Sir John Soane's Museum
After breakfast at the hotel and a bad night (it was too hot to sleep), we headed out for Sir John Soane's Museum in Holborn. Sir John Soane (1753 – 1837), son of a bricklayer, was an English architect who specialised in the Neo-Classical style. His best-known work was the Bank of England, a building which had widespread effect on commercial architecture. His house(s) was left as a museum so that students of architecture could continue to admire and learn from his work.
I have a thing for visiting old houses transformed into museums so I thought that it would be interesting to visit this house. The house was eccentric, but really quite beautiful and he had an amazing collection of books, paintings, furniture, statues, sarcophages and other antiquities, building models etc.
Mummy of a young girl
We then walked to the British Museum just to view its collection of Egyptian mummies. More than a decade ago, I used to bring groups of Chinese tourists from Paris to London to visit this museum so I am reasonably familiar with it. Mummies are after all corpses so admiring them was quite morbid, but somehow fascinating.
Natural History Museum
From Holborn we took the underground to South Kensington to visit the Natural History Museum. I have brought the Teenager there when he was a toddler, but of course he couldn't remember anything. Bumped into ES at the entrance, looking really livid as she had lost her son A (who's my boy's classmate). It's kind of difficult losing a teenager in a museum, especially one as brilliant as the child in question, but I guess that a mother has the right to be sick with worry if she wanted to be. When the child reappeared, I was given the responsibility of bringing him round the museum (while the mother waited for a lost friend this time) and it was a relief that I didn't manage to lose him even once.
A building near Russell Square
We walked to Harrods from there and the Teenager had to agree that the place was paradise. I brought him round the food hall, we admired the macarons at La Durée, then I told him to make his own way to the Golf section and wait for me there while I browse through the Women's floor. I knew what he was dressed in, so I would be able to describe him should the boy be lost. :-)
I was really planning only to browse since I wasn't sure that I would be able to afford anything in Harrods. But of course I spotted a black leather dress (and they had it in my size!) in the Sale. I've always wanted a leather skirt or dress, so...I bought it. Now I just have to find the occasion to wear it (and a way to hide the credit card statement).
Ministry of Food exhibition
From Knightsbridge we made our way to Lambeth North to visit the Imperial War Museum. Though we were just an hour from closing, I still paid to visit the temporary Ministry of Food exhibition. I was curious to see how the British coped with their food during the war. Then we managed to visit part of the Holocaust exhibition which was really quite well-done. Though I've already seen quite a number of exhibitions on the subject, I never tire of it and was happy to bring the boy to relive the horrors with me. Besides, he had studied the Holocaust at school last year and should welcome the opportunity to learn more about it through such exhibitions.
Imperial War Museum
I then fed the boy more fried chicken and escorted him to his Thriller Live show in theatreland (Lyric theatre), having gotten him a good seat in the Stalls. This way I would have 2.5 hours to myself to explore Chinatown nearby while he got to admire the moonwalk.
Thriller @ Lyric Theatre
I had dinner alone in TPT Café run by a Malaysian chef. The menu contained lovely classic Cantonese dishes as well as interesting Malaysian/Singaporean delicacies like Okra in Belachan, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa, Crab in Salted Egg Yolk (keep an eye on the pieces of paper hanging on the walls)...I had Pig's Blood Rice Congee and wished I could eat more. There were so many other dishes that I would have wanted to eat.
The Teenager loved the city and wanted us to move there after Modena. I told him that since none of his parents were in banking, he would have to do it on his own. But since he's so bad in Maths, chances would be slim...Anyway, I think that I've lived in the countryside for too long because I still find London too much for me after a few days. People everywhere, people consuming all the time, it was crazy.