Sunday, July 23, 2006

London!

A rabbit came out to greet me on my walk toward the station, beginning my first official day in London.

The first item on the agenda was to spend as much time as possible looking around the British Museum at old metal things. On the way to the museum, however, I happened across a bookseller whose specialty is 18th/19th Century books; this was a bibliophiliac opportunity I could not pass up.

Unfortunately, the lady wouldn't let me take any pictures of the books. I tricked her, though, as I got this parting shot of some Dickens 1st editions through the front window. (I thumbed through Bleak House, which could have been mine for the measly sum of 600 Pounds Sterling...)



Fortunately, holding a few 1st editions was enough to satisfy my craving for bookpaste and I was not driven to purchase anything. My sojourn to the BM was quickly over, and I found my way the early European artifacts.



I don't know that my words can do these objects justice. The Sutton Hoo ship-burial findings are especially nice. I think my favorite item is that little axe in the picture above-a wonderful specimen of a francisca, whence the name frankish and eventually french. The other really nifty item is this helmet that was made into a pot.

After lunch... wait, I think I skipped lunch after that dreadful encounter with the BM gift shop...
I spent some time in the BM's research library for prehistoric Britain, they have wonderful libraries for each section of the museum. I was able to find a little bit more information about a torc I researched last year, and they gave me an e-mail address which will actually get me in contact with a real person.

The Wallace Collection is, alas, a camera-free zone. The website has some pictures of arms and armor, but photographs just can't do these things justice. Thankfully, the Wallace Collection has nothing in the way of A&A-related merchandise in their gift shop (other than a few plastic knights from Germany), or I would now be a penniless beggar playing a kazoo in the London underground stations.

The Globe was, of course, a must-see attraction. Sadly, there are no direct routes on the bus; you'll have to walk a few blocks no matter which way you get there. I had thought the bus I was on would take me directly to the Tate Modern, which is not far from the Globe, but the driver went nowhere near...
I got there eventually, and secured a £5 "standing" ticket. I then waited in line for an hour and a half.
The Globe has aphids.
After standing for a long time inside the foyer of the theatre and sitting on a picnic table near the actual door to the theatre (which is outside) for another forty minutes, I was finally inside Shakespeare's Globe. Waiting all that time was worth it, I got a pretty good spot up against the stage.



We saw The Comedy of Errors, which is a perfectly hilarious story of twinsseparatedd at birth who get confused for each other. This production went out of its way toemphasizee the physical comedy of the story, and used classic Three Stooges/Marx Bros. gags (including orchestrated sound effects offstage) in every scene. Once I got over the initial shock, the whole thing was very effective. The one sound effect I wasn't sure about was the crashing cymbal for the sound of a smashed pot; I think I wrote a journal entry dealing with the subject on my ride back out of the city. I'll see if I can find it.

The show ended after 9:30, so it was 11:30 when I finally made it back to camp. Walking through the forest takes less time than you would think when it's dark...

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