Baggage claim was efficient & quick. Just a few more steps & there was Darren (Adelphi Transportation Svc.) standing in line holding a sign w/ my name. A very nice young man, who kept us entertained through the 2 hr. ride. There was an accident on the M-25; & I was extremely glad we were going in the other direction, as the cars were backed up for at least 10 miles. Never saw anything like that before. After 3 rainy trips England, I’m happy to report that I have now seen London in the sunlight; & it is quite lovely. The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful, probably upper 70’s that afternoon. Darren deposited us in the alley beside our small 14 room hotel in the small village of “HAIR-itch”. This charming village sits right on the waterfront w/ a working port nearby (we would catch the ship the next day at a more civilized pier a few miles away). The Pier Hotel is a lovely white stone building w/ electric blue trim was reminiscent of a wharf converted into a hotel. The main building houses the check-in lobby, a pub, the Ha’Penny (as in half penny) Café w/ seats inside as well as outside on the sidewalk. On the 2nd floor is their formal restaurant, the Harbourside, w/ lovely views of (you guessed it) the harbour. There is another 2 story building next door, where our rooms were. No elevators (ugh); steep winding staircases & a lovely lobby area on the ground floor. It has a two sided fireplace, lots of leather sofas & deep easy chairs. The public rooms had lovely antiques, while the individual guest rooms were almost (Scandinavian) modern. The floors creak when you walk. It could be truly classified as quaint; & was perfect for our short stay.
We struggled getting our bags up the stairs; & then set out for a short stroll around this (maybe) 1 sq. mile “town”. Little houses that sit right on the street, w/ “English gardens” on the tiniest little patch of green between the house & the street. Lots of little pubs & tiny restaurants; & quite ornate ancient looking municipal buildings. Across the street is a finger pier that has several cafes w/ outdoor seating.
We chose to have lunch at the hotel, eating al fresco on the “front porch”. I ordered fish & chips; a whole haddock (minus the head) lightly battered & fried & humongous fries (which I did not eat, thank you very much). We all were so tired, we felt a nap was in order. Our neighboring rooms have no air conditioning; but the windows did open (no screens) & there were table top oscillating fans. We conked out for about 1 ½ hrs; groggy but half functional.
Bill made reservations up in the “formal” restaurant where we had a delightful meal & excellent service. I had a wonderful spicy cashew nut soup; seared king scallops w/ crispy pancetta served in a wonton basket as an appetizer; & fish pie as my main course. This was like a shepherd’s pie only using shrimp, scallops & chunks of white fish. Divine! Melita had a light meal of deep fried whole asparagus w/ tempura batter, served w/ a sweet chilli sauce. Bill had gravlox on dill potato salad w/ a horseradish beet root relish for an appetizer; & medallions of halibut stuffed w/ smoked salmon w/ a dill & white wine sauce. They brought two bowls of veggies for the table; one a medley of broccoli, zucchini, green beans & carrots. The other was tiny new potatoes w/ an almost white skin. They were so delicate & delicious. Bill ordered a honey rhubarb crème brulee, which we all had a bite of. We finished this fabulous meal as the sun was starting to set (9:30). In hopes of getting a good nights sleep, we all took a sleeping pill.