No sleep at all last night, but despite this I was determined to enjoy my first full day in London. Having decided that a night of no sleep needed a morning with much walking, I took the Tube to Marble Arch and took a promenade in Hyde Park. I passed through Speaker’s Corner and said not a word, but kicked up leaves as I passed through the surprisingly tall grass. Hyde Park has beautifully grand big trees, sycamores and maples and oaks and walnuts and others I couldn’t identify. Squirrels were present, but not so many as you might think. Perhaps this was because there were several platoons of dogs being walked by their minders? Every so often a soft cloud of dogwalker would flow by, a harried-looking human holding several leashes and what must be a mandatory motley crew of disparate dogs, some on leashes but more often than not, off in a kind of nebula. (Think PigPen from Peanuts, with elements of dog rather than dirt.) The leashes only give a semblance of control, really. One walker flowed past with her dog-cloud about her, sheep dog, dachshund, beagle, Irish setter. She turned to call to a miscreant, “Ben! Come on, Ben!” But Ben, a miniature Corgi if there is such a thing, was more interested in the liquid gossip of dogs-gone-past than in his tender’s care.
Flocks of waterfowl surprised me near the Serpentine, which may also be The Serpentine. I’m not sure about this. It’s a long, sinuous lake upon which are built boathouses and a cafe, and many birds descend there to enjoy the water and to beat each other up. At least, one breed finds fisticuffs a suitable form of communication. One such water-lover was so covetous of a scrap of bread that fully a minute after a grebe had eaten it (poor grebe!) this white seabird-like creature was still flying into the air and landing on the grebe’s back with a forceful plunge to the feet that sent the grebe ducking. The white bird scolded and chattered at the grebe the whole time.
I even saw swans outside of the water, walking around. Standing up like this, I realized to what extent they are quite tall and massive. They are certainly as big as Geeklet, if not taller or larger.
Visited the Victoria & Albert Museum, as lovely a museum as you could ever wish to visit, for it is full of good things: statues of mothers and babies, and William Morris furniture and tapestries and curtains and a painting of his wife Jane by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (who was in love with her and stalked her and painted her at every opportunity). And other things, like a project that includes a piece that has a giant knitted aran swatch but could be a rug. For this, the artist carved knitting needles herself, because they were as big and as big around as Boy’s arms. Also, a crocheted bear of true bear size. Like this one.
Had lunch there, which I will do again. Vegetable gratin, English Breakfast tea, and a slice of coffee-walnut cake. Hallelujah! They have a luscious cakes and teas station, and the area in which I sat was all over stained glass imagery of angels, Victoria with a sword riding to victory, and poetry about food and wine all throughout.
Having given myself a boost of energy, I slipped over to the Natural History Museum, but only saw a big of its intimidating interior (but I did see the model of a grocery store from Kobe, Japan, which moves during a model earthquake. Very effective, and the kids loved it, though not exactly the way it’s meant (“Woo! Yay! Make it do that again! Let’s spin around and play tag! Whee!”)). Then I was off to switch to a hotel that is much closer to the city center. Once done, I visited the shops around Euston Station, which have quite a selection given that they are placed around a train station, but then, this station is a National Rail connection point too.
One stand, Cranberries, sells dried fruits and nuts. A group of young women could not figure out how to buy more than one thing. They wanted to fill a bag with many different items, trail-mix style, and couldn’t understand that because different things are priced differently, they couldn’t do it that way. But they just did not get it. By the time I could get the owner’s attention, I was ready to smack each of them on the head. But I blame the heady rush of bodies in Euston and a serious lack of sleep for this poor impulse. At least I controlled it. Or controlled it enough to purchase a small, cherished paper sack of pepper-and-sea-salt cashews for my morning tidbit.
Vegetable pasty, apple, tea, almond croissant. Washed my dainties and blocked my hat, and am ready for a bit of knitting and bed. Or maybe just bed. I keep falling asleep as I write this…