Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dining all Blade Runner style at the Science Musuem, London. Posted by Hello

A weekend in the Metropolis

It’s been snowing in Cambridge. OK, not in a way Canadians do anything but fleer and scoff at, but since Sunday there have been regular flurries of snow, which mostly just turn to slush.

You know you’ve acclimatised (or had a couple of pints), when at closing time you’re standing outside a pub in nought but a wool jumper and brown velvet jacket (well, and trousers and such obviously) chatting amiably while the snow settles on you. Fortunately, you can usually brush it off before it melts, making it much more convenient than the rain if you’ve forgotten your Gore-Tex.

Anyway, there was also the odd snow-speck while I was in London over the weekend, visiting Jasmine and Peter. The number of guys I know from undergrad in Canberra who are now in Washington, New York, or London/Cambridge/Oxford is getting spooky, but is also rather cool.

The nicest part of the weekend was just staying with old friends and taking it easy. I’ve been a little anxious about Phud progress this term, and hadn’t left my tiny home-law-school-college triangle of Cambridge for a month. Saturday was the least disturbed sleep I’ve had in ages: seven hours, out like a baby. Funny the amount of security old friends can give you when you’re a long way from home in an environment as weirdly transitory as graduate study.

That and it was nice to have a huge hot bath (and brilliant Chinese take-away, mmm … duck pancakes).

Sunday we hit a Café Rouge for breakfast, and tramped ourselves footsore about the Science Museum, which had Stephenson’s Rocket, sunflowers being preserved in something that remained liquid at – 15 degrees centigrade, and the weird Blade-Runner café pictured above. Next door the Natural History Museum was a weird fusion of high-tech multi-media madness, dioramas clearly assembled in amateur taxidermy hour, and elegant Victorian cabinets full of what happens when you let nineteenth century Britons explore foreign lands, “discover” strange new creatures and kill and stuff them.

The Dodos next to a weird combination of sea-dwelling dinosaur skeletons and a cabinet full of stuffed hummingbirds looked exactly like the one in that episode of “The Goodies”. The dinosaur exhibit was also rather cool, the skeleton in the lobby being a special favourite.

The early evening passed in Kensington pub, where I got to catch up with a variety of LLM and undergrad friends, all now lawyers or management consultants in London. Gosh only knows how, but alcohol was consumed and the event horizon of my return to Cambridge kept receding. Yummy bar snacks didn’t help.

Jasmine and Peter eventually got me reunited with my luggage and back to Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross, where I bumped into a college friend just back from skiing in France with his family (as you do). Somehow all four of us managed to stand on the platform trading bad jokes until it was time to find seats for trip back.

A most satisfactory weekend.

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