Thursday, February 23, 2006

The One With Four Parts: Edutainment

The One With Four Parts: Edutainment

For a long time all my numerous trips to London when I really should have been essay writing or learning chunks of middle english were courtesy of the big red Oxford tube. For a few pounds you got a seat, an almost inevitable traffic jam on the way out of Oxford and the opportunity to point at Oxford Brookes students. Now my trips to London when I really should be performing open-heart surgery on Four Chords come courtesy of GNER and their constant refrain of "there will be an at seat service for First Class but anyone travelling standard will have to bugger off as we are understaffed". This time, armed with a fifteen pound return ticket courtesy of one of those collect tokens from the paper offers, even I wasn't going to complain. Because fifteen pounds - off peak it costs me nine for a single to York, twenty minutes on the train from where I live. They could shove me in the luggage rack and I'd still be moderately happy. When this was added to the fact that Nik and I had managed to get a hotel in Kensington for fifteen pounds each it meant that I had to acknowledge myself as a bargain hunting expert. Especially when the location of the hotel meant that we could give over Monday afternoon to suitably tourist preoccupations.

Once again I did the utmost to disprove the myth that my directional prowess is somewhat limited and would firmly lay the blame on strange street numbering systems and the dark for any failures of my part to correctly identify the hotel. After being bemused by the lifts which had carpet on the walls (I'm sorry, is this 1975?), faffed with the electronic key card and found the twin which had about 2cm squared of floor space I concluded that there might have been a reason for the fifteen pound thing. As a general rule though, I think I'd take the small room in the nice hotel in the nice area over anything which certain travel lodges and B&B's in London offer.

After a bit of winter olympics and a quick clothing dump we ended up talking to dinosaurs in the Natural History museum, as Nik took hundreds of photos and I attempted to perfect my dinosaur impression last seen post 'The Reduced Shakespeare Company' outing last year. As well as the bones and the casts there were also a number of electronic, moving dinosaurs, a couple of which I was particularly suspicious of as they kept looking at me in a funny manner, much in the same way that cows look at me. The big T-Rex was less of a problem in this respect than the little buggers up by the fancy walkway. T-Rex probably wanted something more substantial as a meal but I was undoubtedly prime feeding material for the pint sized ones. Then it was off to the giftshop where I tried not to trip over stray children or come out with anything which made a noise. In the end I settled for dinosaur stationery because a girl can never have too many pens, especially ones which come from giftshops.

A quick walk down the road and we were in the Science Museum and Nik was heading with previously unseen focus to the space section. Because - if this were not clear before - Nik likes space. A lot. Me? I can take or (mostly) leave it. I was, however, greatly amused with the spirit of much of the space section and its unflinching look at the practicalities ('how do astronauts go to the toilet?'). Plus I managed to learn lots of new facts that may one day prove to be of use in a Pub Quiz. Most importanty I managed to get another pen from the Museum giftshop.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning - after the Riccardi gig and a trip to a wonderously located 24 hour Tescos - it emerged that my stay-in-London-have-radiator-problems were continuing. When we went to see Riccardi at the Puzzle in November 2004 we ended up staying in a room where the raditator leaked - all over my hoodie. And I can safely say that I have done few things which annoyed me more than having to handwash radiator water out of it. When we went to see Griffin at the Bedford last year the heating in the travelodge refused to work, leaving me wrapped in two duvets. Fittingly, this time the radiator refused to turn itself off. So I suspect that I sweated off the weight I'd put on from eating a chocolate doughnut before going to bed. It was rather like the episode of Friends where Ross breaks the radiator. But without the comforting presence of Matthew Perry at the end of it all.

After approximately two hours of sleep and some accidental A List Star stalking we completed the tourist section of the trip on Oxford Street, where I managed to gorge a hole in my thumb in Borders with, of all weapons of choice, a book and before experiencing the wonder that is the flagship Top Shop.

Which means that I can confidently say that stalking is not my only fully functional interest.

1 comment:

Nik said...

the question is though, what the hell does he look like?! xxx