I slept like a baby log. Fuck if I didn’t need it. I pad around for a bit, shower, pull on my rank dungarees, and go to the street for caffeine. The pastries in the case must be eschewed, but the coffee’s just fine. Ali’s a long time rallying. She’s suffering from one spectacular sleep deficit. I putter electronically, as is my wont. Eventually, we’re able to consult with one another and decide to visit the British Museum, the one big hole in our itinerary. It’s a straight shot up Drury Lane, which means we can stop for a real breakfast at our ‘regular’ coffee shop. Poached eggs on toast with streaky bacon.
The great glass canopy over the courtyard surrounding the circular former Main Reading Room of the British Library makes for a breathtaking entrance to the vastness of the Museum. This time we plump for a two-pound map to guide us to the greatest hits, like the Marbles of Elgin. They’re pretty easy to find and, truthfully, not that impressive as marbles go, lots of torsi pieces and one endless frieze of horse legs. As we’re leaving, a random bust by the door, a handsome gent with personality, not just an expression, catches our eye. We stop to say ‘hello’. In another dim chamber of fragments, a gaggle of four young women dressed as Hogwarts coeds, complete with robes and ties, giggle self-consciously at who-the-fuck-knows-what proving there’s no statute of limitations on douche-baggery.
Alice and I gravitate to the Ancient and Medieval Britain rooms where Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Viking, and Celtic treasures abound; hoards of silver and gold discovered in fields and mounds mostly by amateurs. Made from walrus ivory by medieval Nordic folk, the Lewis Chessmen delight us, but the bog-pickled mummy dude, not so much. For two tired people, we sure can while away the hours among the artifacts. In the gift shop (yeah, again), I buy Ali a silk scarf. In another gift shop, we find the individual chessmen for sale. Ali buys a berserker (a knight, I guess) and I get a print of a Japanese frog.
Did I mention my well-traveled and stinky blue jeans? With gusto, I toss them into the washing machine, delighted with the idea of a transatlantic flight in clean pants. I separate my dirty lights from my dirty darks and chuck them in as well. As an experienced launderer, I check the dryer filter for impacted lint only to discover a fibrous accumulation the size and color of a squirrel. Begone! When the wash cycle completes, however, I find my Jockey shorts, undershirts, and socks have all turned a delicate shade of robin’s egg blue. Time for a fucking meal. But I have NO PANTS! Yeah, you do; those too-long dress pants. Suck it up, dude. Be not caring.
Great Indian meal tonight! Great Thai place the night before! Each restaurant on either side of the front door to our flat. Pie easy. Tomorrow, we fly.