Day Seven, belated: In which I go home
Not much of a day to speak of, here; I had to leave by about 10 a.m. in order to get to the airport. But I did manage to do two things.
First, I found the Fleet. Or at least I think I did. I found something underneath Blackfriars Bridge that appeared to be an outlet for something — it went back into the bank — but to get a good look at it, I probably would have had to go some distance west from the south end of the bridge; if you go east, as I was doing, the piers of the railway bridge block your view. So I can’t say for certain whether the feature I saw actually goes back any significant distance. I will presume it was the Fleet, and otherwise let it keep its secrets. (Yes, I personify the rivers. It’s a drawback of getting to know a place or object through a Changeling framework, where they literally can be sentient beings.)
Second, I made a wish. Somewhere — I think it was in the story notes for something or another in Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things — I came across a superstition involving holding your breath as you walk to the center of a bridge across the Thames, and then making a wish. So I did this, on (of course) London Bridge itself. It took two tries, honestly; the first time, I did it right after walking the length of Bankside, and had to wait for my heartrate to slow down before I managed it successfully. But I walked to the halfway point and made my wish. (Yes, I’m a dork. Moving on.)
Then I went back to the hostel, packed up, and left. Maybe found another public river-stair; I’m not sure. Not too much in the way of new discoveries, though. I left by Ludgate Hill, because, well, I had to.
I did not do everything I wanted to, but this is neither surprising nor terribly disappointing to me. I could have been there a month and not done everything I wanted to. Museum in Docklands; the Guildhall Library; finding Marlowe’s maybe-grave; the costume place where I might have been able to handle some proper replicas; the Angel (even if it’s the wrong Angel); assorted other things. My only real complaint, though, is about Sunday and Monday, when the weather put a real crimp in my plans. I could have dealt with the rain — and frankly, I was lucky my first few days were totally dry — but not the rain paired with such cold.
But I am absolutely, utterly, without a doubt glad that I went. London is a real place in my head now, rather than something made up out of books I’ve read, and that’s well worth the price of the ticket and everything else.
I’m also extremely grateful all over again to the people who helped me out over there. I’ll be putting thank-yous to them on my website when I get the chance. Seeing things firsthand on your own is nothing compared to seeing them firsthand with the guidance of a knowledgeable and passionate volunteer.
Pictures will go up eventually, but that will take a while, since I need to do quite a bit of processing and tagging.
Now I unpack, and hope that kitty_bitch and I are still on for that leg massage tonight. Between moving all my worldly possessions and walking all over central London, my feet and legs are just about ready to pack up and leave me for good. I’m not even going to the gym today; I was intending to do weights and no cardio, but I think today is “don’t leave the house” day.