Cats. According to one of my misquoted sources, they run the internet. What I can confirm is that one definitely runs our home – and I just had to put together a list of the best cats in London – both real and sculptural. They’re historical, mischevious, know exactly how to wrap their humans around their paw, and are really rather cute.
– Kaspar the Cat at The Savoy Hotel, The Strand –
Not only does he have a restaurant named after him, but walk past the entrance to the famous 5-star Savoy hotel on The Strand and you will see a topiary cat. Kaspar’s story begins with the legend of an 1898 dinner at the Savoy given for 14 guests by a South African diamond tycoon. One of the diners was unable to attend, leaving the number of guests an unlucky 13, and another diner predicted that whoever first left the table would soon die. The first to leave was Joel, who died a few weeks later in Johannesburg. After this, the hotel offered to seat a member of its staff at tables of 13 to ward off bad luck
I blearily cracked open an eyelid – my proper first view of a London morning was framed by the bright red struts of a dorm room bunk bed. I was finally here, and I knew my first job was finding a flat to rent in London. Disclosure: This post was commissioned by Nestpick, who work with more than 1 million listings from 100 trusted partners to provide expats with the biggest selection of mid-to-long term furnished apartments for rent on the internet.
When I arrived in the UK 13 years ago, I had booked my (relatively expensive) temporary accommodation in a hostel on the recommendation of my Travel Agent for a couple of days of as a stop-gap, so that I could start to get my bearings in the city.
My Dearest London,
I feel like I’ve said why I live in London a hundred different times and in a hundred different ways. After all this time I utterly adore you. Even when you drive me crazy. It’s all your fault.
After exclaiming at my British accent (for some reason I seem to be at pains to tell people I am of antipodean origin) people always ask me how I ended up living on the other side of the world. It’s a strange combination of a gypsy soul, an obsession for old buildings and the unusual feeling of homecoming on Heathrow tarmac despite never setting foot on English soil before. But the reason for staying is you (plus a bloke and green-eyed cat which are both definitely your fault.)
In some respects I have a ridiculously long memory: flavours, kindnesses, lyrics to 90s pop songs, houses that have friendly cats. It’s also in respect to restaurants that I fancy visiting. and Galvin at Windows is somewhere that had been on my list for more than an age.
We just hadn’t quite gotten around to booking a table, but luckily my Mr Kiwi has an even longer memory than me (or is just more susceptible to hints) so for my birthday, he treated me to a million dollar view over London – and a Michelin starred dinner to boot.
We’ve all done it. Booked a crazy early flight, or a flight that lands so late that you’ll struggle to get the last train from Stansted Airport and across London to get home. It’s taken me years not to trust the ‘oh, it’ll be ok’ thought when booking and settle on one hotel where to stay near Stansted Airport.
I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to step off a plane late at night and walk through the foyer of the Hampton by Hilton hotel. Or, wake up early in the morning between the crisp, fresh sheets and meander over to the Airport check-in desks.