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London weekend

My main reason for going to London was to attend a JACT Council meeting on the Saturday morning. I do this every six months, but normally only attend the Ancient History sub-committee (of which I am a member) in the afternoon. This time, though, I was asked to represent our committee on the main Council in the morning, which was quite good fun, actually - I certainly learnt a lot more about how the organisation as a whole works than I knew before.

Sneakily, since my travel to London is being paid for anyway, I usually take the opportunity to catch up while I am there with rosamicula, so I did just that this time too. I stayed over with her and the lovely itsjustaname (whose new blonde, 20s-style bob looks fantastic on her), and we were also joined by qatsi and Mrs. Q. on the Saturday evening for dinner. Much wine was quaffed and conversation enjoyed, while we gorged ourselves on a menu well up to rosamicula's usual culinary standards: chicken, chorizo and pumpkin pie with absolutely perfect pastry and accompanied by cheesy, creamy mash and veg, followed by an Imperial Purple Penny cake which she has invented in my honour. This mainly featured blackberries, blackcurrants and chocolate, but there was also a secret ingredient which we have all vowed solemnly never to divulge.

The cake in all its purple glory

Since the Ancient History sub-committee itself was not meeting this time, we also had some time free on Saturday afternoon to do a bit of sight-seeing. Friday evening was too full of wine and end-of-week decompression to make decisions about this, so I told rosamicula that I would just phone her when I came out of the morning's meeting, and she could surprise me with whatever idea she fancied. She came up with the Sir John Soane Museum, which preserves the house of the man who designed the original Bank of England building, and was also a fervent collector of antiquarian curiosities. He treated the house as much as a museum as a residence during his life-time, and it is still more or less as he left it on his death in 1833, in accordance with the terms of his will. It's really amazing - every nook and cranny absolutely crammed full of a bizarre mix of real and reproduction antiquities, including a huge Egyptian alabaster sarcophagus, hundreds of pieces of Roman architectural and funerary sculpture, drawers full of insects (which reminded me, inevitably, of Ghost Light) and models of Classical temples. In fact, it reminded me a very great deal of big_daz's house, which is much in the same vein only with fewer cremation urns and more commemorative plates.

The journey back wasn't so great, since it involved spending about 40 minutes stuck in Stevenage station while we waited for a broken-down train to be towed out of the way. But I made it back in the end, to curl up with Friday's episode of True Blood and some 'bear crunch' which rosamicula had sent me away with - nuts, fruit and chocolate, and extremely delicious.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 22nd, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)
segh and I went to the Sir John Soane Museum. Fascinating place, but I have to admit I'm not entirely surprised that his wife looks so despondent in her portrait - just imagine having to live round all that stuff!
Mar. 22nd, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC)
Yes - it was fun discovering all the little nooks and crannies, but would get distinctly annoying if you just wanted to be able to walk through a room on your way about the house.
Mar. 22nd, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC)
Daz Towers may well be lacking in cremation urns, but I might just have to get one now just to freak out my infrequent visitors.

The John Soane Museum is on my list of places to visit in London. If you've not been there before, I'd certainly recommend the Wallace Collection- like John Soane's Museum, but in a bigger house- which was donated to the nation by it's owner.

That cake looks delicious, btw :-)
Mar. 22nd, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
No, I haven't been to the Wallace Collection - thanks for the suggestion. Of course, you would have to be careful not to get your tea urns and cremation urns mixed up...
Mar. 22nd, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
In the name of St Cholesterol the patron saint of clogged arteries, that cake looks absolutely amazing! :D

The JSM is one thing that has so far managed to completely avoid me during my jaunts to that London. One of these days I'll manage to catch it. As something of a hoarder m'self (albeit of slightly less stylish hoards) it strikes me as somewhere I could quite gladly while away a rainy afternoon. :)
Mar. 22nd, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC)
It's in a really nice part of London, too - lots of stylish white stone buildings and open squares. Highly recommended.
Mar. 22nd, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
That cake doesn't look particularly purple, it does look particularly lovely though and has given me a craving. Oh you're such a bad influence. Glad you had a lovely weekend. :)
Mar. 22nd, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
It was a rich pinkish-purple in real life, but my mobile phone camera had difficulties catching the shade. Definitely very nice, though.
Mar. 22nd, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
That is a fantastic cake.... blackberries are so nice! H and I are planning to make you some Disney princess cupcakes if you fancy those!
Mar. 22nd, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I'm sure they will be yummy!
Mar. 22nd, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
Actually H has decided "chocolate cake is more grown up" so I think you're getting both! :)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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