Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Big Smoke

First of all, I just want to say that I got the impression I may have caused a bit of offence with my last post, and I'm sorry. I certainly was not trying to be flippant about miscarriage, or worse genetic conditions that can appear during the NT scan. I know this can be an incredibly awful experience for people and I'm really sorry if you thought I was making light of it.

Secondly, this is not a baby blog, really, so I have no idea how often it'll come up. I think it will come up more than I think in a 'and I couldn't drink wine...' way, which consumes rather a lot of my waking hours, but I am a lot less sure of the actual nitty gritty. With that in mind- London.

When I booked my trip back to Scotland, I decided to factor in a 3 day jaunt to London. I've only been to London for fun once before, on a trip with my dad. We took the overnight bus down and the overnight bus back (since money was pretty tight in those days) and we went to the science museum and to see An Inspector Calls (my choice, it was brilliant.) It was an awesome trip, I think I was about 15. Since then, trips have mainly involved visas and work.

Generally, I hate London. It is busy, narrow, people are rude and it just smells and looks and feels kind of... dirty. When I compare it to my beloved Edinburgh I laugh with derision. Yes it's bigger and a bit cooler and you can get Ethiopian food at 4am if you so wish, but it has nothing to compare to the majesty of Edinburgh Castle, sitting atop it's rocky throne. There's no sense of quaint, cosy history: it sprawls.

So I decided to visit again, catch up with the friends who live there and do some visiting of my own. This plan was valiantly made pre-hyperemesis, and once it had struck I regretted the whole endeavour. I cut back the days I was going to be there, cancelled on a few friends and prayed it would be ok. It mostly was. I got from Heathrow to Crouch End in such an easy journey I was genuinely confused, as were my local friends. I had Bangers and Mash (sausages, mashed potato and gravy, American friends) in a gorgeous pub in Crouch End with my friend, stayed up past midnight and caught up and giggled and genuinely loved her (and her very nice partner's) company. The next day, I awoke jetlag free and headed out to the city to do some proper exploring,

The V&A, with school children eating ham sandwiches
I really wanted to see the fashion exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum. I'm so glad I went, the exhibition was awesome, but the tearooms were something else. I ate a delicious scone and pot of decaf tea surrounded by Victorian opulence  watching the old ladies and families and European tourists and art students pass by me. It was incredible. I wandered round the museum and watched the school groups, drawing busts of long-dead aristocracy, tongues poking out in concentration. The older teenagers, wearing ever loosening school uniforms of kilts and blazers and ties and so many layers, were sketching nudes, groups of girls pointing and giggling as they went. It was so quintessentially British, I felt like I was watching a sketch show on Channel 4 from the 1990s. But it was very much real life. A real life I understood, felt part of. 

Row of busts being drawn by school kids, V&A
After the V & A, I headed on the Science Museum. There was a brilliant exhibition on Alan Turing, the codebreaker. I wandered round, learning things, for a while before heading to Westminster to meet my University friend/ ex-flatmate, a fancy civil servant who somehow managed to finish work early to hang out with me. We headed along the Southbank, another area I'd never been to before. We had coffee and caught up a bit before making our way back to his house to have dinner with his lovely wife at the house they had just bought. It was so lovely. 

Winston Churchill looking out over Big Ben
The next day was pretty grim. I got up really early to head to King's Cross (platform 9 3/4 really does exist!) I got the Tube with my friend, but the morning sickness kicked in pretty badly at Kensington station. I had to leap off the train with my enormous suitcase, threatening to vomit of the shoes of the fancy business men refusing to move. After vomiting into an aeroplane sick bag on the platform, I had to wait 45 minutes  until I was well enough to board the train again, head between my knees. In true London fashion, no one gave me a second look. I finally arrived at King's Cross to board my Edinburgh train feeling rotten, and well-reminded of all the reasons I hate London. It's just not for me. 

I really loved having the day to myself though. I was so aware that my time for wandering around a city and spending time in museums is limited- I had to enjoy my opportunity whilst I had it.

ps. The blogging might be a bit sporadic. The cat ate the R key off my keyboard. Seriously. Typing this has taken me a LONG time... ETA- now also missing the 3, F9 and the left arrow. I do not understand the obsession.


  1. I'm currently sitting at the departure lounge in Edinburgh airport on my way to London for a day of work followed by a weekend of solo touristing and I cannot wait - this post couldn't have come at a better time! I'm going to the V&A on Sunday so I'll make sure to have a pit stop at the tea room.

    1. It is a RIDICULOUS tea room (and it is definitely a tearoom, not a cafe) but I adored it. I wish I had felt well enough to take more pictures. Have an amazing weekend!

  2. I end up seeing a lot of kindness in London, there are rude people but I think in a city this big there will be all kinds of people, some rude and "busy and important" and still more who are kind and normal.

    So glad you got to see more of the city though and sad that folk were not looking out for you when you were sick. Glad that part is over for you.

    1. It's funny because the other day, here in LA, I watched as 5 people literally stepped over an unconscious man on the pavement- this is the most self-obsessed city in the world. For some reason it bothers me less here though. I think because I'm not comparing it to home the whole time, which I definitely am with London.

      And honestly, if someone had spoken to me I would have brushed them off. I did enjoy my couple of days, but I am sure I could never live there, even if most people are lovely and normal!

  3. I've never been to London, except an unplanned 24 hours at Heathrow. Did you know they have nice heated showers in that airport? Anyhow, thanks for sharing the story. It sounds like you had a nice day, especially despite of the sickness!


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