Saturday, 16 October 2010

Middle Day in London - Wednesday, 13th October 2010

Since we decided to go to London I've been looking forward to this day. It's the Big One for me. The Science Museum.

But first there was the Cold Shower Question to be answered. Chef was first up and braved the shower on our floor - but it was cold. He went to the ones downstairs and, wonder of wonders, they were working, unoccupied and hot. After he'd used the shower, the Gruesomes braved them followed by yours truly.

This time we had decided to try for a full English. Chef had asked the Hostel staff and we'd been given directions. We duly arrived at the place, which was a posh-looking restaurant/café advertising the Full english for NINE POUNDS! Still, we thought, we're on our jollies. In we went, and ordered. Full English for him. Full English for Gruesome #1, Scrambled eggs on toast for #2 and Porridge for me (it was sunny but chilly).

Chef was a little depressed due to England having drawn nil-nil with Montenegro the evening before, so we weren't talking much about sport. Luckily the TV in the bar was tuned to BBC news which had wall-to-wall coverage of the rescue of the Chilean miners. Yaayyy.

The breakfast was very good, if a tad on the expensive side once coffee and juice had been factored in - but at least we probably wouldn't need lunch...

And off we trotted to the Science Museum. This time we walked down Earls Court Road, then along Cromwell road until we reached the museum. Unlike the previous day, the crowd was relatively small - but ten minutes after opening time we were all still there, shuffling our feet and tapping our watches. Finally a museum employee came up behind us and said that we'd have to go in through the out door - causing Chef much hilarity and the Gruesomes much eye rolling "do you know as song about everything?")

Our tactic was to go to the top - well, the third floor, and work our way down. The Launchpad is a hands on introduction to science - physics mostly, and was a huge hit but not only with the GGruesomes. The staff are great and we stayed there for well over an hour. Highlight for the Gruesomes appeared to be when we were all in front of the thermal imaging camera and my nose was noticeably freezing cold. Next to that part, though, was a collection of scientific instruments made for and owned by George III. Of particular interest to me were some pieces of Herschel's telescope (eyepieces) as I've just read a really good book about the Age of Wonder and the beginnings of the Royal Society.

Before we left that floor we allowed ourselves to be mugged... sorry, stopped for a coffee and millionaire's shortbread...

It really is my favourite museum in the whole world, hands down better than anything else (although Magna in Rotherham and Techniquest in Cardiff both come quite close for being very interesting and making Science Interesting to Chidlren)

After that we headed over to the London Eye - we had bought (slightly) cheaper tickets from the Hostel and so I waved the three of them off and headed along the river to the 2nd hand bookstall. I also wanted to check out the menu at Wagamama in the hope of finding something we would all like. A vain hope as it turned out. I was more successful with books, though, and picked up a Terry Pratchett, Jamaica Inn and Whisky Galore.

After the Eye we had to have a look at the Houses of Parliament and then Westminster Abbey. That is mostly due to the Gruesomes' obsession with Friends and the fact that they simply had to say "hands down the best Abbey I've ever seen". Whatever.

Then it was time to make #2's day - a trip to Hamleys. I thought they would be a bit big for that shop, but the three of us had a great time looking at everything while Chef sat in the café and read his book. We tried fantastic pens, nail varnish kits, sticker sets and lots of other things. But the highlights were the guys selling the remote controlled helicopters and the chap - who we watched twice - demonstrating the magic kits. Luckily sanity prevailed and we didn't actually part with any readies.

Since we were in the area we had a quick zot down to Picadilly Circus and then back underground and back to Earls Court where we went to the Blackbird pub for dinner largely on account of their claim to make the best pies in Earls Court. Chef pronounced his pie very tasty, my veggie bangers and mash were ok, #1 munched her way through a huge pile of nachos with guacamole and #2 prounounced herself with baked camembert with cranberry sauce and a side order of chips. We also tried a pint of London Pride (adults only) which went down very well.

Once again, even though it was fairly early, we went back to the hostel and had an early night.


Rory In Wellington said...

Ah, London Pride...that was a favourite of mine!

Sho said...

I'd never tried it before - well, it's not as if I have so many opportunities to drink it. But for a soft, southern Jessie beer it wasn't half bad!