Day Four: In which I do not re-tear a ligament
So apparently, coming down with a cold isn’t enough back luck for one trip. This morning, I did the one thing I must not do:
I twisted my ankle.
Yes, THAT ankle. On my way to the Tower Gateway for the DLR, I stepped on the edge of one of the shallow gutters along the footpath and overturned my foot, in exactly the direction it needs to not go. While it’s probably fair to say I did more damage to my nerves than to my foot, that isn’t to say it escaped completely unscathed; it is a bit twingy. Still, “a bit twingy” is much less than I feared, in that first instant of blind unreasoning horror. As soon as I could think, I dropped my bag and downed some Advil, and put my foot up on on the seat on the ride out to the West India Quay, and fortunately, the Museum in Docklands is abundantly supplied with portable folding stools. (Also, while I’m sure it’s possible to walk out there — heck, I’m not surprised to see Google tell me it’s closer than Chelsea, less than four miles — no way on God’s paved earth was I going to do that, even before the ankle incident.)
So I’m largely okay, more rattled than hurt. But definitely rattled, I must admit.
Anyway, the docklands. This is my third visit to the museum, and since they don’t allow photos, I really am sparing you my notes this time — all fifteen pages of them. If previous experience is anything to go by, I won’t end up using 95% of what I wrote down, but that’s okay; I like having it in the mental hopper. Especially since this is East End history, full of poor and working-class people, who don’t show up as much in the other places I go. And I can do things like make the character Eliza’s about to visit a dockworker, to make sure such people don’t vanish from my novel, either.
I do rush a bit through the end of my visit, though, for the simple reason that I’m suddenly hungry enough to eat the floorboards. (This is generally what happens when I get sick; I seesaw between “do not want” and “om nom FEED ME NOW.”) Once I’ve devoured afternoon tea like a one-woman swarm of locusts, it’s on to the Geffrye Museum. Between my cold and the Ankle Incident, I’ve temporarily surrendered all pride about walking, Shoreditch may not be far — last year I hoofed it without trouble — but I take the Tube as close as I can, ignoring the little muttering voice that complains about how the Northern Line didn’t exist back then and I am therefore cheating. I’ve usually taken the Tube to the V&A, after all — before my definition of “walkable distance” got so warped — so it isn’t like cheating is anything new.
The Geffrye is, both spatially and socially, partway between the docklands and the West End. Again, I am lazy, relying as much on photographs as notes to document what middle-class living rooms looked like in 1830, 1870, and 1890. Then I make a quick run back to the earlier rooms, because I don’t recall if I photographed them last year, and it’s always handy to have that kind of reference around. By the time I’m done with that, it’s almost time for the museum to close — surprise! — and I kind of want to just go back to my hostel and crash . . . but I know that if I do, I’ll regret it in a few hours when I turn into a ravenous beast again and there’s no food to be had. (It’s the weekend, ergo the City is a dead zone. Not that dinner-finding is easy there on weeknights, either.)
Instead, I drag my tired self back to the Tube, to ponder what the Goodemeades will have done when London overran their home. After a few photos there, I ponder whether I want dinner yet, decide I don’t, and hop back on a train — only to discover that getting to Baker Street might be easier said than done, thanks to weekend construction on the Underground. But after a bit of confusion at King’s Cross, I figure out there’s still one line (of three) that can take me there, so I head over and spend some time photographing the restored station, which is indeed charmingly Victorian. (And not all OMG SHERLOCK HOLMES, which I half-feared it would be.) Then I decide I should get dinner whether I want it or not, only the area outside proves a bit dire on that front — lots of pizza, which I definitely don’t want — so I end up buying a salmon-pasta-salad thing at Tesco’s and taking it back to the cathedral, and by the time I get there I am indeed hungry, so that was the right choice. Tesco’s, you may be an Evil Chain, but oh how I love you for feeding me in a convenient, healthful, and inexpensive manner.
Museum days are not terribly exciting to write about, I suppose; most of this post is Ankle Drama. Oh well. Maybe I’ll be more exciting when I go to the Linley Sambourne house tomorrow.