Thursday 30 September 2010

Haunted London, Bank Station.

Haunted London, Bank Station.

The next Ghostly encounter is said to be that of Sarah Blackhead also known as the Black Nun who may also be attributed to haunting at the bank of England. Phillip Whitehead, her brother and employed as a cashier he was executed for forgery in 1811. Sarah not believing his death waited outside the bank each evening dressed in black. She did this for forty years until her death. It is the Ghost of the Black Nun who today is said to searching the platforms for her brother.
Other incidents involve workers and travellers alike reporting foul smells or feelings of sadness, concern and Hopelessness (Must be Monday morning). This is without explanation other than the workings of the tunnel construction that may have dug through one of the many plague pits of London.

RAF Poem, Regent Palace History

The Regent Palace hotel played an important role in the lives of the soldiers sailors and airmen of the forces who fought in both wars, but probably more significantly in WW 2 I was reminded recently because if the 70th aniversary celebrations of the Battle of Britain of the poem written on Regent Palace Hotel note paper by Fl/Lt. Jack Skingley DFC the complete version I have shown below. The original handwritten poem is kept by his daughter we can only surmise as to the mood and circumstances surrounding its composition. They were very brave men and we can only never imagine what they went through, although this poem shares some inner thoughts.

Thought to part of a speech as it ends in a toast to Our Heroes

Our Heroes
by Fl/Lt. Jack Skingley DFC
missing July 1944 (written around this time)

Yonder star alive with merry light
Appears from Earth to be inanimate,
Yet think you not that in that distant sphere,
Live people much the same as here.

Do they know pain as we who suffer now,
Are their aims small as ours, which show
No wish to rise to greater heights
As Time strides on and the Recorder writes.

Look there!
The sun has thrust his rays,
To cap rock's majesty in growing blaze
While down below to mortal life it brings
A stealing glow - and things,
Which in the shadow of the eve
Gained magnitude, now die to leave
The thought that yester took but little joy from Life
When man can face the growing strife
Now prevalent in this troubled world
By honouring a Flag unfurl'd.

Those soldiers who paraded in the Past
Fought war and left Death's aftermath,
Their ghosts now stand with Youth to guide their feet,
To make it easier when the drummers beat
And Last Post sends its poignant prayer
Oh God, receive these Heroes in Thy Care

Oh God, I pray that it may be
That when our nation's history
Stands recorded in Truth's clear light
No blot appears to mar the sight
Of noble sacrifice by those who tried,
With Hope and Loyalty allied,
To stop a Monster's greed for power
And put an end to War for ever

Their loyalty unites in tempered band
True friendship proffered with unstinting hand.
If theirs to die the clasp is strong
The greater sacrifice, the better bond.

In vision clear as to their destiny
These men will fight for Right unceasingly,
So charge your cups
And stand in prideful pose
To drink a toast to Victory and to Those
Who counted not the price for Conquest paid
Unfaltered in their purpose firmly made,
To rid the World of horror and of vice,
They gave their lives, what Greater Sacrifice!

I give you 'Our Heroes'

Tuesday 28 September 2010

The Cumberland Hotel an Alternative to the Selfridge Hotel

The Selfridge Hotel is currently closed, the nearest comparable hotel we can highly recommend is the Cumberland Hotel. The location of the Hotel is a shortwalk away from Selfridge's and has a number of rooms with views of Hyde Park.

The Cumberland hotel, completed in the 1920s, The Impressive  hotel near Marble Arch and a stone's throw from Oxford Street and Hyde Park.
With more than 1,000 luxurious bedrooms, including Suites and Apartments, The Cumberland hotel is perfectly placed for shopping trips – the hotel overlooks Oxford Street, and Selfridges is just two minutes’ walk away – and the theatres of London’s West End. With the hotel near Marble Arch Tube station, and the mainline terminals at Victoria, Euston and Paddington within easy reach, it’s the ideal place to bring people together for business or pleasure.
The Cumberland hotel - part of the Guoman collection of 4- and 5-star London hotels. The location is one of London best areas. More Information and Booking
In keeping with the rest of the Guoman collection of 4- and 5-star London hotels, all the bedrooms at The Cumberland hotel have been meticulously designed to reflect the building’s individual architecture, style and character. Every room contains an original work of art, specially commissioned from one of Britain’s leading contemporary artists, adding a unique dimension to your stay.
Every bedroom, Suite and Apartment at The Cumberland hotel is air-conditioned, en-suite and has BT Openzone wireless internet access: your room rate also includes free use of our gym facilities. And with many rooms affording superb views over Hyde Park, The Cumberland hotel really will you a whole new perspective on the capital.
Facilities Available:
  • Hotel has Air Conditioning in all rooms
  • BT Openzone Wi-Fi
  • Cardiovascular Gym Access
  • Coffee and Tea Making Facilities
  • Complimentary Toiletries
  • Flat Screen LCD TV With Free View
  • Guest Bathroom and Toilet
  • Guoman Club Lounge Access
  • Hairdryer
  • Heated Bathroom Mirrors
  • King Sized Bed
  • Kitchen with Utensils
  • Power Shower
  • Room Safe
  • Separate Bedroom
  • Stationery
  • 24 Hour Room Service
  • Walk in Shower
  • Work Desk

The Cumberland Hotel an Alternative to the Selfridge Hotel

Friday 24 September 2010

Uk Tipping Guide

Tipping in The UK


Can you let us now the general guidelines for tipping in the UK. (Question sent from USA)


The UK can be a bit confusing about when you tip or not. Here is a brief guide to where you would or would not tip.

