Had a continental breakfast at the hotel with some fancy cottage cheese that tastes nothing like what we have in the states. It's a little thicker. Less rubbery. More... cheese-like. So I had that and some sliced cheese. And some cucumbers. And cheese. And a croissant with preserves. And some more cheese. Perhaps one of the reasons I like London so much is that all my memories are flavored either cheese or chocolate. What's not to be deliriously happy about in the land of Cadbury and cheddar?
By 8AM, I was up and walking the streets of South Kensington. It reminds me a bit of Brooklyn. It is lovely, but there is a bit of... shabby lived-in-ness?... to it. It's not that it's rundown. It's just if the rest of London is like a tailored suit, South Kensington seems like the hostess an hour before the party, hair in a pony tail, frantically kicking the clothes under the bed while trying to remember not to burn the hors d'oeuvre. Everyone was running to work. Literally. Running. In high heels. Texting as they rode their bicycles in suits and ties. Scurry! Scurry! Scurry!
My destination was the Brompton Cemetery. I had never heard of it before. It was on my map, so I figured I should go see what it looked like. The answer is "cool". It looked like really, really cool.
All of the people rushing off to their jobs used Brompton Cemetery as a short cut, so I was dodging bikes and pedestrians the whole time. There was something rather poetic about it. Rushing past the dead as they rushed to get through their life. I'm sure there is a more eloquent way of putting it, but I've been drinking instant coffee all day.
As I entered the cemetery, there was a raven kissing one of the tombstones. He flew away before I could get a picture, but there he was, just preening the stone like it was his job to keep things tidy.
The cemetery was founded in 1836 and time had taken its toll.
(great place to hide a body!)
There was a beautiful decay to everything.
That's not to say that everything was left to nature! In fact, the signs said that a major project was underway to return the cemetery to its former glory. And how glorious that is!
The front of the cemetery has been used in countless movies. It seemed very familiar...
And I have no idea who these folks are, but I'd like to shake the hand of whomever it was that told them to go this direction with their marketing. Sign me up for their services!
This little squirrel amused me. He just sat there with that nut in his mouth perfectly still, not making a move, not blinking, nothing. It was like he wanted to try out for the role of fancy new gravemarker. Got himself into a staring contest with one of the weeping angels or something. And he was winning.
Again, I was too slow with the camera, but imagine this lane filled with golden colored leaves falling from the trees. That's what happened about two seconds before my shutter clicked. It was like something out of a movie.
I reached the entrance, and looked to see if I could find my favorite raven, but suddenly there was a swoop of the flock as a good fifty of them swept in and landed by the fence. Someone dropped some breadcrumbs for them, and they each sat there, happy as a clam, with little white pieces in their beaks.
I returned back to my hotel to pick up my Tube ticket and headed out to the Victoria & Albert Museum. I gotta say, England's rail stations are so pretty... This was just for their subway!
I arrived at the V&A and it was gorgeous. Ever square inch was carved. The galleries went on and on and on.
I discovered this courtyard for some lunch.
And the sweetest little memorial hidden behind a column to some beloved pet dogs.
There was a bed built for six:
And some beautiful examples of the art nouveau movement, which I just love.
The signage said that the prevailing belief of this movement was that art need serve no other purpose other than to just be lovely. Lovely, indeed!
I think my favorite thing, though, was something I didn't get a picture of. They had original paintings by Beatrix Potter. They are even more beautiful than you can imagine with such a delicate hand. She painted so tiny and small with such and eye for detail. That made it worth the trip.
It was time to leave the museum, however, and get back to my dorm room across town. I had Plans for this evening... which were all foiled. I've come to the conclusion that on these trips, there will be one night where nothing I do will be successful. I dutifully walked over to the British Library to purchase a copy of the Complete Works of Shakespeare from their museum shop... and they didn't have a copy. I hopped on the Tube to go across the Thames to grab rush seats for a show I really want to see... and it doesn't open until Wednesday. My second choice for a show is dark on Mondays. The shop I wanted to go to was not where I thought it was.
Instead, it turned into a "get it done" night. I went to the drugstore to buy a travel hairdryer and essentials. I went to the market and picked up some water and coffee (see: essentials). I bought a cup to drink my coffee out of. I found a Complete Works in another bookshop. You know. Stuff. That needs to be done. And, really, I needed to do tonight. For tomorrow begins Day One of my class and from what I hear, they will be keeping me deliciously running for the next four weeks.