Sunday, 26 October 2008

Weird and wonderful

Yesteday I went to London, not to look at the queen, but to visit a friend. Well, I was invited to dinner to a colleague whom I had never met, but we people in children's literature are all friends. As I had not been to London since we moved, I decided to go in the morning and do something exciting.

I have been to London dozens of times, often together with someone who was there for the first time: our children, a friend from Russia, and most recent, a grandchild. There are some mandatory things for a first-timer, but several are worth to revisit. But when I am on my own I try to find something special. Occasionally I just find it without trying. To find out about what's on in London you go to Time Out. Which I did and found two things I immediately fell for. The first was an exhibition at the British Library, Weird and Wonderful Inventions . A tiny exhibition, not adverrized anywhere inside or ourside the library. My friend's husband at dinner, when I told about it, said he had spent that particular day at the British Library and never heard of it. Just the kind of event I love! How about bottle-lock, to keep the servant from tasting the master's wine? A page turner (literally)? Knot unpicker? Mostly from the 19th century.

It then felt natural to proceed to Dr Johnson's House for the exhibition on tea and coffee in his time. The house itself is marvelous, and there is a statue of Hodge the cat in the yard. The house hides in a narrow passage off Fleet Street that I would never have ventured into on my own, but I once went on an evening walk of London's secret places.

In between I went to Portobello Road Market which is always worthwhile.

When I still had some time before going to my friend's I went into the National Gallery and just sat there comfortably, watching people pass by.

Just the right way to spend a day in London, if you are tired of which, said Dr Johnson, you are tired of life.

No comments: