Thursday, August 02, 2007



It's amazing what deals are possible if you shop around.

I fancied a few days in London at the end of October, since my trips to London at present invariably follow the pattern of motorway-friend's house - restaurant - friend's house - trying to sleep on floor - motorway - home. I quite like the idea of going to London and being able to take in the interesting parks and buildings and history, withough looking at my watch the whole time and panicking about the looming spectre of the M6 and work the next day.

Unfortunately, under normal circumstances it is more expensive to travel to London than it is re-launch a manned space programme. It is also more complicated, due to a ticketing arrangement that was clearly put together by the world's second largest committee (the world's largest committee is of course a meeting of Prestwich Local Area Partnership with everyone in attendance).

And then of course there is the issue of paying for an hotel. Prices indicate that all London hotels are in fact hollowed-out diamonds, staffed exclusively by members of the Monaco royal family. There is no way I am paying more for five days in London than a break of similar duration in Dubai.

However, a bit of exploring has led me to discover a Travelodge offering a stupendous discount and allowing me to stay for £25 a night. Unfortunately they double the rate for the final two nights of my stay, which means I have to check out and then back into another room in the same place. But even at £50 a pop, it is still about one tenth the price of anywhere else.

And, as luck would have it, I chanced to log onto the train ticket website as the moon was at the correct angle or something, because I picked up two £12.50 single tickets and can thus get down and back both quicker and cheaper than if I took the car.

Now all that remains is for me to negotiate the London Underground when I get there, and of course buy myself some food. I once went to an Aberdeen Angus Steak House in Leicester Square and paid the best part of £20 for a charred piece of gristle about the size of a postage stamp. I shan't be making that mistake again...


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