Four Days In London, Three at Home

Some images from the week 28th May – 3rd June

I had a trip to London planned during half-term and this time I’d actually booked a hotel, booked in ‘activities’, and been a proper grown-up about the entire thing instead of leaving everything ’till the last minute because it’s just a holiday and so not actually important. However, this week has been a perfect example of why it is useless to plan.

Monday

I woke up Monday morning with a migraine. So the plan to leave the house by 9am to get a train at 10.20am didn’t happen. It took several hours for the ibuprofen to kick in enough for me to drive. The day’s plans narrowed down to get train to Waterloo (tick), pop in to the British Film Institute for tea and cake and a browse in the shop (tick), walk from Waterloo to Bankside (tick), find our room and lay down on the bed trying really hard to ignore the worsening pain (tick), try to ignore the children fighting over who gets what bed, find somewhere to eat that we can all agree on and then eat to much (tick), go back to hotel and sleep (tick) while the children are forced to watch Star Trek Next Generation because of a lack of Netflix (tick, and a good thing to; STNG is easily the best Star Trek and they needed to see Patrick Stewart doing his “Tea, Earl Grey, hot,” and “Make it so,” lines so that they understand me).

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View to Shakespeare’s Globe from the river bus stop

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Tuesday

On Tuesday, thanks to the migraine of the previous day, I woke up later than I’d wanted to. Meanwhile my youngest son wanted a very leisurely breakfast so that he could eat his own weight in bacon, and despite being 15 years old my eldest son needed 25 minutes to put his shoes on. So the day’s plans to visit Camden Market before turning up for a lunchtime tour of Highgate Cemetery suffered. We went straight to Highgate. Within moments of leaving the train it became clear that the forecast of a fine, dry and pleasantly warm day had turned out to be utter nonsense; just before our tour, which I’d booked for my eldest son who wanted to go to Highgate because… I’m not sure, but something about vampires and Dungeons and Dragons and his new character, it started raining. And then we heard thunder and saw distant flashes of lightning.

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However, we are British and therefore don’t mind a bit of rain and are perfectly capable of being wet and not complaining about it. They have umbrellas you can use, you should have packed jackets, stop moaning and get on with it. Stiff upper lip chaps. Actually, to be fair they didn’t complain at all; the rain was coming down so hard that some of the group bolted, the tour guide said he’d never seen anything like it, and despite my jacket and umbrella I was still soaked through to the skin within moments. In terms of photography it really wasn’t the day for it, but I’ve put the photos on a separate post if you’re interested.

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Pre-rain; a visit to Douglas Adams’ grave. We left pens. The kids have seen two takes on Dirk Gently; the series that was cut short where Dirk is played by Stephen Mangan, and the new BBC America version written by Max Landis with Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood. So they understand something of the greatness of this man.

 

After that the plan was – go back to hotel and relax for a bit, have dinner, then go to Shakespeare’s Globe to see ‘As You Like It’. But actually it went like this; walk back to the station in the rain, one of us limping so that we had to go slowly, get back to the hotel feeling miserable and sorry for ourselves, realise no one took spare trousers – just shorts – and only one of us had taken spare shoes (me). Not great when everyone squelches when they walk. Put on shorts (and the shoes that I had taken just in case I ended up needing to look glam which didn’t work well with a buggered achilles tendon), go out to eat feeling stupid because it was a cold and wet and we were all dressed like it was a balmy summer day, eat pizza (with a student discount – hurrah!), drink Peroni (me again), and give up on ‘As You Like It’ because an evening standing in the cold with damp clothes on didn’t really appeal at that point in time. But I did get in some people watching and a few photos from the upstairs of Pizza Express.

 

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This couple in the foreground were clearly having fun at the expense of the couple in the background who had been standing like this for ages. 

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Wednesday

Something went well. I had booked to see Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art and neglected to get tickets for the children. They stayed in the hotel watching Star Trek, I walked the five minute walk to Tate Modern and spent the morning in the exhibition. It was really informative, and I will write a separate post about it very soon.

