26 August 2011

The long ride and the gentleman’s club

Posted in Talking about . . .

Monday morning dawned bright and shiny so Kate and I set off for the full-catastrophe bike ride in Hyde Park. Glorious sunshine and London sparkling!

Picked up our bikes in Holland Park again and took off. Good steady pace – no slacking! Discovered that there are a few hills in Hyde Park (mainly where Kate wanted to cross the grassed bits coz she didn’t want to dismount for sections on the path). Only three gears on the bike, so the rule is that you have to stay in 3rd for maximum effort required on hills – good workout!

Just lovely riding along – people in boats on the Serpentine, people lounging on deckchairs, mothers with babies in prams or toddling, manic cyclists with heads down and bums up, horses clip-clopping along while their riders gossip – the stuff of everyday life.

Went up and down a couple of hills twice – I think the young woman was testing the old woman – and finally put our bikes back after about an hour and a half. Set off down Kensington High Street to look for the zip-up Merrell shoes that I’d borrowed from Kate. They’re sooo comfortable! Not to be had in London, but will pursue them online.

Great pedicure and walking home in Kate’s blingy jandals – very cute - then preparation for a smart night out. Kate’s friend, Gary Kershaw (most recently sales manager of Air New Zealand for UK and Ireland, but now the general manager of South African Airways for UK and Ireland), very generously took us to the Royal Automobile Club for dinner. Brian had to go and buy a pair of smart trousers (no jeans allowed)! Thankfully, he had a smart jacket and a good shirt, so with a good-looking tie borrowed from Gary, we were warmly welcomed into this bastion of Englishness.

What a gorgeous place! A Silver Ghost was on display in the foyer and set the tone for the rest of the club. Squash courts (including the only double squash court in England) that were immaculate (I gather they had been recently painted so not covered with little black marks); Turkish baths; billiards room; a gym; a glorious totally marble swimming pool; beautiful frescoes on the walls on the mezzanine floor; a bust of the young Winston Churchill; and an enchanting terrace with gardens and a gazebo. After dinner in the Club Room, there were a number of men reading the paper or working – a true gentleman’s club – surprised not more men live there, it’s so fabulous! There was even a pianist in the dining room. . .

And the menu - a truly English work of art – down to the list of desserts being entitled Puddings! We finished off the evening with coffees on the Terrace, and then wended our happy way home. An excellent night - thank you, GMK!

Royal Automobile Club with Kate and Gary

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Comments (1)

  • Liz and Mike
    Liz and Mike
    26 August 2011 at 13:26 |

    If we'd known that you were this into bikes we would have arranged for one in Mississauga. Oops! One wrong turn and Ontario's your oyster! LOL xx

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