Monday, January 16, 2006

Wandering Around London

All right, one more post to cover the England trip -- I should be working on things for the first day of classes tomorrow. But of course it's more fun to write:

Tuesdey ended up being book shopping day. I figured I needed to check out the other branch of Quinto (half price sale!) but when I got to Leicester Square I found they were closed until 2pm. However, I always have a back-up plan, so I went to Watkins and found a good book on English mythological roots. It's funny too that in two of the books I ended up buying by the end of the day, characters retraced a lot of the same footsteps I made, including one in Russell Hoban's new book who looks in the windows of Watkins.

Wandering idly, I decided on a whim (and with the need for a bathroom break) to go to the Portrait Gallery and enjoyed looking around. I didn't realize Clive Barker had work hanging in such a venerable institute until I ran across his portrait of Peter Blake. There's a new photo of Kate Bush, too, and recent Nobel prize winner Harold Pinter has an interesting portrait, right next to Jonathan Miller's.

When I left the gallery, Quinto was open -- and crowded! You pretty much had to crawl across bodies to get to the back, but that ended up being fortunate, because squashed up against the shelves as a couple tried to work their way forward, I saw a copy of Stenton's Anglo Saxon England for 5 pounds (then half off, yay!). After extricating myself from the press, I hit a couple more stores on my way back up Charing Cross Road. Once I hit Tottenham Court Road, I took the tube back out to Nottinghill Gate to the always wonderful Book & Comic Exchange, then it was back to Brad & Liz's to enjoy all my purchases.

My last day was spent enjoyably lunching with Roger Sabin in Clapham Common (thanks!) and then joining UConn pal John Sexton at Blackfriars Pub for a few Guinesses. Good thing Ealing Broadway has a restroom -- it's a long ride back to the westside after a couple pints!

What a wonderful dinner Liz made for my last evening in London -- mmmmm! And how unbelievably kind to get up so early and drive me to Gatwick in the cold morning frost and fog (which was lovely, even if it did delay the flight a little). But there isn't much that makes a ten hour flight enjoyable -- and then there was the whole lost luggage... So it was even better to see Gene's smiling face when at last I got out of the endless lines for customs and luggage. And nice to be asleep that night in my own bed with Gene beside me and Kipper curled up by my feet (refusing to move). I think Maggie even came in once during the night, but I may have only dreamed it.

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