Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Flying visit to London

It seems to take longer and longer to catch from a quick trip away. Anyway, last Wednesday we travelled to London after work. I spent Wednesday morning scampering around packing and doing last minute stuff (like buying diesel, booking a parking place and making sure there would be food to come home to), then I taught for an hour before hurrying home. G was waiting ready to set off and the drive to the station was uneventful, no floods or anything to prevent us arriving on time.

The journey went smoothly, though we did have to change twice and go via Stafford. The online booking system is a bit obsessed with sending you the quickest route whereas to be honest, I don't mind waiting 20 minutes for a connection because it gives time to pop into the loo and/or buy a snack. It also allows time so that you're not worried f the train is a minute or two late or you have to walk from one end of the station to the other to get to the right platform. Anyway, we caught both connections OK and the hotel was only a short walk from Euston, right opposite the British Library in fact.

Next morning we checked out and we were pleased the hotel had a luggage room where we could leave the suitcase. That saved having to pay to leave it in the left luggage at Euston. The main reason for the trip was that G wanted to attend a one day maths education conference. Meanwhile I planned to visit the Celts exhibition at the British Museum.

For some reason, on our last trip to London, there had been a slight glitch with the Oyster card and the system owned us £3. In order to collect this, I got the Tube for a couple of stops to Goodge Street and then had a little explore down Oxford Street before heading for the museum. Exiting from the Tube station, there was a huge crowd of people waiting for the lift. There was also a spiral staircase with a sign saying, "For emergency use only." I saw a couple of people disappear up the staircase and I decided that, to a claustrophobe, a huge crowd and a packed lift was sufficiently like an emergency to entitle me to use it. I started off at a good speed, but ran out of puff towards the top, but I made it, all 136 stairs!

Construction work, Oxford Street, London

Construction work, Oxford Street, London

One end of Oxford Street is a bit of a mess at the moment. It's overrun with construction sites. I think this will be new shops, but there's also a huge hole which is part of the Cross Rail construction. Oxford Street was a bit disappointing. The downside of all the chain stores is that towns all start to look alike. The upside is that even if you life in the back of beyond, the nearest Large PlaceTM will have much the same choice as the sort of shops you find on Oxford Street.

Once I'd had enough of looking at the shops, I headed for the British Museum. I know that area pretty well and only went slightly astray when I exited from the wrong corner of Bedford Square. However, that did lead me to see what must have been a very important person indeed because he (probably "he") merited 4 police outriders on motorcycles and an SUV with blue flashing lights surrounding his very elegant and expensive looking but very discreetly un-ostentatious saloon car.

I bought a ticket for the Celts exhibition, but had a while to wait before they'd let me in, but it was almost lunchtime anyway, so I ate in one of the museum cafes.

I'd hoped that I'd be able to take my weekly themed photo while in London, and indeed I found just the thing!

African door post

48/52 for the group 2015 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: U is for Ugly

This is a door post from Africa. Originally it stood outside the men's hut and was supposed to look ferocious and warlike, presumably to reflect the inhabitants. It's now in the British Museum. I actually think it looks a bit sad and lonely, but it is indubitably ugly.

African door post

I spent 2½ hours slowly wandering around the exhibition about the Celts. It was nice to see the Gundestrup Cauldron again. I'd seen it when we visited Copenhagen. They also had an interesting array of torcs, brooches, weapons, horse accoutrements etc. I rather liked the bronze pony cap (to protect the poll) that some young Celtic warrior had added curly horns to. I suspect he thought it made his chariot ponies look really cool.

When I finally emerged from the Celtic twilight (the exhibition had swathes of grey chiffon hanging from the ceiling that were, perhaps, to represent clouds and mist, I couldn't face looking at any more things, so I sat quietly for a while and read a book until it was time to go and collect the case from the hotel, meet G and catch the train home.

British Museum

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