wanted to stay in the middle of Port Isaac, and that is where this hotel is, so I was willing (and able) to do the one flight of steps. We were on the first floor (English first floor - really second floor). We had a little balcony
Window onto the balcony

Window onto the balcony


and could see part of the harbour
From our window with the tide in

From our window with the tide in


and the hill up to where Doc Martin's house (in the TV series) is located.
View from the balcony of the cliff path

View from the balcony of the cliff path


Looking down

Looking down


This is a very old building. It dates back to 1527 and is located across from the fishing harbor. Originally, it was a ship's chandlery in the 19th century selling all types of ship supplies and provisions out of what is now the two tiered restaurant. The Slipway was converted into a hotel in the mid twentieth century and has been gradually upgraded into its present state. Some reviews complain that the decor is 'dated'. But in my opinion the decor is just right for the age of the building.
Bob sitting in a chair next to the TV in our room

Bob sitting in a chair next to the TV in our room


The internet was good in our room although the stone walls are so thick that some people need to go to the lounge to get a signal. We had a tea making set-up in the room, and a TV.
TV and tea set-up

TV and tea set-up


Initially Bob couldn't figure out how to turn on the TV. There was a switch but it didn't come on right away.
Toilet and sink - shower is on the left

Toilet and sink - shower is on the left

Shower in our room

Shower in our room


The bathroom is small but it was perfectly adequate for our needs. Breakfast at the hotel is 8:30-9:30 and is included in the price. Staff was all very friendly and helpful.

There is no parking at the hotel. You have to park at the top of the town in a car park for £5 a day. Bob brought the suitcases up and then I suggested that he drive the car up to the car park and ride the scooter back. Which he did although he said he got lost once and he said he had to fold the scooter up once to get through some
scaffolding

scaffolding


We had dinner here.
Upper Dining room

Upper Dining room


We didn't even have to do steps as we ate in the upper dining room. Before the dinner they brought out the
Bread board

Bread board


I had the
Chicken liver parfait-caramelized red onion and oatcake

Chicken liver parfait-caramelized red onion and oatcake


as a starter and
Mushroom risotto

Mushroom risotto


as the main dish. Bob had the soup of the day (Celeriac). He liked the soup so well that he wanted to know how to make it at home. He also had
Fish and chips and mushy peas

Fish and chips and mushy peas


Tomorrow we will do the Doc Martin tour

Posted by greatgrandmaR 09:50 Archived in England Comments (2)

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