Wednesday in London: Sauna, lunch at Salt Yard and "Love never Dies."
Disaster strikes. At least disaster for someone who does not like saunas and steam rooms.
For four days and nights in London I had enjoyed the arctic-like temperature in my room, turned the AC off before I went to sleep, and slept like a baby all night. Actually probably not like a baby since babies wake up crying for food every few hours. But I do sleep well, and wake up thoroughly rested and ready to go despite only 5 to 6 hours of sleep.
At this hotel, each day when I hopped out of bed in the morning the first thing I would do was switch on the AC and the room would cool within minutes to a comfortably arctic level. But not today. I switched the AC to high as usual. At first I did not notice that anything was wrong - it sounded as though it was working, but when I got out of the shower, and the room was steamy instead of cool, I realized something was wrong.
Vincent came to check. We agreed that it seemed as if cold air was coming out of the unit but the room did not get any colder. When I went down to speak to Keisha, the manager, it became apparent that the problem was not just in my room but that the entire AC unit that supplied the guest rooms with cold air had gone on the blink.
They offered to move me to another room. It was larger and marginally more comfortable that my bargain priced single room but the AC was not working there either and I could not see any point in moving for one night. So Keisha suggested that they put a fan in my room and I figured I could last out one night of heat.
She bought me a drink at the bar downstairs where I sat and worked for a while to escape the sauna in my room. In the hour or so that I sat downstairs in the lounge where the temperature was cool, group after group of guests were checking in. I felt really sorry for the desk staff who would have to deal with complaints about intolerably hot rooms - and for the other guests who were expecting air-conditioned comfort.
By lunch time I had to get out of my sweltering room, so I decided to wander up to Goodge Street, a couple of blocks away, and have lunch at the Salt Yard. It was a great choice. I had an excellent lunch there and watched as just before one PM when I had to vacate my table, folks came in in droves for lunch. No sign of a recession here.
This reminds me of back home. For all the talk in the press about tough times, if you look into the bustling pubs, restaurants, and cafes, it does not seem as if people are sitting at home and saving their pennies.
Around 6:45 I walked down to the Adelphi Theatre on The Strand to see the sequel to Phantom of the Opera, called Love Never Dies. I had a great seat, no giant in front of me, and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Then a brisk walk back to the hotel after the show to pack for an relatively early morning departure, ended my day with fresh cool evening air and some exercise. I had left the window open in my room and it was no longer sauna-like and I hoped for a good night's sleep.