This last week has been such a scramble with packing and finals that I decided to do my own thing this weekend. I also wanted to finish my list of things I must do while abroad as well as go back to my favorite spots in the city and, to my amazement, I mostly achieved these goals within three days!
Go Inside of a Phone Box
- This was one of the less enjoyable things on my list, it turns out. I didn’t actually have a call to make, I just wanted to be able to say that I’ve done it. I was on a crowded street in Hampstead when I decided to check this on one off my list. I pretended I needed to make a call, spent a couple seconds inside the phone box feigning searching for change, then exited while a couple people watched my horrible acting. Unfortunately I was not transported through time. Oh, well.
Find the Doctor
- I found him! Well, one of the Doctors. We attended Antigone at the National Theater and Christopher Eccleston (the ninth incarnation of the Doctor) was starring in it. While eating dinner at the theater we ran into someone else we were not expecting to meet; Mark Gatiss, a writer for Doctor Who and Sherlock, and Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock. Two of my favorite people in one night? I’m still giddy from the experience. They were both very nice blokes and stopped to take pictures. Chris signed my artwork and even held my sonic screwdriver!
Have a Pint of Guinness in Dublin
-It was a long and confusing journey to Dublin, but in the end I wish I’d stayed much longer than a weekend. Ireland is amazing and the people are the kindest I’ve ever met. I had a pint in The Celt Pub near O’Connell Street and met a long lost relative who was eight or nine Guinness for the worse. I’ll forever be telling the story of Uncle Quinn; the poster-boy for Irish drunks.
Erin go Bragh!
Eat a Jaffa Cake
- I mentioned this in a previous post, but it’s worth saying that I ate three packs of 36 Jaffa Cakes. I lost weight in London, guys. That’s how much walking I did. The snack was the one thing I wish I’d had the foresight to send to the US. Darn, I may just have to return to London to get some.
My usual booty from Tesco
The only thing on my list that I wasn’t able to achieve was taking my photo on Abbey Road. I do regret that terribly, but I got so much done by the end that it seems like a small price to pay. We did drive over it on the bus tour, though, so at least I visited and payed my respects. I’m sure John Lennon’s spirit is off somewhere laughing at how much traffic is stopped by that crossing.
Last Friday we attended The Taming of the Shrew at The Globe. We were able to get in for only 5L, too! We were in the yard, so it was standing room and the play was at midnight. By the time we arrived I was already exhausted, but as soon as the play started, I was transfixed on the stage. Immediately I fell in love. I’ve loved this play for a while, but much of the comedy and heart is lost when the play is read rather than experienced. I was also thrilled I was part of the play at one point when the actress who played Kate fell on me and said sorry drunkenly on her way to the stage. The chocolate coin I caught during the finale will have to survive the trip home.
The main place I wanted to explore more was Hyde Park. For those of you that don’t know, Hyde Park is freaking huge. I had forgotten this when I set out on my adventure armed with a pack of water, a box of granola bars, and my sketchbook. This is one of those happy accidents I was talking about earlier. I started at Speakers Corner where a concert for the Olympics was taking place. I’m not usually one for concerts, but it was kind of nice to have music playing from afar. I wanted to find the Peter Pan Statue, but I had started quite far away from it. I walked for about twenty minutes before I took a break to eat something. I lay down under an oak and had a wonderful, relaxing time. I set out again and walked by the Italian Fountains, which I didn’t know existed. They were so gorgeous that I stopped to sketch some of them. While I was there, I met two kids who were busy scaring pigeons. They were from Virginia and had never heard of Oregon. I told them a little bit about myself and they watched me draw for a bit. The little girl (Sophie) asked if I would be her friend. I told her yes, and she was so excited that she ran off to tell her mum! Her mother came over and also watched me draw. Then, when they had to leave, I got a big hug!
A perfect day
Eventually I found the statue. It is situated beside part of the Serpentine that is chock-full of birds. I started to feed the pigeons some of my granola when ducks and coots started to eat it, too. Then a heron appeared along with a mama duck and her babies and a swan. As time passed, other tourists appeared beside me to watch. A group of Italians were marveling at the ducklings and the swan, but obviously they had never heard a swan call before because they jumped when he did and started proclaiming in Italian. I finished the day by walking past the Prince Albert Memorial and meeting several very sweet bobbies in a Starbucks near the tube station. I can’t think of a better way to spend my last week.
My duckling friends
Tomorrow I will be leaving on an eight hour flight to Philadelphia, then a five hour flight to Portland with a heavy heart, but a happy one. Becky