i bet y'all forgot i hadn't actually left london in that last post. well, here is my last day. it started with the hard farmer jogging to the post office to pick up the christmas package the girls had sent. oh, we had so much fun unwrapping all the things. thankyou hughie, tine and missmojay! (sorry it has taken so long to acknowledge - aaagh) i keep virg in my office to freak out my students. here she is saying "i can't work under these conditions!" (quoting me as i stomped through the snow to class thismorning):
to infinity and beyond!:
i have the bark hanging up on my bookcase, and look out for the rubber stamp on a postcard near you. . .
anyway, so after we extracted ourselves from presents we hit the road (poor old tofu went to work, still crook). first stop was buckingham palace, via st. james park, where HF sometimes does marathon training. we arrived for the changing of the guards and stayed around to watch the brass band and the guards getting ready. the outfits were fab:
there was a lot of stamping and shouting and about face-ing. the whole thing was fascinating and incredibily pompous.
then, after a quick stop to buy a toy bus for me:
we went to westminster abbey. i recommend this website. it has virtual tours and weird 360 degree video clip things. westminster was huge and wonderful and packed with tombs. lots of amazing ppl buried there, like queen elizabeth:
who is buried with her half-sister mary, who she hated. the other mary is across the way.
there's the famous poet's corner, where chaucer and t.s.eliot and dickens and austen are memorialised, if not buried:
lots of really cool sculptures (nice skeletons) and the coronation chair and other historical things. lots of marble and gold and enormous vaulted ceilings and medieval clay floor tiles. stunning stuff. and we went into a little basement bit (see, this is why i should have done this a fortnight ago, so i could remember all the names) where they kept the wax/ceramic funeral effigies of the kings and queens, in their original robes. (none of these are my photos, btw. my camera battery died.)
that was all a bit amazing. we grabbed a quick lunch from boots and headed out to the british library for the afternoon. british library is neat. the treasures exhibition is amazing. and, incidently, their webpage is also amazing. they have a cool interactive reading thing, so you can read, for instance, william blake's notebook, turning the pages virtually. go, see.
among the amazing things we saw:
shakespeare's first folio
earliest surviving copy of beuwolf (my medieval lit prof most cranky that tourists can see it but no-one's allowed to study it)
leonardo di vinci's notebook
orginal letter-version of alice in wonderland (read online! do!)
contemporary copy of chaucer
captain scott's diary (just going outside, may be some time)
manuscript of jane eyre
masses of wonderful illuminated manuscripts
beatles draft lyrics
draft of elizabeth the first's "of course i'm gonna get married, get off my back!" speech, with all her corrections
gosh, it was speccy. after two or three hours my eyeballs were about to fall out - low lighting and lots of reading - so HF and i headed back to the flat.
tofu made us a lovely dinner and we hit the bubbly and talked and talked and played w our presents. it was a perfect last day.
then the next morning i got up early and headed off. cried a bit. as i do.
miss you guys.