Day Six: In which I, um, sort of quit.
Hee. At lunch today, I wrote a sentence in my notes for Midnight Never Come that still has me giggling. I’d share it, but it would be a terrible spoiler. (Yes, I’m a tease.)
The predicted high for the day is 46, with rain. I didn’t pack for this weather. But I do some calculations and decide that tomorrow morning — which is supposed to be both drier and warmer — I will have time to do some final walks before going to the airport, so I concede the victory to the weather and go to spend the day at the V&A.
Thus does my day begin to go awry.
I get there easily enough. But after wandering about cluelessly for a bit (albeit with the result of a fascinating detour through the silver gallery), I discover the bad news: the Tudor gallery isn’t open.
Also, half the Renaissance gallery is in storage while they rearrange things.
Well, screw you. I have no idea what Tudor-era collections the British Museum has, but I’ve got a daypass for the Tube, so off I go. The answer is, not much, but I ransack what they have, and then contemplate heading east for the Museum in Docklands, to look at stuff on London and the Thames.
. . . but I’m in the British Museum. There’s two things I can’t leave without seeing.
The Rosetta Stone is impossible to miss; it’s the one right in your face as you walk into the downstairs Egyptian gallery, with the sea of tourists around it. Bigger than I realized, too. Then I can’t resist having a bit of a wander through the Egyptian stuff before finding the Elgin Marbles . . . which leads into a detour through the Assyrian rooms (I mean, a fifteen-foot-tall human-headed winged bull-creature thing tends to get one’s attention) . . . then I’m roaming around Ancient Greece and Rome mistaking lots of other things for the Elgin Marbles (with perhaps a bit of willful ignorance helping me along) . . .
. . . ah, hell. It’s the British freaking Museum, and the Museum in Docklands would be a cold walk from the Tube, and I’m not leaving here, am I.
I’ve been good all week, ignoring with almost complete success everything out of my period. But it’s cold and rainy out there, and I’m tired of being good.
I should not have come here.
I proceed to get comprehensively lost. Half the time, I don’t even know what floor I’m on, as I move with a complete lack of logic but a great deal of glee from one bit to another. Only in such a place can my obsessions rub shoulders so closely; I wander straight from the Japanese gallery into the Egyptian mummy hall. (And reflect, as I generally do, on the weirdness of displaying dead people for tourists to snap photos of. I mean, they’ve got some guy’s lung out there in a case. Really.)
I won’t claim I saw the entire British Museum. I did, however, walk through virtually all of the British Museum, pausing at whim to look at things that caught my eye. What did this have to do with Midnight Never Come? Jack-all once I left the Tudor collection, but I had fun. Which is not to say that I haven’t been having fun during the rest of this trip, but I think I’ve reached the end of Research Brain for now. Tomorrow morning will be for sentimentality and final impressions, not information, and then I will fly home.
I want to stay, and I want to go. I’m already attached to things here, such as walking home up Ludgate Hill with the cathedral ahead of me. I’ll miss that, like I’ll miss the Thames. But I’m ready to be home, really home.
Which is generally how trips work.
I’ll probably post one more time tomorrow with some final impressions, if you’ve come here for the account of my trip. Regular blogging will resume after that.