insights, outtakes and observations from our sabbatical year in England
Monday, August 22, 2011
Morning and Evening Skies...
the passage between fields 2 and 3!
As usual, the morning started with the ritual walk: get up early (6ish), take the dog, and go for a walk to the Tube Station with Steve. It is only 10 or so minutes away, but it is nice to get the time in with Steve (i just leave the kids sleeping)...sometimes it feels like it is the only quiet time we get for conversation! :-) Then, after leaving him at the station, I retrace my steps, and walk over to Whetsone Stray Open Space to throw the ball for Kiwi.
This morning, I was not sure if the sky or the ground was more interesting. The sky did capture my attention at first: it was a relatively clear sky, but there was a very strange set of clouds floating there... it looked almost like some sort of star. I finally realized that it was vapour trails from the early morning planes over London! :-) Still quite beautiful, but less confusing (for the part of me that was trying to figure out if they were rain clouds, or what!) At some point, my attention was drawn back to the ground. The grass was still completely laden with dew. In particular, you could see small sparkly circles all over the place: small spider webs in the grass, capturing dew drops which shimmered in the early morning light. It is not that I have a thing for spiders or their webs... it is just that the little webs are totally invisible later in the day once the dew dries up. I almost felt bad walking across the grass, knowing that I was mashing plenty of the webs underfoot. Almost!
The day itself had the usual smattering of adventure. I decided to take the kids on one of the London Walks, this time the British Museum walk. We had been planning to go back to the Museum in anyevent, and this seemed the perfect way to do it! Meet at Holborn Station, pay 8 pounds (kids go free), walk down Museum Street over to the Museum, and then have a guide take us into the museum for a highlights tour! We arrived in time, paid our money, and followed to the guide over to the Museum. We stood outside with her for 10 minutes while she told us great tales about the history of the Museum, and Sir Hans Sloane (whose collection started things off). For example, his collection included a series of hairballs. yum, yum. He also apparently is responsible for the first chocolate bars (for Cadburys).
Now... this was all quite exciting, and we were about to enter the museum itself when the fire alarms went off. Yep.... police and firetrucks arriving, security people moving us first off the steps, then out of the courtyard, then accross the street. Just TRY to imagine a museum packed with people being herded out into the streets. Alex rightly pointed out that it was insane. It took us some maneouvering to work our way through the flow of people to reconnect with our group. Our tour guide told us that this happened not infrequently, and that they usually sorted it out before they got the museum fully emptied... but at some point she just gave up, and gave us our money back. sigh. Double sigh really, because the museum decided it was a false alarm and started letting people back in maybe another 5 minutes after that. The kids and I have decided that our luck is just not all that great!
So much for the guided tour. But, not to be disuaded, I still tried a bit of the unguided tour with them: we spent a half an our with the Elgin Marbles, learning everything we could about the South Metope IV (not a very romantic name really, but it was still interesting to learn what a metope was!) We watched a great film clip about this particular piece, which is of a centaur attack a youth with a water jug. The heads for both the centaur and youth are in a museum in Copenhagen... but we got to see a reconstruction of the entire piece, as well as a picture of what it would have once looked like (back in the days when the Parthenon would have been alive with colour. Sweet!
We managed to connect with Steve after we were done at the museum (since I am becoming more skilled at texting on my phone), and found a new pub for dinner...one that had yam fries (first time we have seen them since coming here). There was much celebrating from Duncan. And so, full of delicious pub food (which meant chicken tikka masala for me!), we headed off to the Tube station and wound our way home. The sky at the end of the evening was just as beautiful as it had been in the morning, though in a different way. I am sure that my camera does not do it justice, but... maybe you can imagine what it looked like from the backyard: the sky was a beautiful mix of pinks and blues. I just can not figure out how nature manages to produce such an amazing range of colours.