06 September 2007

Thursday 6 September

I decided to follow Amy’s specific for-a-day instructions. Luckily, the tube strike has been called off and I haven’t run into any troubles whatsoever. I got off at the London Bridge stop, walked west until I ran into Southwark Cathedral (pronounced “Suthek”). There I saw a window for Chaucer, a memorial to Shakespeare, a nice organ, etc. Then I walked to the Globe Theatre and bought two groundling tickets for “Love’s Labour Lost” next Wednesday. Walking along the Thames, I got a nice view of the city and ran into the Tate Modern, which had free admittance to most exhibits. Wow! I think that was the most complete modern art museum I’ve ever seen. The one in Boston was really cool, but the Tate Modern is like a battleship-looking building with five floors. No one could beat it. I saw LeWitt, Judd, Lye, Mondrian, Medalla (his bubbles fountain next to a marvelous view of the Thames), Soto, Beuys, Baccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Matisse Warhol, Johns, Lichtenstein, Richter, Rivera, Klee, and Frampton! I loved the timeline they had on the wall and wanted a copy, but you know me: if I can get it on the internet, why should I pay for clutter?

Then I crossed the Thames on the Millennium Bridge and went to St. Paul’s. Admittance was really expensive and I could see a lot of cool things from the desk, so I took a look around and went to eat a raisin biscuit (Dad’s two favorite things) on the “feed the birds” steps with two hundred other people and pigeons hopping around. On the London map that Marie gave me, it didn’t seem too far to the British Library, so I started walking and walking and walking. (Tube fares add up quickly, especially going to Tooting.) I discovered that I had been looking at the British Museum on the map and the library was even more to the north and back a few blocks. I’d made it this far, so I kept walking, reading my book as I walked. I got to the point where I just couldn’t read it anymore! It was so cheesy, worse than Tess of the D’urbervilles! Sentence after sentence about physical touch and swiftly-swinging emotions, blah blah blah . . . I guess the exact things that made me not like it as much are what make teenage girls like it. Give me some depth!

I stopped at the Wellcome Collection and decided to go back when Alana’s done with her exam. That way she can see the heart exhibit. When I finally made it to the library, my feet were on fire. I figure I walked about five miles. I was amazed at the conserved collection there: they had music written by Rachmaninov (his second symphony), Handel’s Messiah, napkins whereon the Beatles wrote lyrics, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, things from Whitman, stamps from the recovering Germany, the first volume of Shakespeare, Captain James Cook’s journal, religious scriptures from all over (except Palmyra), Darwin’s notes, and two copies of the Magna Carte! The inside of the building was beautiful as you can see in the picture.

Eventually I went back to Tooting. Alana and I went jogging with the jogging club. They weren’t joggers. They were runners. Once we got through some neighborhoods of Wimbledon, Alana kindly let us turn back, leaving the group to fly. They were sick of waiting up for us anyway. It totally reminded me of Sister Barton’s observation that people wait up for the slow ones on hikes and once the slow ones arrive, they leave immediately, giving the slow ones no break. On the way back, Alana humored my wish to go into the cemetery and look around. We laughed about how most people travel to shop and eat and I travel to see churches (mostly for the organs), cemeteries, and libraries. After seeing a few nice gravestones, we turned to leave and discovered that the gates were locked! We couldn’t get out. For a few moments we surveyed the fences and found a nice spot close to a tree. Using our nicely stretched-out hamstrings we swung our feet up onto the top between spikes and jumped down, all while bicyclists and cars stared at us. Hilarious. Alana remarked that it would be really funny if we jumped out right as the other joggers were coming back.

We made some delicious prawn, tomato, and onion sauce to put on noodles. Then we made a cake for Jo’s friend’s birthday (Jo is another housemate). As I looked through the available cookbooks for a recipe, I eventually realized that when they say, “cake,” they don’t mean the basic fluffy thing with frosting on top that we mean. Jo pointed out a sandwich pastry thing with cream and jam in the middle. It turned out more like an American cake anyway. Tomorrow we’re putting cream and strawberries on top. Tonight I’ll sleep on the mattress that Alana has.

American accents are starting to sound foreign . . .

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you are having an amazing time. Lots to take in over a short period of time. In regards to "Twilight", I am now really nervous because I too gave in yesterday and bought the book for my India trip on many peoples recommendation. Yikes! I hope it's not all romantic swooning.