44 Curzon Street by
(309 Stories)

Prompted By Family Trips

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Our son Noah was 7 when we took him to London for the first time.   For our stay I  booked what was called a serviced flat at 44 Curzon Street in a lovely Mayfair neighborhood near Green Park.

We arrived late in the evening with a very sleepy kid in tow,  and my husband Danny carried him as we rode up in the elevator to our little flat.  Planning to put Noah to bed before we started unpacking or settling in ourselves,  I walked through the rooms with Danny following,  still carrying the sleeping child.

The flat was charming with a sitting room,  a small kitchen,  and a bedroom with a double bed.   In an alcove off the hall was a sweet little crib,   but in the flat we found no single bed for Noah.

I hurried down to the lobby to find the night clerk.

“When I booked the flat,” I said,  “ I requested a cot in the room for my son.”

“Yes madam“,   he said,   “I see in your reservation you requested a cot for the little one.   Didn’t you see the one we placed in the alcove?”

And so I learned that although we Americans say  “cot”  when we mean a small folding bed,  to the British a  “cot”  is an infant’s crib.

We laughed together at the misunderstanding and the clerk apologized,  saying at that late hour there was no one who could bring another bed to our rooms.

”I guess for one night we’ll have to manage three in the bed,  although that double bed looks a bit small for us all!”,  I said,  as I bid the clerk a good night.

“Wait madam,”   he said handing me a room key,  “there’s an empty flat across the hall from yours.   Your boy can sleep there tonight.”

And so on his first night abroad Noah slept all by himself in his very own flat.   Then we spent the rest of the week exploring London and brushing up on the King’s English.

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: London, Hotels
Characterizations: funny, moving


  1. Khati Hendry says:

    There must be a market somewhere for translating English into English. What a charming story. It sounds like a lovely holiday!

  2. Marian says:

    Aw, how cute … and yes, British is a different language sometimes. I recently edited an article about racing automobiles for a client written by a Brit, who referred to “boot” as the trunk and “bonnet” as the hood of the car.

  3. Suzy says:

    Very cute story. I love that Noah had his own flat for his first night in London. Weren’t you worried about him being in there all by himself?

  4. Laurie Levy says:

    I love this story of travel with the often-common language misunderstandings, even in a country that speaks English. Of course, this could also happen when traveling to different regions of the US.

  5. Betsy Pfau says:

    Cute story, Dana. I confess, your last comment brought Henry Higgins to mind, with the lyric (from “My Fair Lady”, “Why Can’t the English Teach Their Children How to Speak”), “The Scots and the Irish leave you close to tears. (In America, they haven’t used it in years.)”

    Now that my David is in a committed relationship with an English woman, I find I must pay close attention to what she says. As everyone points out, the languages are common, but not the same.

    • True, but at least in Britain one can pretty much read the menu!

      Where in Britain is David’s partner from?

      • Betsy Pfau says:

        Anna is London, born and bred, though her mother is American. The kids were in visiting us in June (they got their second Pfizer shot the afternoon after landing – YAY!), came with us to MV…before Dan’s accident, came back when we flew to Cincinnati for my nephew’s wedding. They went to Atlanta to see Anna’s 95 year old grandmother and aunt and uncle, then went up to NYC to see friends. They were back here last week before flying back to London on Saturday. Of course, we wound up here too, due to Dan’s unfortunate situation, but it was great to see them again, and at least I could pick them up when they arrived and take them to the airport when the left. Dan always perked up when they were around.

  6. Dave Ventre says:

    Always fun to read a story about the kindness of strangers!

  7. John Shutkin says:

    Really cute, Dana. And I must admit, though I pride myself on knowing the differences between the English and American languages, I never knew that meaning of “cot.” Though I just heard an American comedian rail about the Brits calling cookies “biscuits.”

  8. Laurie Levy says:

    Funny misunderstanding of the Queen’s English!

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