July 27th, 2005

ghost, alice liddell

maybe it's because i'm not a londoner, that i love london so

What's the first thing you want to see when you step into Arrivals at Heathrow? Clue: it's not a big screen announcing the partial explosions of more bombs on the tube. Yes, I arrived last Thursday at a very bad time, but nevertheless, I managed to have a lot of fun (thanks partly to the fabulous LJ ladies). Here are some of the things I did over the last week:

1. Met felinitykat! And alltheleaves! And wonderlanded (who also dined with my entire family, a scary experience in itself)! It was wonderful to meet you all, and you must all come and visit soon. And I apologise for talking so much.

2. Went down to Brighton, where, along with leedy and Mr leedy, I strolled along the beach humming 'I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside'. Then we met majea for an absolutely gorgeous dinner before M and I repaired back to her house where I met......the leopard kittens! And they are amazingly, astonishingly cute. But also bold, as they had chewed holes in the air mattress and, just when I had resigned myself to sleeping on the hard ground, the kitten who had been snuggling next to me in a cute and friendly way (Loki) suddenly got lively and started biting my arm - not in a snappy way, just in a sort of "hmmm, human flesh, how tasty" way. He was such a jolly little beast, however, that I had to forgive him. Even when he weed on the bed (luckily after I'd got up).

3. Went to see The Producers (the ostensible reason for the London jaunt, as we'd got my dad tickets for his birthday - it's his favourite film). It was very, very, very funny - all the funniest bits of the film with extra funniness on top. Springtime for Hitler itself was absolutely magnificent - by the time Hitler was singing the jaunty "Heil Me" I was laughing so much I felt faint. My arms literally hurt from clapping at the end.

4. Spent way, way too much money. Mostly on food, apparently, as I came back with relatively little apart from a pair of Liberty slippers and a few books (some Persephones I had been meaning to get for a while, like Amy Levy's Reuben Sachs; Angela Bull's biography of Noel Streatfeild; Jessica Mitford's follow-up to Hons and Rebels; Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That, which I'm reading now and which is fantastic).Ooh, and monkey skittles, of course...

5. Sat around my sister's house eating junk food (very entertaining, really).

6. Been scared shitless every time I was on the tube for more than a couple of stops. The atmosphere was really odd and charged, and the trains seemed much less crowded than usual.

7. Failed to go to the two exhibitions I really wanted to go to: Frida Kahlo and the V&A Penguin design one. Bah! I blame the whole sitting-around-eating-junk-food day. I went to the Reynolds one in the Tate, because I'd always kind of seen Reynolds as the anti-Gainsborough when I was studying 18th century art, and I thought I might have been a bit unfair. But I hadn't been. It was interesting in parts, but a bit dull, and I should have gone to the Kahlo one instead. I did go and have a good gawp at the Egyptian stuff in the British Museum, which seemed even more fascinating than it used to before my Elizabeth Peters egyptology binge. And I went to Westminster Abbey for the first time. Heavens, it's very High Church, isn't it? It might as well have been Catholic in bits, apart from the huge memorial statues all over the place. I'm pleased to report that one of the gaudiest burial monuments in the entire place belonged to the Carey family, Elizabeth I's cousins. My parents and I were exclaiming over its Tudor madness when we noticed the surname.

8. Had a lot of fun.
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searle ju ju, summer

random and freakish thoughts

Have YOU listed hating Lucy Mangan as an interest yet?

In other news, I am reading Jasper Fforde's new non-Thursday-Next book for work and to my immense amazement, I'm quite enjoying it. Considering that I had to throw away The Eyre Affair in horror at the godawful writing, this is bizarre. The writing is still a bit flat, and the story is cheesy, but the jokes are quite funny in a stupid sort of way (which is often the funniest way of all). You never know, I might have to give his previous stuff another chance. Although maybe not. I've got lots of good stuff to read (I've discovered - thanks to getting sent her latest book for work - Liza Picard's social histories of London. I got sent Victorian London and am now reading Dr Johnson's London, and they're great - really, really interesting social history, written in a genuinely funny style. I think perhaps the fact that she's not a professional historian adds to the charm - they're beautifully researched, but there's a sense of genuine curiosity and excitement that perhaps some historians lose by the time they've finished their doctorates. So much non-academic history writing is shamefully dull, even when writing about what should be interesting subjects, so I love finding a writer whose desire to simply know as much as possible about how people actually lived 200 years ago is evident on every page, as is her sense of humour.

After meeting the leopard kittens, Ju Ju looks even more vast than ever. I think she's literally about twice as large as Ava. And a lot less spotty.