"Welcome," began the girl. "I'm afraid our suites are taken so you will need to stay at the Byron room. It's right on the second level."
I was holding tight to Mike's hand. The out of the way bed and breakfast without a sign was small and looked more like a humble home than a place that provided accommedations for strangers.
Martin broke in, "We have cocktails in the main room tonight at seven."
We glanced to out left and saw the main room and pretty much gasped. I am not sure how I would describe this room. It was like looking at a well preserved room from the seventeenth century in a museum but without the velvet rope to keep you out. It turned out Martin Miller was involved in the world of beautiful antiques. My fear of being robbed or kidnapped was quickly replaced with the fear of breaking a hundred year old vase.
Martin quickly disappeared as the young girl checked us and filled us with the details of the bed and breakfast. She also asked how we found the bed and breakfast--we mentioned Captain Bucko, and we climbed the tiny stairs to our room.
The Byron room was yellow and blue and once again, tiny. The difference, just about every item in the room was a lovely antique. Even the giant quilt on the bed looked different. The one weird thing--the bathtub was also antique. Clawfooted and stand-alone, the tub was beautiful but I was more concerned as to how I was going to shower--dragging bags through the Tube is a workout, trust me.
When the girl left the room, we began to unload our bags.
"See, "Mike grinned. "I told you."
"Yeah, yeah," I smiled and gave him a kiss.
After finding a way to clean up in the tub, we got dressed and decided to check out the cocktails downstairs. We were expecting one or two people, but let me tell you the place was packed. And these folks were dressed. We walked in and were handed wine. Really, really really, good French wine.
My ever social new husband began to introduce himself to the various guests, almost all good friends of Martin stopping by before hitting the town. In about 20 minutes, we met a publisher, author, artist, professor and other incredibly interesting people. At moments I felt like we were in a different world, sitting on a chair more than likely 200 years old, drinking some awesome wine and speaking with truly successful Londoners. We were beyond the infamous velvet rope. There was no other place we wanted to be but then we were hungry.
We ended up bidding farewell to the guests as checked out the Brazillian Meat restaurant next to the b and b. When we arrived, we were a bit nervous. The place was fairly empty and it was 7:30 pm. Our fears were reduced when we saw the food. Maybe Britain wasn't into the big stick of meat. But by nine, the place was standing room only with a line out the door. Again, we noticed the lingering diners that were engrossed in their conversations-not their plates. We decided to do as they did and lingered at our table soaking in the atmosphere and our own conversation.
Back at the b and b, cocktail hour was still going strong with new guests. After our long trk through London and knowing we wanted to hit lots of sights the following day, we opted to head to our room.
By midnight, I am pretty sure every actor and actress who performed on London's West Side was in the main room. There was singing (incredible singing even if I was tired), laughing and crashing of empty bottles dumped in the trash. We both fell asleep to the sounds, almost like a lullaby.
In the morning, we saw empty bottles everywhere as I young boy was setting up for breakfast. The breakfast room was sadly nothing special but they had some quick meals and we were pleased. (Side note--the website shows a breakfast room now--we did not have this; guess we need to go back). Our breakfast companion was a younger man from Colorado. He was on business regarding an internet start up he was working on.
"Can you believe you found this place?" he began as he took a swig of his coffee (the coffee was in beautiful tea cups).
"No, "Mike laughed. "how did you hear about it?"
"My boss has a friend who knows the guy. And you?"
So we told our new friend the tale of Captain Bucko. He listened and then stood up, grinning.
"That's so cool," he shook our hands and left. He was in a hurry to get to a flight.
I looked over at Mike and noticed he had yellow streaks in his hair. Apparently, antique pillows should not be laid on after a shower.
After cleaning off some fabric bleeds, we headed off for a day of site seeing. We had to see as much as possible--we would be joining our tour in Zurich tomorrow. And who knows who else we might meet?