I awoke before everyone else in our dorm so that I could get a shower before the daily rush to the bathroom, and also so that I could do laundry while Britt slept in. The launderette is down the street, so I’m toting a trash bag full of clothes and my smaller backpack. I stopped in an organic grocery store to get a peach and a granola bar for breakfast. I get to the front door to do laundry, and find that it doesn’t open for another twenty five minutes. No big deal, I can find a bench to sit on and get some writing done.
Apparently, the Londoners don’t have time to sit down and relax because there are no benches anywhere on the main roads, nor on the nearby side streets. I debate in my mind if it would be okay to just sit on the sidewalk up against a building. Then, I remind myself of my attire: all sweats, full beard, shaggy hair, a trashbag full of clothes, and eating a peach. People would start to drop coins at my feet.
As I’m sitting in the launderette, looking at my clothes spinning around the in machine, I look up on the wall to see boxes of detergent. I realize I didn’t put any in, and it’s on the last spin cycle. Hot water is good enough washing right? I buy a dryer sheet to maybe make them smell better so Britt doesn’t realize it until she reads this.
We rode the underground to the East side of the city to see the Tate Modern, the London Bridge and the London Tower. The Tate was kind of cool. It was more Britt’s style than mine. I just don’t understand how an artist can paint an entire canvas brown, draw one red line down the right side of it, and be like, “Yep. This one’s done.” Britt said I should read the story that’s posted on the wall beside it. I do and learn that the artist was trying to depict the creation of Adam and the red line was the Light of God. Yeah, I’m not buying that. Smoke another one, buddy. I did see Water Lillies by Claude Monet and enjoyed that one. I never realized it took up an entire wall.
We left the Tate shortly after in search of the London Bridge. Checking the map, we see that if we walk along the Thames, it should be the second bridge we come to. When we get to it, it looks just like any old bridge you’d see in America. I was expecting the one you always see in the pictures with the large towers and cables coming down. We read on a plaque near that bridge that this is not the original London Bridge that was made by the Romans, but a remake. Apparently, the one I was thinking of is the Tower Bridge. We saw that after a couple more miles.
It’s getting around noon and I’m getting eager to get up to Arsenal for the match against Liverpool at 12:45. We weren’t able to get tickets, but I at least want to watch it in a pub near the stadium. On the way, there were red Arsenal jerseys everywhere on the train. When we get out into the street from the underground, a massive sea of red was coming from our left and going right. I almost mistook it for another London riot. It was 12:40 and these guys were heading to the stadium just down the road. We learn that instead of tailgating, these blokes stay in the pub as long as possible until gametime to avoid outrageous prices of beer at the match. Brilliant.
Britt and I walk in the opposite direction of the crowd in search of the pubs they just left. We get to the Arsenal Tavern situated at a crossroads to find it full of Arsenal jerseys, all six TVs turned to the game, and not an empty chair in sight. Luckily, some people get up to move leaving one chair free. I give Britt the chair, and I stand at the bar. It was a good match, but Liverpool won off an own-goal. The guy that it hit off of was playing in his first ever Premier League match. Sounds like a bad day.
After the game, we had wanted to go to the village of Thaxted outside the city to look for records of Loomis. I had done some research earlier this year to find that they had resided there under the name Lummys from at least the 1300’s before moving to Connecticut. However, we had missed the bus going out there, and didn’t know any other way.
There were still a couple of things we wanted to do in London before leaving tomorrow for Holland. First, we took the underground to King’s Cross station to get a picture of us going through the barrier of platforms 9 and 10, like Harry Potter. I was disappointed to find they made an actual photo set complete with a trolley halfway through a wall and a sign saying “Platform 9 3/4.” Britt got that one and I went down to the actual train platform to get mine.
Next, we took the subway to Abbey Road to get that shot. We weren’t quite sure where the actual intersection was until we saw around fifty people standing at a crosswalk, cameras at the ready. It was a madhouse. First of all, there was fairly heavy traffic that didn’t stop at the walk. Also, you had at least ten groups of people trying to cross with their photographer out in the middle of the street to get the shot when there wasn’t cars. Britt’s camera about died waiting to get a chance, but we got it.
We took a train back towards our hostel for dinner and an internet cafe to book tickets and a hostel for Amsterdam the following day. We were in bed at around eleven. Britt pointed out that we were the only ones in bed in our dorm of 8 people, and it was a Saturday in London. We felt pretty lame, but we needed to wake up at 6:30am to make our train to the coast. Save money, get in shape.