WorldCon 1995


Getting to London from Glasgow on Tuesday was easy but long: take the bloody train. It itself was a noisy affair, most because of the two young Arabic children in the seats across the aisle who seemed to think that if they let their lips close for more than a second they’d freeze in that position. Fortunately I was able to mostly ignore them, and they left the train about 23 of the way there.

I was to stay at a B&B. I gave the cab driver the address, but initially he mis-heard me say “Queensberry Mews” instead of “Queensborough Mews” and we wound up in the wrong street until I showed him the reservation letter. He then deposited me and my two suitcases before a sign that said “Through Access to Queensborough Mews”, a side-street off an alley off a major street north of Hyde Park. The B&B was behind a large gate marked “Private” at the end of the street, one of a strip of similar three-storey buildings. All in all, the building was about 40 feet wide and 40 feet deep. The ground floor, I discovered, was the laundry room and other necessary facilities. The first floor had three bedrooms, all with sink and shower. The second floor had the breakfast room, which was also the owner’s living room and dining room. The third floor was a conservatory. The operator has only been in the place since April so things were still cluttered with moving in. Stairs were circular, the only reasonable means with such a small space. I was told, however, that the whole place cost in the neighborhood of L500,000 (over $800,000) since it was so close to the center of London. It also had its resident cat, Puss.

My room was small, barely bigger than the bed, which was enormous: however, the room was larger than my college dorm room and the hotel I stayed in at Brighton for Conspiracy. The bathroom had a towel warmer, a very nice novelty, and included a washcloth (for once!)

Tuesday I settled in: I got in fairly late in the afternoon, what with the cab ride, so I was ready for dinner. I ate in a good German restaurant around the corner: two streets over was a major thoroughfare with two Underground stations and a host of restaurants. This whole area was covered with hotels: it looked like rows of (almost identical) apartment houses were converted to hotels. Even the street I was (sort-of) on was mostly hotels.

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