Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Fantastic Sunday

The Terracotta Army exhibition at the British Museum was - ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!!!!!

We dropped Taffa and Gaz off close to Forbidden Planet, where they were passing the day working, and drove to the Cambridge station to take the train to London. All day parking on Sundays is a mere £1. A bargain rate :-) The express trip to London is only 45 minutes so we hit town in really good time for the exhibition, which we had 1:30 tickets for. It was a beautiful day, and really quite mild so we walked through Bloomsbury to the BM and sussed out where the exhibition was. The sandwich bars in the Great Court were very busy (the museum was very busy, come to that – if we come down for the Hadrian exhibition in the autumn I think we might take a day off work and come mid-week) and, in any case, I didn’t really want a sandwich. We had about 50 minutes before 1:30, so we mooched off in search of lunch. The museum does have a restaurant which does proper food, but we thought it might also be a tad busy and in any case I’m not sure where it is after the massive reorganisation of a few years ago, so we went to one of the pubs across the road. A pub which probably does quite nice food. Everyone else seemed happy. Only our gammon, egg, tomato, mushrooms and chips failed to materialise. When it did after we enquired about its health, it was quite clear that they had completely forgotten about it – everything was cold and soggy apart from the gammon and egg! And we had about 3 microseconds to scoff it before we had to leg it back to the museum for the exhibition.

I bought the tickets for this exhibition back at the beginning of September. The Builder had been bemoaning the fact that the weather was perfect allotment digging weather and we were bobbing about in London. We had to scoff our lunch to get to the exhibition within the ten minutes we had allocated for entry. I don’t care. It was worth every penny, worth every day we had been waiting, worth all the time I spent hunting for weekend tickets on the internet (tickets sold out almost as quickly as they were released), worth the £7 for the audio guide, worth EVERYTHING. There was a display about the First Emperor and the history of the discovery of the warriors, with loads of fascinating information. There were about half a dozen representative terracotta warriors, plus some horses and a charioteer, and some administrators, an acrobat and a strong man. There was a facsimile of a half life-sized chariot made in bronze with a team of four bronze horses. The original is too thinly beaten and too frail to travel. There were some bronze birds which they discovered in 2001 in a cavern with an underground stream running through it. Amongst the birds are terracotta musicians. Archaeologists think that in life the emperor had birds which were trained to dance to the musicians’ music. And if you are going to build an eternal empire underground then you obviously need adequate entertainment! The warriors were magnificent. The horses were beautiful. And the bronze crane, swan and goose were glorious. So a taste of what the actual site contains. I want to go to China now to look at the whole thing. I have added it to my list of things to do, after going to Morocco by train.

Actually, I have discovered that a proper guided tour of China (I know I don’t care for guided tours, but we are not going to China on our own – I want someone in charge who knows what they’re doing *and* speaks Chinese!) with excursions to the Terracotta Army, Forbidden City, Great Wall and various other important touristy things is not all that expensive. I shall start saving up – after I’ve saved up for Morocco. Which I shall start doing when we get back from Japan and Australia.

Anyway. Back to Sunday. We emerged from the exhibition to find that we had quite a bit of the afternoon ahead of us, so we headed off to Covent Garden for a visit to the Australia Shop and for a potter about. They’ve moved the Australia Shop! Tabitha discovered it’s new address, but I, of course, didn’t actually know where Maiden Lane is – apart from not all that far from where the Australia Shop used to be. Now why, I wonder, did we ask a stray passing policeman where it was (he didn’t know and had to look it up; fortunately he had a London A-Z with him) when I had Jenny in my back pack. Jenny would have known. And she would have given us walking directions! Anyway, stocked up with Promite for Freyja and a violet crumble for Taffa, we wandered lazily around, then made our way back to King’s Cross for the train back up to Cambridge, stopping and the Marquis Cornwallis for a pint on the way.

Just as well we hadn’t planned to go to Camden Market. It seems to have burned down on Saturday night :-S

We collected Taffa and Gaz from a pub near Forbidden Planet, went back to their place to collect my seafood, which had been left to keep cool in their fridge, then headed back to Chesterfield. The seafood, it had to be said, smelled very fishy, and seemed a bit gooey. We discovered, when we got home, that the langoustines, which were only half cooked, had Gone Off :-( They have been binned. The cooked prawns and the raw scallops and crevettes survived and are now bedded down in the freezer.

We got home to find Marlo on the OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD from our place!!!!!!!! I’ve never seen him over there before, though I think he must have been before. He appeared down a driveway as the car pulled up and sat by a wall waiting for us to get out of the car. I hope he knows that police cars with sirens and blue lights have right of way over road crossing cats! (One had torn down the road just as we arrived)

I had a teaching session last evening, 6-7:30. 25 students, the lecturer said. At 5 past 6 the 20 students who were there and I started looking at electronic books. At quarter past, an avalanche of another 20 or so students poured into the room (having not been able to find it). Five minutes later another 15 students poured in. The PC lab I was using only has 27 PCs, and only 35 chairs. We aren’t supposed to have any more people than that in the room. It was an absolute shambles. There were students everywhere, sat on the desks, squished on the floor, sardined in at the back of the room, standing. I had to abandon my hands-on session, give them a quick demo and send them out into the library to have a go while I sat on the help desk to answer questions and sort out problems. I think most of them went home. As I would have done in their place. I wasn’t happy. Had I known there were going to be upward of 70 students I could have planned accordingly!

That fox is making itself at home in our garden. I was in yesterday morning and watched it making its way around with confidence, clearly knowing where things were. The water in the bucket by the shed was frozen, so it went to the bird bath. The water in that also was frozen, so it went to the fish pond. Too frozen on that side, so it went round to the other where the water was much less frozen. It kind of blew on it till a little hole appeared and then there was water to drink. Clever!!

The days are getting noticeably longer. It was getting light this morning as we left home, and was light enough to read ten minutes later. And it’s only just dark when we get home in the evening. Another week or two and it won’t be dark at all.
Post a Comment