Happy to leave Australia after Mum's funeral on Thursday - felt at peace over her.
Sunday morning and here I am in Hong Kong.
Slept for a little over 5 hours on the overnight flight partly due to an empty seat next to me.
Now to explore.
Sunday afternoon and I'm beat. Been fighting the crowds and no-one here knows which side of the road/footpath to walk on so they go wherever there is a gap. In addition some stairs say walk on left and some say walk on right/ Who knows? Who cares?
Unless you like people this would be a nightmare.
Got an Octopus card and found the legendary Nathan Road - surely the centre of the known universe for hand made suits and shirts.... and rolex's.
Womens markets... even busier than Nathan Road.
Great free breakfast because I am using their WIFI - makes the $100HK per 24 hours worthwhile.
On a tour today - great fun. Saw much of the city and now have a good handle on directions.
Went to the top of Victoria Peak on the cable car - the view is fantastic and it is a relatively clear day so I am lucky.
The original cable car - now a historical display.
The tour then takes us to a Jewellery manufacturer where I buy a beautiful set of gold cuff links which I will need with the french cuff shirts I have ordered in Nathan Road.
The view from our little harbour runabout. Note the luxury boats on the right.
Then onto the Stanley Street markets - must go back tomorrow for a good look.
On the way home an example of bamboo scaffolding - always heard about it but never seen it before. It really does go up 20 floors or more.
Woke at 3.45 am on Wednesday to catch the hotel shuttle to HK airport for the 7.55 am to Heathrow. Arrived at 1 pm London time after a 13 hour flight making it already a loooooong day!
Took the Heathrow Shuttle to Paddington station - cost was 19 pounds and 15 minutes later I'm at Paddington station.... great value.
I take a Taxi to St Davids Hotel which turns out to be only about 150 metres away. Oh well I will know next time. Room ready and a loooong hot shower - bliss. My email contact at the B&B Pavan, is very helpful and remembers my name even before I announce myself. I'm impressed
On recommendation I go out to a local pub for a Shepherds Pie and a beer for dinner.
Slept fitfully - hope my body clock is adjusted by Friday.
Breakfast is an experience - scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, toast and coffee. Wow!
Heading out to Ash Vale via Waterloo station.
Only one appointment today which is an hour out of London.Very worthwhile.
Back to Paddington and tonight I try the Italian - another recommendation from Pavan at St Davids B&B.
Learn where the laundromat is for catching up with washing on Saturday.
Then go for a walk to Kensington Gardens and see the Diana memorial fountain.
Then into the city, make a stop at the Apple Store before my first appointment at Charing Cross with Mike Turner at the Charing Cross Hotel. Very much an "old world"atmosphere.
He likes my hat so much takes a photo.
Then it was off to the Radisson Edwardian hotel to meet with another Ecademy member, Julia McDaid.
Both meetings were productive!
I meet with Adam Gillett (Lesley's eldest son) at South Kensington and we have lunch at a local pub. I think I have seen him more than his parents since he has been in London. Always a pleasure.
....and then he and I go to the Natural History Museum to see the "Wildlife" photographic exhibition.
Amazing pictures as well as these amazing replicas - the dinosaur... not me!
Off to Southampton to meet with Jim Tuffin and talk "cancer" experiences. He and his wife Clare invite me home for a home cooked baked dinner. When you are travelling it is just a delight to not be eating restaurant food. Besides it is a long time since I had a "baked dinner".
Train trip from and back to Waterloo station is relaxing.
Off to the London Ecademy Boardroom. Only 5 of us there and we get to discuss 3 "issues". This is one of the highlights of the business part of the trip as it reinforces my enthusiasm for Ecademy Boardrooms.
Off to the local "pub" afterwards for a beer and dinner afterwards - part of the culture with this group.
Finding my way around the Tube - London is so easy to get around using the different lines.
Meet with Simon West at Chancery Lane. We walk down to Hatton Garden for lunch. This is the diamond and jewellery centre of London. Simon shouts me lunch and it looks like we have some synergy to follow up on.
I then go into the city and finally get my Vodafone dongle set up for my computer.
Wake up to a Skype call from Glenn. Amazing technology.
Raining and overcast - this is more like London. Weather has been brilliant so far even with the cold temperatures of 2 degrees.
In my four visits to London I have never been to Harrods so this morning that's where I go. Two trains gets me to Knightsbridge - getting to know my way around The Tube quite well now.
This statue is "bling" to the ultimate.
The food hall is amazing - I counted 5 separate areas, each of which would be as big as the total David Jones food hall in Sydney.
Not really impressed overall. Yes it is an amazing store AND very expensive. I bought nothing!
Then it was on to Kings Cross / St Pancras Station to meet with Mike Morrison for another Ecademy 121. Some synergy there and we will keep in touch.
Second 121 with Mindy Gibbins-Klein did not show - a mix up. Obviously not meant to meet.
Out to dinner at "The Satay House" as recommended by Pavan at my B&B. Excellent food and service. Obviously well known as you need a reservation on most nights.
Wake again to a Skype call from Glenn. He is in his car heading home from West Sydney talking to me in my London hotel room on a wireless connection. How cool is that!
