Friday, 17 February 2017

A Valentines Day Outing to Peckham

This month Chris finally received notification of a long-awaited appointment at Kings College Hospital in London. Because of his continuing debilitating diabetic hypos, Chris had requested an upgrade to his insulin pump, and this was not available locally. Not daring to trust the trains, we decided to stay overnight the evening before, which just happened to be February 14th    when rooms were particularly expensive.
And so it was that Chris and I found ourselves pulling a small wheeled suitcase from Peckham Rye station through the ethnically diverse shopping area, as we headed for our budget hotel. There was sadly no time to explore the interesting markets, but on another occasion we would like to do so. Finding the Peckham Road was easy, but we struggled to locate the hotel. In the end, we asked advice in the modern library, and were directed towards Camberwell.

The Best Western Peckham was situated about five minutes walk from the centre of Peckham, close to the Camberwell College of Art. At only £69 for a double room including breakfast, we were not expecting luxury. The hotel was housed in a converted Victorian building with bizarrely themed rooms, based on the TV programme ‘Only Fools and Horses'. A Reliant Robin was positioned like a statue at the front of the hotel.

The steps to the entrance were steep, but we later noticed a ramp at the rear of the hotel for use by people with mobility difficulties.

 The reception area itself was impressive with extremely helpful staff and a well designed glass fronted lift.

We were in room 116 on the lower ground floor. When we entered our room, we realised why our accommodation was so inexpensive. The conversion had crammed as many bedrooms as possible into the building. This meant that our bedroom was so narrow that the double bed was pushed against a wall with no room for a bedside cabinet on one side. I had to climb onto the bed to reach up and close the curtains in the tall basement windows. I would not recommend this room for anyone elderly or with any physical disability.
That said, the bed was large and comfortable with quality pillows and bedding, and the room was immaculately clean. There was an adequate en suite shower and toilet with medium sized towels. The TV service on the flat screen TV was good. The air conditioning was very efficient, albeit somewhat noisy. WiFi was free and fast.

While we were staying, the hotel was not serving evening meals, though a restaurant was planned. This left us with the option of ordering a takeaway, grabbing some fast food in Peckham, or strolling to nearby Camberwell to explore the greater variety of eateries. However, we then discovered a hidden gem of a restaurant three doors away from the hotel. This licensed eatery, without name, served  delicious inexpensive made to order pizzas and garlic bread.
The entire client base seemed to consist of young university and art students.......and us! I suspected that our appearance within such  company was unusual, but the students were more than happy to chat to us as we sat amongst them eating at the long and rustic wooden tables.

The following day we went for breakfast in the hotel basement. We had to remind the young lady on the door, that our continental breakfast was included in room rate, but otherwise all ran smoothly. The venue was pleasant with a good variety of breads, cereals and fruit, and an unlimited supply of coffee.

The taxi ride to the hospital cost £10.  This blog is not intended to focus on hospitals, but I just want to add that we were so impressed with the positive attitude and efficiency of the medical staff at Kings. Chris and I both felt that he was genuinely listened to, and plans for his new sensor pump were swiftly put in place.

So our journey to Peckham proved to be both interesting and worthwhile.

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