The Crazy Way Settings Happen (or Fast Times on London Streets)

A favorite setting I used in COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES involved gunfire, London streets crowded with iconic double-decker buses, various-sized lorries (yep, we’d say trucks in the U.S., but lorry sounds much more Brit), and my characters escaping via a legendary black cab. Until bullets shatter the windows. I posted about the experience a few months ago on the Laffeinated Ink blog, but I’m reposting most of the story here along with pics to share with my readers. First, to clarify, I’ve never had windows shot out of any cabs I’ve ever ridden in, but some crazy vehicle-related adventures have happened to me while visiting Jolly Old London-town. One event occurred when we traveled there in spring 2008 with two 18-year-olds—who knew everything and constantly reminded us ‘oldsters’ we could just go off sightseeing and not worry about them. Fat chance. Instead, tables got turned. Armed with Oyster cards, we split up outside Read more…

Let’s Tour Harrods in London

We went to London a few years ago, and since PBS is starting a new season of Mr. Selfridge’s this weekend, and since I’ve spent this week blogging about London-related things, I thought I’d blog today about another famous London retailer–Harrods. This multi-floored upscale London department store is  located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge. Oh, and a note, there are doormen who will turn visitors away who arrive in disreputable clothing. We saw a couple get turned away when he was clad in raggedy-cut baggy shorts, and she was in a tube top and way too tight jeans with holey knees. But we were allowed to pass without incident, so thanks to my trusty camera you’ll find pictures below that I took during our shopping excursion. Everything about the store was carefully decorated, and lovely care was taken with even the smallest Read more…

Baker Street Underground Station – London

As a continuation in what I’ve now begun casually calling “London Week” for this blog, thought I’d look closer at a couple of places we found interesting when we visited London a few years ago. Today, I’m posting about the tube station for Baker Street. We’ve all heard about Sherlock Holmes’s residence at 221B Baker Street, but there’s a whole world underneath. And this station has a lot of history. First opened in January 1863, the station was almost 25 years old when the first Sherlock Holmes story A Study in Scarlet was published in 1887. The station has had extensions and renovations completed several times in the early 1900s, and an additional southbound platform and connecting tube tunnels between Baker Street and Finchley Road stations in late-November, 1939. They even had a bomb scare in 1973, but the device was luckily defused in time.  Instead of listing all the trains that come and Read more…

London — A Writer’s Journey

In 2008, my family took a must-see trip to London to see the King Tut exhibit.  The tour hit American cities, sure–some not so far from our home even–but we all agreed we wanted to see Tut in London. In England’s capital city we could hit the British Museum in the same week and see the Rosetta Stone on exhibit there (if you’re tall enough to see over everyone’s heads–it’s really popular). We made a list of all the great historical sites, Tower of London, Harrods, Victoria and Albert Museum, Greenwich, Kew Gardens, Stonehenge–you name it. So we saved as a family to pay for the trip, watched every episode on London that Rick Steves and Samantha Brown ever shot, and made our plans. We ultimately kept our touring to the city of London proper–except for the Tut show, since it was in the Docklands area near Greenwich. Since we Read more…