Nothing like having a holiday from your holiday! This weekend (free travel weekend) was awthum. We kicked it off by seeing "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Globe, which I mentioned in my last post. Did I mention I met Benedick? Ok, fine, I know I mentioned that, I'm still just really excited about that.
Thursday was Brighton Beach day. When I was running that morning I was getting pretty sweaty due to the heat, so we definitely picked a great beach day. Brighton is about an hour via train, so not too bad. But we got out of the train station and there is a really long street and you can see straight to the beach. As you might imagine we (Amy, Hannah, Emily, Jessica, Sarah and I) were all giggling like the schoolgirls we are.
The beach is not made up of sand, but of rocks. We were excited about the prospect of not having sand in everything! Obviously we took care of business first and rented our cute, legit, blue-striped beach chairs and then made a dash to test the water. FREEZING. So we decided we would wait to take the plunge. When we finally got to that point it was a pretty comical affair, some squeals were heard.
After spending some time laying out and enjoying the sun and The Graveyard Book, my then-current read for English, we decided to head over to the pier. But on the way over a few of us pitched in 50p to try some "jellied eel." An interesting experience. And by "interesting" I really mean "utterly repulsive." I may or may not have lost my jellied eel all over the beach. Right in front of an eating area. Bahahaha.
The pier was totally like you see in the movies! Apart from a creepy encounter with a henna-dude, it was an awesome experience. I went on this ride that takes you up super high and then swings you down and up again- it was super fun. Most importantly, I got a tan. So for all of you who were telling me I was going to come back super white... just kidding! I'm still going to come home super white.
Then Friday we got up bright and early and headed to the British Library. The tube was packed and let me just ask the question, is there a better way to start off the day? packed tube? Yes, please! Actually, packed tube isn't always a bad thing. At least, Friday it wasn't a bad thing. I had no where to hold on to because I was squished right in the center, so at one point I started to wobble a little, and this dreamy guy took it upon himself to help me keep my balance. Tehehe. The British Library was sweet. They have some treasures there. I got a kick out of the Beatles section, because they had like song lyrics written on the back of birthday cards and directions to a house and stuff.
From the Library we headed to Wimbledon. We got our strawberries and cream and took a quick look around. To see most of it you have to pay and we were content with seeing what we saw without paying. Then we went to the Rajdoot in Wimbledon Village and had the best Indian food ever. On the way home we stopped at the Natural History Musuem and did the Butterfly Exhibit. I was under the impression that the exhibit was cool because you could touch butterflies, so I was a little surprised when we got chastised for encouraging the butterflies to land on us. Still laughing about that one. We paralleled it to a petting zoo and being told that we can only pet the animal if it comes over and starts nuzzling. We retaliated by stamping ourselves with butterflies at the different stations. They felt the sting.
Did I mention that the weather all weekend was pretty dang hot? Seriously though.
After the butterflies, we ate some leftover at the Centre and then headed out the door to go and try to get discounted tickets to Wicked. We had success and we got great seats too! The Theatre was set up very well. I got a kick out of listening to Wicked with accents. "Dahncing Through Life" was a personal favorite. Elpheba was incredible. I seriously couldn't even breathe during "Defying Gravity" because she was just on fire. Fiyero looked like Prince Charming, which was awesome. Even the ensemble was on fire. They were seriously intense. Loved it. I loved it so much that when we got back to the Centre I attempted to reinact by jumping on the table in the servery and try to defy gravity, it didn't really work though.
So, I'm not the most spontaneous person. Actually, my spontaneity is like nonexistent. So being in London has been interesting, because usually plans fail, no matter how hard you try. Things just come up and things don't work out, but then better things happen and in the end everything comes out all right. This is just something I have gotten used to. But let me just say that I spent so long on the tube on Saturday that I finished an entire 200 page book. Who knew that closing the Victoria line and the District/Circle line could be so disastrous?
We intended to be at the British Museum when it opened, but then on the way there Shelisa's debit card got eaten by the machine and they told us to stay close by because they would get it out in the next hour or so. So we went over to Portobello for a bit, but then headed back to the bank. They then told us that they wouldn't be able to get it out until Monday. So at this point we didn't really have enough time to get to the Museum because we were meeting Hannah at Camden Town at noon. So we tried (and failed) to do a few other things in the hour that we had.
Camden was fun and pretty crazy. The tube was insane getting there and back. There was a football match that day too so all the Manchester United fans were out in force. A lot of chanting and Ole-ing was happening. Other people were sweating on me and stuff.
Earlier this week I discovered that there was a Summer Festival at John Keat's House. So I booked for the "Closing Readings and Concert" and I was pumped up about this. It was happening Saturday at five thirty. So we got back to the Centre from Camden and had like fifteen minutes to get ready to head back out. So we get to Hampstead and head to the house (we also received the best directions to date- "it's the sixth left and first right"). I seriously had butterflies as we approached the house, until we got there and realized that the Closing Readings were actually happening on Sunday and there was a "Three voices" reading happening on Saturday. Oopsie. So we kept our fingers crossed and put our (Amy, Shelisa, and I) names on the waiting list. We explored the grounds of Keat's house in the meantime. We read "To Autumn" and "When I have fears" while passing the time. Then, luckily, they managed to squeeze us in!
So don't even worry, we just listened to a poetry reading at John Keat's house!!!! And we got a little break between readings, so we got to explore the house and we weren't sure if we were allowed to take pictures or not- so we were sneaking around getting pictures. Many phrases like "Clear!" or "Cover me" were heard during this time. We did stop short at jumping into John's bed though. We were tempted. We also might have attempted to kiss his death mask had it not been behind glass. It was magical. And though it was not the original plum tree, because plum trees do not generally have very long lives, we saw the fake plum tree, where John would sit and write poetry.
On the way back from Hampstead we did our usual Saturday activity of Gino's and Trafalgar Square. By this time most of our fellow Londoners were returning from their travels elsewhere. It was fun to hear about their experiences.
Sunday was, as per usual, wonderful. I love my Sunday school class. They are awesome. The lesson was about "Preparing for the Second Coming" and I used the talk by Elder Andersen about "Preparing the World for the Second Coming" and we had a good discussion about missionary work and my class is mostly males. One of the boys told me he could see me serving my mission in South Africa, because he went there once and I look like I could be South African. Hahaha. I also had the very big surprise of seeing Reed Peterson! He used to be in my home ward and his wife was my Sunday school teacher at one point. He was there on business and just happened to be at the Peckham Ward! It was a lovely surprise.
After church I took the tube straight to the British Museum. Luckily, museums are Sunday-approved activities. Rick had a good tour of the place (Rick Steve's) and he took care of me. I also learned some interesting things about the mummification and the extraction of internal organs. I had heard about the method of using a metal rod to pull the organs out through the nose, but that wasn't the only way. There is a different way, that apparently was less expensive. I'm just going to leave it at that.
The rest of Sunday was interesting. And once again, I'm just going to leave it at that.