You’re going to London for what?

Well not to visit the Queen. "To eat a fish pie," I grinned at the UK border security person. "So you're going to London from Paris for one day to eat a fish pie?" she confirmed, clearly amused and thinking that it was her lucky day not to get the same old answer. "And you live in Paris?" she continued, looking over her glasses at me. "Why?"

Because it's an adventure I thought as I sat on the train a while later. That's really my only answer. Likewise, I decided to get the Eurostar to London, 2 1/4 hours away, just to eat a fish pie.  It would be an adventure. You sometimes have to create adventures. If you don't, much like life, nothing will happen.  True, it's not that France doesn't hold adventures for me. Of course it does. I have about 70 blog posts to prove it. But I'd got it into my head that I wanted a fish pie and like baguettes are French, fish pie is British. An adventure had to be created!

Easy peasy. Let's go!

Earlier that week I'd jumped on Yelp and searched for the term 'Fish pie'. I know, a brilliant strategy. Incredibly complex. The restaurant J Sheekey came up with a high rating, reviewers raved about the fish pie and it had wheelchair access. Winner winner ... So off I went on the train. It sounds romantic to be writing on the train from Paris to London doesn't it? Rattling along with scenery straight out of a painting. Problem was though that the silly train went so fast that my fingers kept jumping around on the key board and the predictive texts made unhelpful suggestions like 'TLPG' and 'pets oh' - neither of which had anything to do with what I was writing.

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See? Shoes under seat.

Anywaaaay. The Eurostar is really comfy and so much more relaxing than travelling by plane. It's rather like being in your lounge room. This was the older style train and it has a snugglier feel than the new trains. My carriage was near empty that day so the chap near me spread his stuff over two seats with shoes under the seat and all his food, water and entertainment needs within reach. Not too shabby.

I find planes very chaotic to get on and off as I've talked about before. The train is totally different. Go through security, wait until the call comes that the train is ready to board and hot foot it to my carriage. Person with ramp awaits me, up I go and glide into my wheelchair space. Real smooth Sandra.  Real smooth.

Liar liar big granny pants on fire!

On arrival in London at 10:30AM I ignored the black cabs as Google maps told me it was only 38 minutes to walk from the station to the restaurant where I'd booked to eat my fish pie. However, an hour and a quarter later I arrived! Google maps clearly forgot I wasn't a crow. Hrrmph. I'll bloody eat crow pie next time!

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Licketty lips.

Unlike many people, I really enjoy dining alone. I find myself highly entertaining (plus I don't have to share). I started with a glass of Champagne, obligatory bread rolls and (heaven!) butter. Those damn French never give you butter in restaurants. Something about delicious sauces instead ...

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Really delicious!

Then I ate a dish of grilled baby octopus (with lots of fried tentacles) baby potatoes and marinated red capsicum. It was much better looking than my photo - the juices at the bottom were all garlicky, oily, chillily and lemony and you bet your bottom dollar I wiped my plate clean with some of that bread.

Now, I can die.

Ta da! Fish pie!

Ta da! Fish pie!

All you see of the pie is a perfectly ratioed layer of mash flavoured with mustard and baked until crunchy on top. However, if that isn't impressive for you, under that were soft fat pieces of three types of fish, including thick flaky salmon. The fish was in a tasty creamy sauce that was just enough to keep the fish beautifully moist. The perfect fish pie. I could eat this every week.  I could die happy now.

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A little phallic looking but ...

Being healthy (did I just hear someone laugh?) I also ordered a side of tender but still wonderfully slightly firm colourful heirloom carrots cooked in butter with crushed pistachios. So, so yum. The pie was very filling though so sadly I couldn't eat all the carrots.  I don't know why I didn't get a doggy bag!

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High on yum factor.

Dessert was a difficult choice of 'yumminess'. The only measure of a dessert! Treacle pud with custard? Oozy chocolate soufflé? I ended up with a gorgeous hazelnut praline and caramelised popcorn parfait with milk ice-cream thingamebob.

Once I left the restaurant I wandered around for an hour or so looking at all the sights, colours and sounds. I've previously spent a few weeks in London and it's very different to Paris. It's more like Melbourne with its festive and relaxed feel. I looked to see what musicals were coming up - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! I'm so going to see that! The best thing London has though, for me, is that all of the black cabs are adapted for wheelchair users. Most people find it hard to believe but all those cute little black cabs have a ramp built into the floor. The driver opens the side door, flips down the ramp and up I go! So independent. The Queen ain't got nothin' on me with her chauffeurs.

Checking my watch as I watched the cabs go past, I waved my hand and hailed one of the cabs on the street like a London pro.  I jumped in and headed back to the station and a relaxed train ride home to Paris.  Full to the brim with food was I and as happy as a piggy in mud.

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About Sandra E Brown

I withdrew from my Masters (Neuropsychology) to write a blog instead, and to teach English as a second language. Life is too short to be doing something you want to retire from at 65! I now live in Paris, France.
This entry was posted in Disability, Food, London, Motorised wheelchair, Paris, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to You’re going to London for what?

  1. Margo Lestz says:

    Sounds like a great fish pie adventure! I used to live in London and I loved the fact that it was so easy to pop over to Paris – although I never went just for a meal. But, why not?

    • Why not indeed Margo:) The Eurostar for me is part of the journey as it’s so easy. I’m not sure everyone else would agree 4.5 hours on a train is worth a meal and a few hours of London (or Paris) but for me it’s just that I can do it. Thanks so much for commenting:)

  2. Paul Rob says:

    Hi Sandra, I think I’m partial to reading your posts. I’m not sure what more to say. Really upbeat, insightful and (yes, that’s what I’m going to do, going to tell other people that excusesvslife is) really worth recommending. What’s next on the main menu? Best wishes Paul Rob

    • Thanks very much for your comments Rob – It’s great you’re enjoying my blog so much and yes please feel free to recommend it to others:) While honestly not meant to be about food, my adventures seem to involve them as one must eat. Next adventure is London again then Marseille. I see you’re a writer too! Mad we must be. Mad;)

  3. Susan says:

    It looks like you had a fun and delicious adventure. The carrots sound delicious and look so colorful. All the dessert choices sound delicious. I didn’t know that the London black cabs would have ramps, but how nice for you that things were so convenient.

    • Thanks for commenting Susan:) Those carrots were really delicious. It’s quite amazing how veggies taste yum when cooked properly. I’m not vegetarian (obviously) but when it’s done well, vegetation food is equal to any carnivore themed meal.

      I don’t think many people know about the ramps in the black cabs but I’d seriously move there just for that reason (and M&S even though I have one near me in Paris;)).

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