I had arranged to visit London, to see one of our suppliers (Insight, and the excellent Gary Siddle, who I’ve worked with for 9 years and couldn’t recommend more highly).
I quite like London, and since my company were paying for the train (First Class once again !) I decided to fit in some adventure, while there.
The route to the event, went right past the British Museum.
Some of the worlds most amazing artefacts are kept here (some of them controversially) and people travel from all over the world to visit this amazing place. I’ve been before, but it seemed silly to pass within 100 metres of it, and not have a look inside.
The Rosetta stone needs little introduction. It basically has the same paragraph, in 3 different languages. If you understand one of the languages, you can use this as a key to reverse engineer the other languages, and then use that to translate yet other samples of the same text.
Its value, is impossible to calculate.
No less controversial than the Rosetta stone, are the Elgin marbles. Purchased by Lord Elgin and placed in the British musuem, the Greek government repeatedly campaigns to have them returned.
I couldn’t help thinking, there are only a handful of places in the entire world that have artefacts like these in the same place. Since its only 2 hours on the train, why don’t more people go ? (and there are dozens of other free museums in London as well).
Outside the museum, is one of the tourist traps, and you can see that Fish and Chips are £8.50 !. Perhaps that answers my previous question.
I continue along, and my route takes me past Covent Garden. Incredibly expensive, but one of the nicest places to eat and drink I’ve ever been to.
Lorraine Pascal is one of my favourite Chefs at the moment.
Unlike many celebrity Chefs, she doesn’t have a restaurant as such, instead opting for a cake shop in the middle of Covent garden.
I decided to have some coffee & a cake. The one’s I picked cost around £12, but they were delicious, and I had travelled 200 miles to enjoy them.
I continue on, and at this point hit the river Thames. I have another mile and a half to walk along the banks of the river.
The weather was superb and on the right, you can see the new building – Shard London Bridge (it takes its name from a shard of glass) expected to open to the public in June 2012.
A series I used to watch – Spooks, used to frequently feature clandestine meetings on the banks of the river Thames. This looked like the kind of place that Harry would meet someone from the intelligence community.
I arrive at the event, and nightmare. There is a queue nearly 400 metres long.
I won’t bore you with what happened after this, as its all about IT, and ip phones and stuff like that.
A successful event, and my keep earned, I still have a little time before my train home, so continue on.
One a recent walk, a visitor to the country (the excellent Raymond from South Africa) asked me about Westminster Abbey, which he had always wanted to see.
Got me thinking about it, so I headed for there.
On the way, I pass the houses of parliament. Across the road, you can see there area where previously, protestors camped out, but have now been moved on.
I finaly arrive at Westminster Abbey. Its £13 to go inside (although free if you just want to pray) and you cant take photographs, but in every way, it was an amazing experience.
The staff inside (who I found out were called vergers) were very helpful and polite (I had a map, but without there help, it would have been impossible to find my way around the place). For a building that nearly 1000 years old, it is enormous.
Every hour on the hour, they say a prayer. While I was there, they prayed for victims of war. Although I’m not particularly religious, I was touched by this simple act.
A cynic might say, what good would it do people who are suffering, to know that others are thinking about them. I disagree. Its the very essence of what makes us human.
I walk back in a reflective mood.
When I get back to Euston, its 15 minutes before my train leaves. I decide to try out the First Class lounge.
I absolutely love Virgin Trains, but it was that busy and loud, I would rather have waited in Macdonalds at my own expense.
I board the train and help another passenger to connect his IPad to the trains Wi Fi internet. I willingly help, because he politely asks if anyone around knows about IT.
It reminded me of films where the Airline captain comes over the tannoy saying “Is there a Dr on the plane !”.
Three glasses of complimentary wine later, I pull into Chester. The days adventure is complete and the weekend is beginning.