London

I am a little train-lagged so please forgive spelling mistakes/unedited swearing/bad sentence construction etc. (That is, if you notice any difference)

We went to London for the day yesterday which means a 5.50 AM train which followed a 4.15 AM get up. As usual, when the alarm goes off, one of us always says “We are NEVER doing this again.” But we always do.

We had a lovely time. We mainly went to see the British Museum’s exhibition on Troy. I used to have an English teacher who said that there was a lot of inverted snobbery when it came to “Classical Literature” and that mythology and Shakespeare and the like are basically rattling good stories but you just have to work a bit harder to get into them. I think he was probably right and I would say that if you fancy going to see something like this, then you should go for it. I mean, honestly, I am not the brightest button in the box, but I don’t let my ignorance or people saying “Oooh get you!” put me off.

I wanted to see the exhibition after reading Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls which was a brilliant book about Greek Mythology and the way that the women who were the spoils of war, never actually say anything so we have no idea how they felt. Having ignored my English teacher and I did not have the faintest idea about Homer, The Iliad or indeed The Odyssey. This did not stop me standing too close to two awfully posh men and nodding sagely as they chatted about whether Achilles and Patroclus were lovers or just “terribly attached to one another.” Apparently there is no suggestion of them having gay jig-a-jig in Homer if you were wondering.

Anyway, it’s a marvelous exhibition and you don’t have to be a Greek scholar to enjoy it. There’s the mythology and the archaeology and then more modern representations of the myths in art. I couldn’t get over the age of the stuff. Vases and friezes that were over 2000 years old.

We had a wander round Oxford Street which is a challenge on a Saturday afternoon, I can tell you. Then we had our tea at our favourite Italian on the South Bank, did a bit more pootling and then we got the train back. That was, as usual, a joy.

There was a time when a train journey was a lovely addition to a holiday. I mean it was never like a Japanese bullet train or anything and realistically no-one ever expects the toilet to flush first time do they? But other than that, once you sat down with your coffee and those little biscuits in packets, and read a nice thing about pensions in Good Housekeeping it was lovely experience. (Did I ever tell about the time I was just undoing my jeans when the door to the train-loo suddenly flung itself open. Five seconds later and I would have been facing the entire carriage looking like someone from those 1970’s Confessions movies. If you get the chance, ask HOH about it. He won’t be able to answer you because he will be crying laughing about it. Again. And Again.)

Anyway, back to the journey home. On arriving at Paddington we learnt that a ten carriage train had been reduced to five carriages so you don’t have to have a huge imagination to picture what went on. We were OK, we had seats but further down the train, people who had booked were standing up or in the wrong seats. And the train manager was getting a total pasting. I think I have said before that it is my conviction that to sell seats on a train and then not provide them – expecting to keep the money – is fraud. Try this sort of thing in any other walk of life. I will be complaining. Again.

It’s this sort of thing that makes me worry about HS2. Apparently, the North of England won’t see it open there for twenty to thirty years! So what sort of state do we think the rest of the rail infrastructure will be in by then? Those of us who live in the South West of England are already ducking under the seats as we go through Dawlish in case the sea throws up something unpleasant against the dodgy windows.

Anyway, we got home safely if a bit crumpled. As I lay in my bed I thought “I’m too old to do this again.” But I probably will.

Have a good week.

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2 Comments

  1. February 3, 2020 / 7:25 am

    That sounded like a great trip. Trains notwithstanding. (all trains should have adequate seatage and be notwithstanding IMHO) In my 30s I used to be given a Good Housekeeping subscription every Christmas by my best beloved. Like a poor Ofsted, my housekeeping never really scored Good, let alone Outstanding. I suspect I’m going to be put in Special Measures soon…

    • lesleyps91
      Author
      February 3, 2020 / 8:31 pm

      I remember the nice people at Good Housekeeping phoning me up when I cancelled my subscription and asking why I had done it. Could they tempt me back with a special offer? It seemed a shame when I said “I’m sorry – I just don’t really read your magazine anymore.” I just didn’t feel I was Good enough at Housekeeping

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