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I took this on leaving the Tate Modern. I was thinking about abstraction; this was a response to what I’d just seen.

They, being old enough to stay in the hotel on their own, were old enough to walk to the Bankside river bus stop on their own too. We got the boat to Westminster, walked to Shepherd’s bookbinding supplies in Victoria where I didn’t spend any money despite spending hundreds of pounds in my head, got a number 24 bus to Covent Garden (this is a great bus route; don’t worry about the tourist buses, just get the 24 instead) and went to Forbidden Planet (£ yeah, of course), Orcs Nest (£ no, not this time) and Fopp, a massive DVD / Bookshop (£ okay, that was mainly me). Then we walked to BFI Imax via Bow Street and Waterloo Bridge to go and see Solo: A Star Wars Story which I thought was totally brilliant (£ lots, but worth it). We then had burgers, me studiously ignoring the fact that it was my youngest son’s second burger and chips of the day and also ignoring the fact that I usually go to the gym three times a week and now can’t because of my achilles and am putting on weight as a consequence.

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From the river bus. That’s why it’s got this glow – it’s taken through the window. 

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Sometimes people call me Boudica. Yes, really. I suppose I can be quite scary and determined when I need to be. Plus, I am learning to be rather handy with a bow and a horse. However, I don’t have a chariot yet, and I promise I haven’t killed any Romans. 

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Outside Westminster. Over the past six months or so, every time I’ve walked past parliament there have been evangelical Christians on this corner. They are obsessed with hell. 

I love my family, but sharing a room and not having any time to myself take a toll on me very quickly. By Wednesday evening I was suffering introversion overload, and my eldest son was clearly feeling the same.

Thursday

Another day for my youngest to try and eat his own weight in bacon at breakfast. After that display, we packed up by throwing the still soaking wet clothes into the case, left it all at reception, and headed for Camden Market. I’d nearly ducked out of this and had been close to suggesting that we just go home, but I’m glad I didn’t. I haven’t been to Camden Market for years. It was much bigger and more interesting than I remember – and I don’t think I got to see much of it on this visit. My eldest, Nathan, didn’t enjoy this experience; he found it all too much to take in, there’s a lot going on. Daniel really enjoyed it though as it’s visually very stimulating, it’s a very creative environment.

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I think this was the boys’ favourite shop. Deadpool outside, the Hulk inside. What more do you want? 

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This man wanted everyone to know that thoughts create unhappiness, not things or events. I think this was in some way linked to milk, but I’m not sure how and I didn’t stick around to find out. 

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We ate doughnuts and drank tea, it didn’t rain (surely the definition of a positive outcome), and when we’d had enough we made our way back to the hotel via the Northern Line and via Borough Market which we were right next to. Then another walk to Waterloo, a train to Salisbury and a car journey to Blandford to be not welcomed by three rather unimpressed cats who probably hadn’t even noticed we’d been gone. Then we watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. This will act as a Misfits replacement for the next few weeks until I think of something else that we can all agree on for the post-dinner family TV slot.

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I appreciate that the person who made this is probably mentally ill, but this child was worried; and so my annoyance with religion grows ever stronger. 

 

Friday

Aarrgghh, my house is such a mess. There are piles of washing to do (not all from 3 nights away, obviously, the majority is just me not getting much done last week because I couldn’t get my arse in gear), the whole place needs cleaning, there is no food, at least not any I’m willing to spend time cooking, and I have a headache, yellow dots all over the back of my throat and stuff floating around my vision. The boys spend their day in PJs in front of their computers in their bedrooms, Nathan occasionally emerging to make himself drinks with the fruit syrups that were just delivered and to ask when I’m going to buy cheese and Pot Noodles. I hide in front of my computer writing this and this and going through images in Lightroom and feeling a bit disappointed that I didn’t get many good ones. At 1.30pm I finally manage to have a shower and get dressed. At 3.30pm I give up on tea and toast as a reliable food source, I can smell that the boys have found some alternative which probably involves noodles, and so I go to Beaton’s Tearoom and Bookshop for a coronation chicken sandwich because I need proper food before I can take painkillers. The drive home and the 20,000 paces a day over the past few days have undone all the rest I had given my leg in the past few weeks; I would say I am a walking disease, but actually I am a limping one and my jeans are too tight from not going to the gym and eating dessert and burgers and Tyrells cheese crips as a lunch. This is not like me, I don’t like it.