10% is the basic rule.

Breakfast Cafes
Generally speaking no tips are required here the UK is not like USA.
If you are ordering drinks and just bar food no tip will be expected.
No tips will be expected even if you order food from the counter that is then brought to the table. In Some cases better Pubs cross over to restaurant levels where you will be served at your table. You should tip in this case
If you are served at your table, order taken and the food brought to you should tip.
Service Charges and Tipping
Always look at the menu/receipt it will tell you that a service charge (normally 12.5%) has been added. In some cases this may only be applied to groups of x number. Most people in this case will pay the bill and leave no tip.
Tip added to credit card machine.
Beware the service charge and then an additional tip box in the card machine process.
You can add your tip to the card transaction or ask for just the bill value and leave a cash tip.
As a general rule use the round up pound in UK and London 10% guide. Eg. £5.30…then give £6.
Hotel porters
The better the hotel the more it will be expected to tip. As a rough guide £1-1.50 per bag, this is if the bags are taken to your room




Tipping is not always expected in the UK in the way it is in the United States or Canada. All staff in the UK, must by law, be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (£7.20/hr (From April 2016, lower rate applies to those under 21 years of age) whether they receive tips or not.  An employer is not allowed to use tips to top up wages to the legal minimum. Therefore, unlike in much of North America, the need and culture for tipping is much less. 


It is not a requirement to tip in taxis, but it is customary to round up to the nearest pound on metered taxi journeys, more as a convenience to both passenger and driver than as a tip.
On an airport journey in a booked minicab you might wish to tip two or three pounds if the driver helps with your luggage.  If taking a licenced London taxi cab to or from Heathrow or in London a 10% tip is the average amount, although as in the previous paragraph, it is not a requirement, nor should it be expected by the driver.
There is a big difference between a taxi (usually a black cab) and a mini-cab. Anyone who can drive can become a mini-cab driver whereas taxi drivers have received a lengthy training, tend to know their way and serve better. However, the price of a black cab is usually markedly steeper than that of other services, and some will refuse to tip on these grounds.

Takeaway food

If your food is delivered to your hotel or apartment, tipping is not required, but the delivery driver would obviously appreciate a pound, or some/all of the change as appropriate, as a tip. Some customers tip, some do not.
If you pick up the food from the takeaway restaurant, tipping would not be inappropriate. Don't do it.

Fast food, cafes and coffee shops

No tips are ever offered in fast food restaurants.
In a cafe, you may receive waitress service to bring your tea, coffee, sausages, or whatever you have ordered to the table. In these establishments tipping is not usual. If you feel the service has been especially pleasant you can leave a pound, or your change in appreciation.
In coffee shops, such as Starbucks, there may be a tip jar on the counter, but very few customers offer tips.
In casual cafeterias, where you collect your food and place it on a tray, commonly found in tourist attractions, tipping is never appropriate. 


In casual restaurants, where you pay for your order at a counter, but food is brought to your table, tipping is uncommon. You are welcome to leave a pound or two if you wish.  
In restaurants where you place your order with your waiter/waitress and receive food, and your bill, at your table, it is usual to tip around 10%. The expectation does vary from place to place - in fine dining restaurants where you receive personal service, a tip would always be expected (while never compulsory, it would be considered rude unless there was a problem with the service), whereas in the most casual of restaurants tipping is not universal.
If you have been unhappy with the service, you should not leave a tip. 
In some restaurants, a service charge is added to the bill, typically 10% or 12.5%. This should be noted on the menu, sometimes only for larger groups. If it is not then the restaurant is acting unlawfully and it would be appropriate to object, to ask that it be removed. If you are otherwise unhappy with the service, you should also request that it be removed, explaining your unhappiness.
In any case where a service charge is added, or the menu notes 'service included', be aware that this may or may not be passed on to the waiting staff. In such cases you can ask your waiter/waitress, and they will usually be more than happy to answer. Beware that in some cases a service charge may appear on your bill, and if you pay by credit card the machine may then ask if you want to add a tip. You will find that cash is preferred, as certain establishments will take a portion of the tip as a 'transaction' fee (and many will deduct Income Tax from tips collected through card payments).
In some cases a restaurant may print 'service not included' on the bill or menu. This is a request for a 'tip'! You are not obligated to offer anything, but 10% would be normal in this scenario if the service warranted any sort of tip.. 
Keep your voice down! The British do notice if someone's voice is raised and if other people can hear your conversation, they will think you are very rude. Most won't say anything but you may be subject to hard stares and tuts. 

Pubs and bars

Bartenders in pubs and bars do not expect to be tipped. If however you have developed a rapport with the barman you can buy him a drink, by saying 'and one for yourself', which is an offer that they buy a drink for themselves, although since this may not be permitted, they would take it as a tip of around £1. This is far from typical, and would be inappropriate for instance, on your first visit to the bar.


As with anywhere in the world, a porter bringing your bags to your room expects to receive a cash tip. Around £2 would be reasonable. 
You should not tip room service bringing food/drinks to your room.
A few guests choose to leave a tip for their chambermaid, and this would be considerate especially if you have left a mess in your room, but it is not a requirement.
In smaller hotels and guesthouses tipping is not expected as they tend to be family run establishments. Such places appreciate repeat custom or positive feedback on recommendation sites.

Massage, hair and other services

In the UK the price you pay for a spa treatment is all-inclusive. You are not expected to secrete money somewhere about your person in order to tip your masseur!

If you get a hair cut, tipping is common but not universal/required. Tip around 10%, in cash, rounded to the nearest pound, if you are happy with the service.

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