Last Sunday we tried to write a post and I had almost finished quite a long one but the computers here at the internet place were playing up and being really slow (as all the local devout muslim boys were in here looking up not so devout websites, and slowing everything down) and I was just about to click post – when they shut all the computers off! It was only 10:25 too, not even 10:30 yet.
So anyway here’s what we did the week before last!
On Saturday we did a walk through Bloomsbury, the location where the bohemians used to live, although there’s no way that anyone vaguely bohemian could afford to live there now. We saw the site of the house where Virginia Woolf lived, although it was bombed in the war (clearly intellectual feminists were not liked by the enemy either) so there’s only a posh hotel there now. We walked to the British Museum, and I don’t think it could ever “lose its charm” as in the Gershwin song. It’s huge, and so full of interesting stuff I could spend days in there. There is also the new covered court, basically a donut shaped space around the circular reading room, with a new glass roof by Norman Foster (well who else would it be in London, he gets all the high profile projects!) and the reading room itself was fantastic, all old wooden panels and shelves and padded topped desks, and a list of famous people who all used to frequent the place to broaden their reading horizons. We went through parts of the mesopotamian and egyptian exhibits and I got to see mummies and sarcophagi and all sorts of cool things! Didn’t even get to the Rosetta stone though let alone the rest of the museum, so we will have to go back… Justin got so irritated with me reading all the information signage about almost every item on display, but if you’re going to do something do it right I say.
Saturday night we were going to meet up with friends and do the touristy Jack the Ripper walk through the East End but Tube mayhem thwarted our plans. We were supposed to meet at 7 at Tower Hill station but at that time we were still at Trafalgar Square and they were at Liverpool Street station. Half the tube lines were closed, some were partially closed or delayed, and the rest were so full of people there were queues back to the escalators. So we made a quick foray into figuring out the bus system and managed to get ourselves to the right place by 7:30 which was when the walk was going to start. Poor Dave and Sal however, while starting off closer to the goal than us had caught the wrong bus and were now at London Bridge, south of the river, and one bridge further away than they needed to be. As the crowd queueing for the walk appeared to be already up at the 60 plus number we all decided to ditch that plan and meet for dinner instead, so by 8pm we were all in the one place at the one time, nearly 2 hours after setting out to meet each other, and had a lovely curry dinner together. On the whole, public transport has been ok but that was rather an eye opener into when things can go wrong, lucky we weren’t on our way to an important interview or a performance or something as there’s not much you can do about it. Even mobiles don’t work underground so you can’t let anyone know. Our line, the Hammersmith and City line (or as the announcers on the platform in the mornings say – “the ‘ammersmiff and ci’y line, stoppin’ awl stayshuns to ‘ammersmiff”) is pretty reliable, just really slow compared to some of the other ones. We now affectionately refer to it as the Tortoise line, it may be slow but it gets there in the end. The lights flick on and off the whole time, so we think the train driver up in the front is entertaining himself by flicking the lights on and off and making scary ghost sounds. Speaking of public transport we had another episode, this time on a bus on Monday night, which is currently being recounted in an amusing manner in Justin’s script – refer to his for that story!
So now this weekend… yesterday we went to Greenwich, and I believe he has covered this too already but I will as well, adding the factual stuff to the entertainment. We got there by DLR – docklands light rail – which is a fancy name for a fairly average form of transport, kind of a cross between the tube and a tram, and goes mainly overground. The docklands is a recent upgrade of the old docks areas of the East End, which I have been reading about in a book from the local library. Well the book was about the East End not the docks per se, but they were mentioned. Apparently the Thames used to be so crammed with trading ships that you could walk across it from deck to deck without getting your feet wet. The docks were obviously a target during the war so were bombed pretty thoroughly so more recently they have been demolishing the remnants of the warehouses and turning it into a business area. Not a particularly pretty one but anyway, we went through there to Greenwich which was great, the Royal Observatory was fantastic, looking at all the telescopes and quadrants and clocks from hundreds of years ago. If anyone has read Dava Sobel’s book Longitude, the four pendulum-free / seaworthy clocks invented by John Harrison are all on display and operating which was fantastic! So anyway we now have very accurate watches as we set them by the dropping of the big red ball at 1pm.
Anway must go now before everything crashes and I lose everything again. We will post some photos soon, maybe even big enough to see them. Bye!