Then into the city to meet with William Buist and Julian Bond and talk about Ecademy at the IoD in Pall Mall. I finally realise that IoD stand for Institute of Directors, an organisation similar to the AIM in Australia.
Very productive meeting and I learn much about the website which will be valuable in my discussions with Ecademy members back in Australia.
William and I then go out to dinner near Trafalgar Square and on to see War Horse at the West End - a fantastic play. I got so lost in it that at one stage, I felt like there were real horses on stage.
I bought William a glass of champagne at interval to celebrate his new business contract.
This morning I attend the very first get together of "the breakfast club", a morning twitter club that is getting together to meet "face to face" at Starbucks in Oxford Street.
I meet a range of very interesting people including the delightful Jayne Cox who wants to interview me. We arranged to do it via Skype some time over next week or so.
Then it was back to St Davids and some washing - very exciting.
Off on a tour of Windsor Castle, Stone Henge and Bath.
The world is indeed a small place. Of all the tours on all the days and the 70 seats on that bus I end up sitting next to a guy from Toowoomba.
Windsor Castle was interesting - a great British treasure. No photos of the Queens special rooms as that is not allowed - worthwhile visiting though.
Changing of the guard at noon!
Then it was on to Stone Henge. The wind was blowing gale and the temperature was around 4 degrees. Nearly strong enough to blow you off your feet.
Large burial mounds (in the distance) - they from the time of the Druids. There are many of these all over the Salisbury Plains.
Last on the trip was Bath. An amazing place and such an unusual name considering all the jokes about "pommies and their baths".
I actually was there. Found out the best way to get your photo taken is to offer to take the photo of a couple who are photographing each other - they never say no and are very grateful. Sounds like a "way of life" to me.
Found a small stand that sells an Australian standard - sausage in a bun with onions and tomato sauce. On a cold day a welcome snack.
Then there was this amazing guitarist - Daniel Gerrard.
His playing attracted me from further down the mall.
Got chatting to him and discovered he has played much of his time in the Caribbean but now lives back in Bath. He gave me a copy of his CD as I didn't have any GB Pounds. Wow!
So I went and changed an Australian $50 and got some money to pay him. Looking forward to playing the CD and transferring it to my iPhone to play.
3 hour drive home in the coach along the M4 - glad I had a book to read.
Got back to Victoria station only to find the Circle Line is not operating so I grab a cab who misunderstands me and takes me to Kennington instead of Paddington. Wow did he complain! On and on and on! Learnt a lesson here of seeking confirmation of the cab drivers' understanding of what I said.
Having pre-purchased my tickets (cheaper) during the week I am off by train to Oxford.
I had no idea how focussed on learning Oxford was - probably because I hadn't given it much thought. Took a bus tour and then chatted to the Town Crier who told me where all the best places were.
The oldest church tower dating back over a thousand years.
The oldest store, probably in the UK, dating back to 1738 as per the sign over the entrance!
I loved this sign!
The fast trains that service the country. Only two stops from Oxford to Paddington making it a 75 minute trip.
I have developed a cold and the weather - as well as the bus tour around Oxford hasn't helped it.
My cold is worse. That feeling like your nose is a tap and you have hay fever... always sneezing.
Off to Madame Tussards. Some of my favourites.
Morgan Freeman - very realistic!
Dame Helen Mirren - my favourite female actress.
Australia's Shane Warne - not very realistic.
Steven Hawking - one of the worlds most amazing minds!
Freddie Mercury in full flight. What an amazing talent. Very realistic.
One of my heroes - Winston Churchill!
One of last century's great orators.... and worst villians!
Last meeting is with Anna Figiel who runs the admin side of Ecademy. We meet at the IoD - seems Ecademy has a permanent membership there.
I must look and sound bad. My red nose, croaky voice and constant sneezing. I decline on dinner after our meeting and head back to the hotel.
Spent the night rugged up "sweating it out".
I wake and my cold is virtually gone.
I go down to the Hilton Paddington to be picked up for my tour only to find out it has been cancelled. So an opportunity to do something different.
Phoned Mindy Gibbins-Klein (the Book Midwife) and Georgina Lester (Ecademy) and arrange to meet with them.
Mindy lives out of London at St Albans - a fast 35 minute train from St Pancras. Great meeting and she invites me back to speak at the PSA in London later this year. She is President and can guarantee me a spot. We go back to my BNI days.
Then back to St Pancras and across to Paddington to catch another fast train to Newport in Wales and have dinner with Georgina Lester. Georgina has contacts in the speaking industry and wants to see a video of me speaking.
I get back to Paddington at 11.40 pm.... a very long day. However both meetings have been very productive.
My last day in London.
Packed and checked out - sorry to leave St Davids as it has been a friendly place. Would recommend it to anyone staying in Paddington.
Have lunch with another Ecademy member, Clare Gillbanks at a very exclusive club called Frontline - a bit like the Journalists Club in Sydney. Great lunch and great contact. She is coming to Sydney in April for two weeks so will make sure she meets Glenn.
I call and see a local Real Estate agent about renting if I come back next year.
I catch the Heathrow Express and spend the time entering all my receipts into an Excel spreadsheet which will make things easier for Rosemary (bookkeeper) later.
End of a great trip.