Wednesday, December 5, 2007

London: Saturday -- Day 4

Ok, I know it's ridiculous that it's taken me this long to complete my London notes, but it takes Tiiiiiiiime.

OK. Saturday was Salisbury Day. We decided to sleep in a bit and then Andrew picked us up and we once again headed out.

Salisbury, as Sven told us, is where the Magna Carta can be seen. Or rather, the best preserved of the original copies. (They didn't have a Kinko's back in the day...)

Out again, on the road. It was so pleasant to just sit back and enjoy the scenery and listen to Sven, human encyclopedia and historian. Andrew and I both agree that Sven should become a university professor.

In Salisbury Andrew dropped me off by the public restroom in the car park, found a spot, then we all met outside. First top was lunch. We headed up a path by a series of tourist shops, stopping at a stuffed-animal store that had really nice stuffed animals, including Steiff. I was sorely tempted to get a wombat.

It was an overcast day, but the city had a friendly feel; people sauntered along, looking in shop windows, admiring the swans in the canal. It was nice.

Having been to Salisbury before, Sven directed us to a little diner-y place he knew of. I'd insisted on paying for lunch so I went to the counter to order three jacket (baked) potatoes with beans and cheese, and 2 Cokes for the boys. I tried not to do the math, but yes, that lunch cost me close to thirty dollars. As I said to the ice-cream vendor a the theater when Andrew dove in and insisted on paying, "Seven years of a moronic president and a disastrous economic policy means that my money is literally no good here."

But it was my pleasure to treat my buddies, who had been so generous to me. I know Sven is not rolling in money, and I appreciated the effort he went to for me.

On to the cathedral, where the Scouts (as in Boy Scouts) were celebrating the scouts centennial. That's the thing about England: you enter a cathedral that is centuries old and houses one of the most revered documents in the western world, and you walk straight into a parade of little boys marching down the aisle blowing noisemakers at the top of their lungs. It's great.

I could have sworn I had pictures from this day, but none downloaded from my camera. Oh well. We split up and I wandered about and found the room where the Magna Carta was displayed. It was cool to see something I'd heard so much about. It was like the time in Venice when I'd stood a foot away from Da Vinci's Universal Man. I'd looked at it in its case and thought, "so there you are."

The sun was setting so I looked for the boys, found them, and we wandered about the cloisters before heading out. We still had Stonehenge on the way back.

The sun had set while we approached Stonehenge, and we wondered what happens after dark.

Well, what happens, apparently, is that they close it. They place is fenced off, and the only entrance was barred and guarded. Another guard stood at the stones themselves. I was disappointed, because I'd hoped to do my Tess of the D'Urbervilles impression to round out my Thomas Hardy theme. Oh well.

Although the sun had set, there was still enough ambient light for us to climb the small incline at the side of the road and peer through the chain-link fence. The only other time I'd seen Stonehenge was in 1985, ad my recollection is of seeing it far away, of it being very small. Now, up close, I could appreciate what all the fuss was about. Maybe it was just that it was night time and in the middle of nowhere, but it felt very powerful. Sven told us about all the different henges (circles), some made of wood, that had been found on land an d underwater. There is also apparently a series of towns from France to Spain that lie along a line and have the word "star" (or, estrella, etoile) in their names.

back in London, we went to IKEA. I'd never been to IKEA, so it was a real treat, if you don't count the million unleashed children treating it like a playground, and their useless lax parents. Sven bought Andrew a very comfy chair, and I ogled a nice daybed that I hope to get once I buy a condo (hopefully in the spring). It was very cute and practical.Andrew also got some shades for his lights.

Back at Andrew's flat we had takeout pizza and watched Hot Fuzz at my recommendation. I think Andrew is still recovering from the gorier bits (which you don't expect in a comedy...) I'd enjoyed the movie when I first saw it...

Then Sven and I were off to home and bed.


SP said...

We went there on Saturday.

JC said...


SP said...

Salisbury. We went there on Saturday. Your blog said Sunday before you changed it without admitting your mistake.

JC said...

I admit it! I CONFESS! No more fluffy pillows!!!! Have some mercy!