Family Carriage. I never knew such horrors existed.
On reflection, I suppose it's a good thing to isolate all chattering and whining moppets in one carriage, although not such a good thing to discover that your online seat booking has placed you firmly in the middle of it. More happily, the annoying ones had all gone by Newton Abbott, so the majority of the journey up was peaceful. And amazingly, on time - we had to keep waiting at stations because we were arriving early (I felt this was of note, being a phenomenon never before experienced and probably never to be repeated).
And they came in a Serenity bag. I'm easily pleased.
Met up with J. at Paddington, and due to combination of tube problems and HUGE ticket queues, proceeded to walk to Oxford Street, and the Forbidden Planet. Buying several books (including Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth - signed. Hah!) to add to an already stuffed rucksack to proceed carrying across London may not have been the brightest idea, but boy it was satisfying. Why can't we have shops like this in Cornwall dammit? Rooms full of things I want and can't afford to buy all at once.
Next stop, lunch, or tea, or something, no idea what the time was, less so after two pints. Double burger with bacon and cheese, onion rings and chips. And it's taken me this long to work out why the name (big bite see).
Wot No Zombies?
The evening saw an excursion to the Winchester (which the one in Shaun of the Dead was based on) which happens to be the local of choice. No zombies, but a rather strange man gyrating to the juke box in his own little world. I like London, you feel so safely anonymous because there's always someone around weirder than you for people to stare at.
Transuranic heavy elements may not be used where there is life.
The evening also saw the start of what would be (for me at least, by the time I went home on Monday) seven hours' worth of Sapphire & Steel watching. Well, I've only got the second one, had to grasp the opportunity...
Gothic Nightmares, Giant Naked Statues, and a Tyrannosaurus
Sunday started promisingly, with a cafe fry up and a watching of The Two Doctors. We proceeded to the Tate, and the Gothic Nightmares exhibition thence sausage and mash in the Hoop and Toy pub in South Kensington, before going to the V&A, which I'd never been in before (as the last time I was in the vicinity you had to pay about £7 to get in). Impressive galleries of plaster casts of famous monuments and statues and doorways, including Trajan's Column (huge), Michelangelo’s David (also huge - had no idea) and my favourite pieces which were casts of Scandinavian doorways and pillars with intricate Viking carving of trees and beasts and so on.
Nipped next door to the Natural History Museum to see the animatronic T Rex (in his natural environment of dry ice). Although I still think that if you're going to all that trouble you should make one the size of a double decker bus, as illustrated on your panels... We then got trapped in some sort of stuffed mammal time loop, never has so long been taken to escape from a motheaten hyrax.
Back to Highgate, rather footsore, for an evening of jaffa cakes, tea, Joanna Lumley and David McCallum. J had to leave for Chichester (for work in the morning), and requesting of the landlord that I be let out of the building in the morning resulted in me being handed a bunch of keys for what appeared to be every room in the house, with the instruction to stick them back through the letter box. Trusting sorts, these Londoners.
Just time for a final S&S session, then found my way back to the cafe for breakfast, before venturing in the direction of the British Museum. Upon exiting the tube, made the mistake of following the signs, which ended up making me walk as far as the previous tube stop I'd just gone though. Retraced steps back to Russell Square and found a proper map and the back entrance, giving me about an hour for a quick perusal. Spent most of this looking at a handily situated display of ethnographic stuff from New Guinea and other islands, including a statue from Easter Island.
Then it was back to Paddington and the train home, where this time I discovered my seat to be in a carriage where every single light was flickering in a migraine-inducing frenzy. Fortunately, managed to find an unreserved forward-facing seat in the next carriage, and also inadvertently managed to look cross enough when someone wanted to sit next to me that they went elsewhere (there weren't exactly a shortage of seats).
All in all, a fabulous weekend, and even better I have two further days off work to recover!
Other random things that it pleased me to see:
- A pink stretch limo
- New Scotland Yard
- Mornington Crescent tube station
- Nose cone pieces of a EuroStar, like a build-it-yourself train
- MI5 building
- The London Eye (minus Autons)