Trip Start Jun 20, 2012
Trip End Aug 05, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, July 2, 2012

A lion, a lock, Gilgamesh and the horse-stable markets

Sarah collected us at ten to drive us to the train station in Hungerford and when we pilled ourselves and our woefully lacking luggage into her car we were greeted by her son Dom, who was sitting calmly in the passenger seat with a deep gash through his arm. His mum was going to see him to the hospital, but first stop was the train station. This logic seemed slightly flawed; we had plenty of time and trains ran all day. Well anyway, there we sat whilst Dom gave his mum directions for the backstreets to the station, all the while bleeding fairly heavily into the towel wrapping his arm. We stepped onto the train with our paper-bag and took our seats at a table beside the window, settling in for the ride back to London. From Paddington station we braved the underground; first with the Bakerloo line and then after a changeover at Charing Cross, the Northern Line to Golders Green. We bussed and walked from there to Arwen's cousin's; we were staying with Carmella, her husband Calvin and their newborn son; Max. London isn't pretty. The buildings seem familiar in an historic cottage-esque kind of way, but the magic and charm from the towns and villages have been removed here in the city.

The city is dirty and grey and soulless. I am reserving my opinion though, because I'm mindful of the fact I'm here with Arwen and I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to be affected by her current poisonous presence.
Yesterday I went to Covent Gardens market, the Horse-Stables markets, the British Museum, a garden near Elephant & Castle and into Kennington in search of the Blue Elephant Theatre to see a play about the lives and love of a gay couple living in England. It sounded different and exciting with strange props and a quirky mood, but when I finally found it I discovered that the Monday show had been given over to some travelling production about clowns. That one was sold out so I made my way slowly back to Golders Green and the house. The British museum was pretty grand, the markets hectic, Kennington scary in that thugs-walking-the-streets kind of way and the gardens were beautifully picturesque.

Calvin's sister and her 4yr old daughter are staying here at the moment as well and whilst they had dinner she and Calvin were talking about a mutual friend who had to 'check her morals' because she was spending time with a lesbian and that obviously meant this lesbian was attempting to lure their friend across to the "corrupt side". He's a loud and aggressive man who has an oddly low and gravely voice mixed with a strong South African accent. At dinner he was holding the child whilst Carmela and his sister got themselves and the 4yr old pizza. Carmela started cutting a slice into pieces for the four year old to be able to eat and then Calvin yelled at her for taking too long. Everyone acted like it was normal and she came trotting straight over to relieve him of the child. I was told by the sister that at 22 I was still basically a child so would have to sit at the table with her daughter (adults got to sit on the couch). The pizza was from some grease-hut and covered in meat in any case so I'd already decided not to eat. Carmela was told she had to leave to the bedroom to breast feed the child whilst I'm in the house. She seemed a little offended being told that, but like a dutiful little wench she hurried off.

A new day has come.

I went to the Natural history museum first off, where I discovered new and well presented information on: volcanoes; weathering; acid rain; tidal shifts; the development of sand; wetlands, bush lands, farmlands, meadows, lakes, and a river; birds; extinct animals; fossilisation; insects; evolution; dinosaurs; mammals and amphibians. The entrance led to a welcoming hall with statues from Greek mythology, space and history and past these was an elevator which led through the centre of an impressive world model to the upper levels. The outdoor garden walkthrough was peaceful and I'm curios as to how they've managed to get such different environments to thrive so well so close together. The dinosaur and mammal halls were fantastic, one day we will run together through them like little children lost in a world of fables, science and legends. They had a write-up of a native American tree called the Tulip tree, which sounds interesting. There were no pictures, but it apparently grows large and quick and blooms with tulip heads each season. I think I'll have a closer look into them...

After the museum I went down to the Thames river, caught myself a glimpse of Buckingham palace and the London Eye and then had a picnic with the squirrels in Hyde Park. The squirrels danced across the grass and up trees, came close in search of food, chased each other in exciting struggles of speed and were just generally cute.

We left for Paris at 4:30pm from King's Cross station and had a fairly frosty journey across the border. The lady across the aisle was from Russia and travelling with her children and I enjoyed her silent company amid the sea of hostility I found myself in.
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withintheforest on

The museum sounded awesome - let's return there some day, together. I want to do it.

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