- We went, at last, to the British Library. Despite its modern facade, there were many impressive old things inside that, naturally, one cannot take pictures of. But we did see many original manuscripts of things like Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Alice in Wonderland and Jane Eyre. We also saw Jane Austen's writing desk, Handel's Messiah and the Magna Carta. All of these things reaffirmed my belief that most penmanship these days is pretty wretched.
- On Wednesday we made our final foray into the theatre district to see Starlight Express. Unfortunately we were about 8 years late so we saw Wicked instead. There was a brief kerfuffle at the ticket pickup when the (always)* crabby attendant refused to accept Mr. Graham's signature as genuine, despite the fact that he has one of the most consistent signatures I've ever seen. Apparently she just wanted to make extra sure it was really Mr. Graham and not his Wicked-loving evil twin. No, really. That was the reason. ANYway, so we went to the show and it was all spectacular and the cast was good. The show itself has too many girls and too many belty girl songs for me and my ears, but Mr. Graham had a great time. It did make the effects of Phantom and Les Mis look even more dated by comparison.
- On Thursday all three of us travelers went to the British Museum. Caity hadn't been yet, and it was a much more pleasant experience this time for us. No crowds, no sweltering heat, huzzah! This time we went upstairs and saw the rest of the Egyptian collection as well as the Anglo-Saxon things. We saw the Mildenhall Treasure, which I was pretty excited about since I recently read about it in Roald Dahl's The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.** I was also excited to see the Sutton Hoo objects. I'm pretty sure I wrote a paper about Sutton Hoo, but for the life of me I cannot remember what it was about. I definitely remember writing a paper about this though: It was a pretty bad paper, but it was also my last and I just wanted to graduate (sorry, Dr. Finlayson, that you had to read it).
- Friday we made another trip to the National Gallery because it was one of the few places that I really, really wanted to see again. We stayed for a few hours and I bought more postcards. When we got home we watched the last two episodes of the latest IT Crowd season, and one episode was like XD and the other was like o.O
- Saturday started with a run and the progressed into running about from one place to another. We went to see the Marble Arch at Hyde Park, along with the giant horsehead, before going for lunch at the Orangery. Mr. Graham got the Ploughman, which we understood to be a sandwich, but we were a little bewildered as to how it all went together. We must have been feeling extravagant because we got dessert too. I got the lemon crunch cake because I was imagining candied lemon peel and some delectable frosting. Alas, it was simply pound cake with a sugar sort of topping. Mr. Graham had better luck with the Orangery cake.
- After the Orangery, we went to Hampstead Heath, which is basically a large, wild sort of park. We tromped up and down hills and wandered through many little woodlands and felt pleasantly isolated. On the way home we stopped at Wagamama for dinner, but both agreed it was overpriced and not particularly amazing. What WAS amazing though was the most recent episode of Project Runway which we watched later. It was possibly the greatest runway judging I have seen on that show.
- Our Sunday plans were up in the air for a long while because we couldn't decide on going to Yorkshire or not. In the end we decided not to go because the amount of train time and cost required were pretty high for the amount of time we'd be able to spend there. Next time, York, next time. Instead we hit three museums: the science museum, the natural history museum and the Tate Britain. The Science Museum was mostly a snooze, but we did check out the IMAX Deep Sea movie. I was hoping it would be a domed IMAX screen because those are the best, but it was just a bit curved. I told Mr. Graham that we will go to the St. Louis Science Center over Christmas and he will see just how cool a science museum can be (so cool)! We did have fun in the veterinary history exhibit, which was the size of a small bedroom and probably hasn't changed in 15 years.
- The natural history museum was much more entertaining with its collections of dead creatures. The real winner of the day was the Tate Britain. It was much smaller than the National Gallery, but it was a pleasant smallness. They had a great collection that included some really lovely Pre-Raphaelite paintings, among them one of my least favorite paintings in the world, The Awakening Conscience: Blargh.
*I can say always because we have encountered her several times, and she is always sulky and unhelpful (not to mention suspicious of signatures).
**I love to recommend a few stories in this book, though there are several that I am ho-hum about and one that kind of makes me recoil. The non-fiction ones are the best: Lucky Break, A Piece of Cake and The Mildenhall Treasure. Even (or maybe especially) if you don't like Roald Dahl, you should read those because they're quite fascinating.