Monday, 23 February 2009

Didn't we have a luvverly time...

**WARNING!! This post is seriously photo-heavy.**
Please adjust your varifocals ready for so much glorious technicolour!

...the day we went to LONDON!!
A beautiful day...

da-dah da-dah da-dah.

So it was half term. Usually at half term we don't do much. We don't go anywhere very interesting or exciting. But this time around because OH was at home I thought maybe we should do 'something'. The kiddie said she would like to go to a museum and see some mummies. A plan was hatched. A trip was discussed. It was delayed from Tuesday to Thursday and then the day dawned...


I woke at about 8.30 but the other two both slept late 'til about 9.15. Kiddie woke up and was immediately upset that she had overslept and now it was 'too late to go to London and it was all her fault'. A pow-wow on the bed ensued and we decided, "To Hell with it (whatever 'it' is)! We'll go anyway!"

So at about 10.25am we left Lichfield, the Midlands, England, The World, The Universe and headed for the M1 and the BIIIIIG CITY.

'The Plan' was to head down the motorway 'til we reached the outer regions of the Tube. Then park the car and catch a trainy thing into the City. Pah! We drove into Stanmore. We drove around Stanmore. We saw an underground station. We did NOT see a car park. No multi-storeys. No Pay and Displays. No parking meters. We drove on.

We drove to Edgware. We saw an underground station. We saw a car park. We saw a sign which said 'Car Park - Full'. We saw two CPOs. We did the proper thing that our mummies and daddies had taught us - ask a policeman. Neither of them lived in the area so couldn't tell us where the next nearest station with a car park was. Instead they just yacked onto us for ages while several other cars drove past us into the 'full' car park and found spaces!! We drove round the 'full' car park. It was full! We drove on.

We drove to Harrow and Wealdstone. We saw an underground station. We saw signs for a car park. We drove round in circles for bit and eventually we worked out the one-way system and drove into the car park. We parked the car and got out. Yay!!

It was 1.30.

We bought All Zones tickets and got on a train. To while away the journey kiddie took some photos. This one is entitled "Daddy and Wembley Stadium". Hmm...

Eventually, an hour later we arrived in the centre of London and headed straight for The British Museum. By this time we were a mite peckish so we popped into 'Munchkins' - an establishment specialising in food and beverages. There's lucky!

This is the beautiful kiddie awaiting her turkey baguette.

And this is the delightful OH enduring a whole day with the family. (Would you give this man a job? If so please email me :O)

So, suitably refreshed, at 3.15pm, we finally headed for The British Museum. This is Bloomsbury Crescent(?) opposite said museum, oh and a few tourists.

Here is the famous pediment and sculptures above the grand entrance.

Ta dah!
The family gathered in front of the Millennium bit of the museum (oh I'm so good with the tour guide bit - I can remeber all the names and details). Actually OH is programming his phone's satnav to try and find our next port of call (good old Blogger - still managed to get the photos all jumbled up!).

This is a close-up of one of the modern pillars/columns at the North end of the museum (we are doing the visit in reverse now).

Ah-ha! Proper exhibits at last! This is a fabulous beaded cloth/shroud which was laid across the torso of the bound mummy.

I don't know why but the actual layout of Egyptian tombs and burial chambers gives me the creeps. It's the idea of the hidden chambers - makes me feel very weird.

More beautiful beads. And that turquoise... So much of Ancient Egyptian design almost feels cliched now. The turquoise and terracotta colours, the hieroglyphs, the pyramids, the tombs, the masks and caskets... They have all been used so much they seem almost naff now. Do you know what I mean? City and Guilds have a lot to answer for :O)
In the flesh, however, you realise just how beautiful these artefacts are.

This is almost like a little sampler of knots and bindings used to tie the mummies up tight!

And this is the only mummified body I photographed - a child's foot. The toes and toenails are actually pieces of cloth made to look like the real thing.

These were some of my favourites exhibits in the Egyptian section. Little female figures carved from bone (I think). They are about 3" high. I just love them. So old yet could have been made yesterday.

And I spotted this little group of clay and cloth dolls when I had to take kiddie to find the loo.

So, after seeing a few mummies kiddie had had enough and wanted to see dinosaurs! Bless her! So OH tried to progamme his satnav and find it while I asked a nice man outside the museum and he gave us directions to the nearest Tube.
Here is a sneaky pic of the kiddie trying to look cool and worldly-wise, and pretending she's not with us :O)

Next stop - South Kensington. The Natural History Museum. Time of arrival - 5.05pm. Last entrance into museum - 5.50pm.
After a quick lookie at the big guy in the foyer, and a peek at the wasps nests on the left, we joined the queue for the dinos.
We shuffled into the gloom.
When we rounded the corner kiddie decided to 'ham it up'. This is 'Oh my goodness! It's a HUGE dinosaur!' Where does she get that exhibitionist streak from?...
I love this museum. The building itself would be fascinating even if it was empty. There are so many little details everywhere. This octopus is one of many different creatures carved into the stonework.
As I've finally posted off my swap parcel I felt it only right to include an owl (for Apryl - lol).

And then we reached the dinos. I love the way they have lit the skeletons so that spooky shadows are thrown onto the ceiling and walls.

This one got kiddie really excited. It's a Camarasaurus. Huh? It's the big daddy of Pleo. Is the little green chap going to grow that big?! Eek!

And then, just when we reached the far end by the full-sized, automated T Rex the announcement came over the PA system, " The museum is now closed. Please can you make your way to the exits."
So, at 6pm we shuffled back out of the gloom again, made our way down into 'that' tunnel and were shepherded along en mass 'til we eventually reached South Ken tube. There was more faffing about due to faulty signals and such, but we managed to get back to Harrow and Wealdstone Station in one piece. As we had plenty of time before the car park was locked we visited the Shrine of the Golden Arches to celebrate. I had (what turned out to be)the yuckiest thing on the menu (the bacon and cheese melt thing that's a Winter Warmer special at the moment - barf!). That'll teach me for succumbing to the lure of fast food.
We went and found the car and were pleasantly surprised - it only cost £3.50 to have parked for nearly 7 hours! It would probably have cost that for 2 hours in Birmingham. In fact, we did the whole trip pretty cheaply. £15 for the tube tickets, £3.50 car park, about £50 on all the food and drinks, and if we'd made packed lunches like we'd planned we have done it for much less.
We finally got back home at about 10.00pm. Kiddie was fast asleep (not surprisingly).

So there you have it. There and back again in 12 hours. Next time we want to do the London Eye as well! Maybe we'll have to leave at 9.00am to squeeze that in. :O)


Jackie said...

I think you're very brave to do London in a day! It was worth it though by the sound of it.
The Manchester Museum has an amazing Egyptian gallery if you fancy a less hectic day out. Mind you their natural History collection is a bit moth eaten.

jellybelly*jellybrain said...

I can still remember the few trips my parents took me to London for my birthdays. We mostly did the Planetarium and Madame Tussauds, but I have a vague recollection of the Natural History Museum.
I have been to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and saw the real Tutankhamun death mask as well as mummies etc. Even though I was 15 at the time and "too cool for school" I can remember being blown away by the magnificence of it all!
Travelodge do some really good mid-week deals so maybe next time you could stay the night?

Kitty said...

Oh! Those little bone figures are SO gorgeous! I want one. They look like they're shivering, don't they? x

JuliaB said...

oooh those little Egyptian ladies look as if they need a good bikini wax!!

Glad you had a lovely day in London. I love those museums too!


ethel and edna's tearoom said...

lol I thought that too. They look like supermodels freezing on a British beach. tee hee