Mind The Gap

I’m writing this from Ashley’s flat (her flat!) in London. We just got back from the Victoria and Albert Museum, where one of the guards laughed out loud at my attempts to try on a kimono at the try-on-a-kimono station right by Textiles. We very much enjoyed the medieval rooms and the banks of cases of different embroideries, but were sad to find that the Fashion and Jewellery exhibits were closed. Right now it’s dark and rainy outside but we’re all very cosy and happy here.

It’s been a wonderful trip so far. I got in Sunday morning and Tom and Ash were right there to pick me up and take me home on the Tube (the Tube!). I have, in fact, spent an inordinate amount of time on public transportation since then. Every time I manage to get on the right train going in the right direction I mentally pat myself on the back. “Good job, self, “ I think, whenever I make it to my destination without severe scarring or having fallen to my death in the gap between the train and the platform. “You are certainly a citizen of the world, you with your weekly travelcard. Stand right!”

So far it’s been a really nice mixture of touristy-stuff and not-so-touristy stuff…it’s so convenient to have a home base full of people and to be able to choose to be social or by myself. I’ve been able to get to know some of the kids for whom Tom and Ashley are, essentially, house parents. They have all been very welcoming and fun to hang out with, buying me mulled wine tea (YUM) and telling me all the reasons why their respective hometowns are infinitely better than London. Wednesday night we all went to Covent Garden for carol singing on their part and much picture taking on mine, when my recalcitrant camera felt like cooperating and actually taking pictures. There is no way to anticipate when and of what the camera will feel like taking a picture. It could happen at any time and there is no rhyme or reason to its quirks. I have a pretty difficult relationship with this camera.

Yesterday I took the train to lovely Bath to visit a friend and to revel in the faded glories of the Roman Baths. While I certainly enjoyed looking at piles of rocks and sulfurous bubbling pools of water, I have to say that the best part was this computer animation of two very naked Roman dudes jumping into a big round pool for a little R and R. The video ended before anything really interesting happened, but judging from the lovingly rendered detail of these guys’ naughty bits., it didn’t take too much imagination to guess what happened after the cameras stopped rolling. “Oooh, Marcellus, is that a Corinthian pillar or are you just glad to see me?” Baomp chick-a-bow-wow!!

I’m really enjoying listening to all the various accents, although I have to concentrate pretty hard not to imitate them inadvertently. On the plane I sat next to a very nice Irish couple from Ireland and in my anxiety to not offend them I ended up overcompensating and talking in a terrible Texas accent: “ Now, was this y’all’s first time in the States? Did yew just loooooooooooove your cruise”? I haven’t been able to bring myself to announce that I’m going to the toilet whenever I go to the bathroom but I’m well on my way to meeting my goal of replacing “y’all” with “you lot.” All I have to do now is start every phrase with “Sorry” and end it with “Cheers, mate,” and I’m all set.

Ashley’s making Christmas cards and I’m going to knit a little while before we head out to see Holly Hunter in Bog of Cats. We’ll spend the rest of the weekend doing a couple more semi-touristy things (I still haven’t had fish and chips yet, for example) and I’m seeing an old friend from college on Sunday, and then it’s time to come home on Monday, where I will have another entire week off. I love vacation. I love London. Cheers mates!

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