July 4th, 2011


London Day Four: In which we discover the flaws in Winston’s fashion sense

T. slept in this morning, which was important. We had breakfast/lunch at the underground station before jumping on for the short ride to Westminster. There we got our daily ration of uniforms and weapons touring the Churchill War Rooms and Museum. The War Rooms are a snapshot in time, closed up right after VJ Day, although someone emptied the ashtrays at least. On the one hand, it gives a great picture of the dedication of all those who worked there to win the war. On the other, it demonstrates that office work is office work, full of phones, typing, and to-do lists. There was even a funny memo, written by the folks in the steno pool about how to transport enough silk stockings, chocolate, and cosmetics back from a diplomatic mission to the United States.

I liked this sign:

The Churchill Museum part was all Winston all the time. I did not need to know that he liked to relax in a red velvet “romper.” Both T. and I enjoyed his various quips. I also particularly liked seeing an Enigma machine:

Over a slice of Victoria sponge (I need to make this at home, but like the slice I had at the Tower, which added All Butter to the name and had strawberry jam instead of raspberry in it), T. and I discussed what to do next. It seems that I will not see any more of the British Museum this trip because he chose to wave at Parliament and Big Ben and visit Westminster Abbey.

The Abbey was packed with people, about a third of them dead and buried. Pictures are not allowed inside, but I liked this detail on the way in:

When places do not allow photos, I feel that they owe me lots of nice postcards of the things I liked seeing. The Abbey is not yet with the program, so I have a card of Shakespeare’s memorial, but not of Chaucer’s grave. Of course, I could have had a set of twenty or so different cards of the royal wedding.

One of the most interesting parts of the museum was an exhibit about the effigies dressed in the actual clothes of the people in question. I’d show you pictures, but again, not allowed, so you’ll just have to imagine Queen Elizabeth I’s gown.

We tried to have dinner at a different place, but they did not seem to feel like opening in accordance with their opening hours. However, the food at the local pub continues good. This was particularly important to me because T. has been unwilling to pay attention to me since he began reading his new book of Churchill’s bons mots (Is that how you do it in English? Or is it bon mots?).