I usually hate going to London – it’s big, noisy, smelly, expensive, all the people are grumpy and no-one will meet your eyes on the tube. It’s one of thyos big impersonal cities where you can live your whole life and never speak to your neighbours. I really don’t like cities like that.
Anyway, arrived at work and got on the bus to London, we were going to see a new exhibition at the Wellcome Trust Collection on the heart – including an actual human heart taken from a transplant patient at a Cambridge hospital last year. Got to Wellcome about 11:10, and had a very quick quick whizz through the conservation and preservation departments (which was a real shame – I would have liked to spend a lot more time there), before getting a tour of the Wellcome Library, one of the largest collections of medical books, on all topics, on earth. They’ve got a First Edition Gray’s Anatomy, lots and lots of ancient and unique titles – and I won the prize for most obscure book sighted on the shelves on our walk through! I saw, and am actually now curious to read, “The Folklore of the Teeth“. Firstly it’s hard to believe that there is folklore concerning teeth, and secondly because I’m curious why someone would write a book about it, and who the hell would publish it?!
After the library we headed over to the restaurant in the adjoining Wellcome Trust building for lunch, which was fantastic, before coming back to the Collection building for a tour of the collections on display – The Heart and 2 others. Now I thought we’d get a good walk through, with some detail on particular displays from our guide, but he decided we needed as much detail as possible – and it was a trifle long-winded. They had some incredibly interesting stuff on display:- actual papyrus pages from the Egyptian Book Of The Dead, 3 original Da Vinci drawings about the circulation of the blood and the heart – from the Queen’s collection (complete with ER stamp on the bottom!), the above mentioned diseased heart from the transplant patient, a pair of 15thCentury anatomy tables (where they had taken the veins out of a corpse and arranged them on the table, before varnishing many times to hold them in place – the tables are in v good nick, and the veins and arteries are still very easy to see after 500-odd years.)
Then Christine and I scarpered off! Yep, we played hookey! :) While everyone else was going to see the other two collections and listen to Mr Tour Guide drone on and on, Christine and I spoke with the leader who said that she didn’t mind if we left, since we weren’t coming back on the bus. So we did! Ran outside, jumped in a cab and headed down to Covent Garden and the Australia Shop. Picked up TimTams, Cherry Ripes and some Milo, then out to Brick Lane – which is apparently a London landmark that neither of us had been to. Disappointing really, just a street with lots and lots of curry houses on. It’s only redeeming feature was that it’s close by The Ten Bells, the pub that all Jack the Ripper’s prostitute victims used to frequent! We went in, and it’s ancient and slightly seedy – it’s got that smell of old beer and even older floorboards. But we had a drink, lamented on the fact that all the markets were closed on a Wednesday, then headed down to Liverpool St Station to get to Harrods. Gave up trying to decipher bus timetables and bus stands (bloody confusing!) and jumped in a cab which took us past Trafalgar Sq, down The Mall, past The Palace and on through St James Park to Marble Arch before heading down into Knightsbridge and Harrods.
Now, neither of us can afford anything in Harrods that’s not found in the Food Hall, so there we went. And if you’ve never been to Harrods Food Halls, go HERE for some photos. The place is amazing, really amazing. Found some of the flatbread I used to get at home growing up – we called it pitta bread, although it’s not. It’s soft, mediterranian flatbread, and great with honey on! I’d never seen it here in the UK and had to buy some. Christine bought some seafood for a friend who loves the stuff, and I have to say that I’d never seen anything like the Harrods fish counter! Fantastic!
After Harrods we wandered back up to Marble Arch via Accessorise and H&M, where purchases were made. :) Then back on the Tube to Liverpool St, before the long, every-stop, train home. Got back to my house about 8:30pm, tired, footsore and feeling like I had half of London glooping over my face. It’s an amazing feeling – until you get home and get clean you don’t really realise just how dirty that place is. I couldn’t wait to just wash my face!
Work today, and physio again tomorrow morning. Dinner with Miguel & Begonia on Fri night, no other plans for the weekend as yet. Oh, but I got home to find my new bankcard had arrived (HOORAY!) so I have access to my money again.