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One from Thursday’s train journey; I was experimenting.

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Another landscape experiment from the Waterloo to Salisbury train

I think about the fact that it’s Daniel’s 14th next week and I haven’t got him anything yet; when I ask what he’d like he says ‘an Oculus Rift’ (he understands that this is not going to happen and his computer can’t run it anyway) or ‘books and DVDs’. I know I will probably end up getting this shopping wrong.

 Saturday

I’d booked a Shibori stitching and indigo dyeing workshop for Saturday. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. It’s the indigo I really want to learn because I love the colour. It seems amazing to me that nature can produce a blue dye of that intensity. I wake up feeling a bit ill and consider if it’s a good idea to give it a miss, but decide to just get on with it and come home early if I continue to feel like this.

As it is, I feel okay and meet an old friend in the class. I learn something new (mainly stitching, and not how to mix indigo which is a nuisance), and come home with some work that I really like.

 

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Sunday

This is a day of completion; I’m coming to the end of a few things. I start off with archery. This was the final week for my target archery classes; now I can join the club. I want to be better this session than last, but I am flustered when I arrive and it just all goes wrong. I’ve never missed the target before, but this week it feels like I miss it more than I hit it. I’m trying to adjust my stance slightly, to make sure I am drawing back to the same place, to drop my shoulders and to stop leaning backwards. But physically and mentally I am struggling and it’s like I can’t connect to my own body or what it’s doing; there are too many sensations going on. I use a lighter bow and I get one group of arrows consistent; they all bounce off the wood on the bottom of the stand the target rests on. One of them ends up bouncing off and landing vertically. I know I am under the weather today, but I think it’s also about changing from shooting bare bow to using a sight. I just find it a nuisance. My tab is a nuisance too, so I take it off and that helps. At the end the coaches give out certificates; I wish it didn’t have a photo on it.

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I don’t take photos at archery so this’ll have to do

I leave without packing up, feeling slightly guilty as I know that Mike will end up doing that for me. The club are going to have an afternoon BBQ, I’m going to miss it and it would have been a great opportunity to get to know the other members; I’ve met a few, but it’s usually been a very brief ‘Hi!’ Plus, I won’t get to pet Sheila’s beautiful dogs; I miss having a dog so much, but they are too big a tie for me at the moment so I am resisting until I feel a bit more settled.

I hurry off to Bournemouth for bookbinding class. When I arrive, I realise that the book block I had been looking for this morning, the thing I thought was missing that had seen me tearing around the house going through folders and papers, was actually in my bookbinding folder the entire time. This shows my current mental state. As usual, Susan is a model of serenity and so I soon relax. Plus, she has brought mini cupcakes as it’s our final session and mini cupcakes are a good thing. We make a small hardback journal. Marie shows me her new paper which is stunning so I feel a bit jealous and end up wishing I’d spent some money in Shepherds after all.

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My first hardback journal

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A mixture of books; mainly mine and Marie’s

When I leave I feel sad that this is over as the other people in the class are great, Susan is patient to extreme, and I really like making books. But again, I have that sense of completion and the knowledge that I’ve learnt something new. I’ve now done 20 hours of bookbinding classes in total, so I think it’s time to make a few at home.

I finish my week with more Kimmy Schmidt as the boys are really into it. Next week I’m taking a week off to sort my house out, celebrate Daniel’s birthday, recover from whatever nasty is making me feel yuk, and just relax for a while. So, in short; half term is hard work, and plans are for other people.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Four Days In London, Three at Home

    • Sarah Scott says:

      Thanks, I like the abstracts too. And yes, the obsession with hell is strange. The ‘good news’ has become skewed somewhere along the line!

      Liked by 1 person

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