Monday, November 7, 2017
It was packing, packing, all the way today!
As usual, I arose at 5. 30 am to begin blogging, checking email and responding to it and then without lingering too long in bed, I got cracking. I ate two slices of toast with peanut butter (almost gone now) with coffee for breakfast and then returned to the serious task of trying to fit all my belongings into the two suitcases with which I arrived. How on earth I manage to accumulate so many magazines and tourist memorabilia is simply beyond me---but I am loathe to leave behind my monthly Waitrose magazines (which I have barely read).
Still...I finally had a shower and left my flat at 12. 15 pm. Much of my packing was accomplished by them, my closet is almost empty now and but for the endless amount of paper and documents and files I have collected from all the research I have done here, there isn't much lying around. This has calmed down the butterflies in my tummy--as I always have nervous flutters when it comes time to move or to travel. And in the next couple of days, I will be doing both.
British Menu Week at NYU:
I arrived at NYU in London just in time to partake of the lovely British Menu that was available today (as a special treat) for all the American students who call the place home for the year that they are studying abroad. The idea was to give them a taste of typically British fare. Laid out in the Student Lounge were Scotch Eggs, Sausage Rolls, a selection of cheese with a variety of crackers, a cheese pie, smoked salmon with cream cheese on bagels (I have to say that this did not seem very British to me!), and a really spectacular Welsh Huntsman Pie--which was a layered pie featuring beef, chicken and pork. There was HP Sauce and Guinness Sauce to go with the food and I took a plate up to my office where I ate as I reviewed the talk I am going to give at Lunch time tomorrow during our Talking Points brown bag seminar series.
Off to the Senate House Library:
I had to complete an errand I had begun on Friday--trying to get membership at he Senate House Library--and I went there directly to the fourth floor. I met with a different counter assistant today but she told me how to register online and in no time at all, after she had consulted with one of her bosses inside, my membership card was handed over to me. It was really pretty painless. Although I do not have borrowing rights, I can sit in the library and use its resources at my leisure. This will be better than sitting at the British Library as this one is just one block away from my office at NYU. Mission Accomplished! I was very pleased indeed.
Off to the Museum of London:
Having about three hours to kill before my next appointment with my former classmate and friend Michelle at 6 pm, I took the Tube and headed off to the Museum of London as it is one of the places I had to re-visit. It took me about three changes to get there but within 45 minutes I was at the Museum and informed that a guided tour of the Victorian Lanes would be beginning in just 10 minutes.
The Victorian Lanes are my favorite part of this museum--down in the basement, they have reconstructed London as it looked during the Age of Victoria. It is deeply evocative for me of an age gone by and I always linger among the shops and store fronts. To have a tour made available to me by one of the guides at the museum was a bonus and I was very excited.
Joe, the guide, a young lad, did a very competent job as he led us downstairs and took us through a grocery store, a Tea and Coffee Warehouse (similar to what I had learned at the Museum of London Docklands), a bank (both the clerk's cubicle and the Manager's cabin), a pawn shop a pub where he ended the tour. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon and I was glad I went. Besides, it is now frightfully cold in London and impossible to stay outdoors for long. Museums are simply the best place in which to escape and, thankfully, London has many sterling ones.
I asked where I could find the Lord Mayor's Coach which is usually in residence here, but I was told that it was at the Guildhall as it gets readied for the huge Lord Mayor's Parade which will be on November 12. Unfortunately, I will be in Italy then and shall miss it. However, I was told that if I went to the Guildhall, I could see it there--it is behind glass at the moment. It will return to the Museum of London on November 15 and will be there only until January 20, 2017 when it will be removed for long-term refurbishment of 2-3 years! So if you haven't seen the Coach yet, you know when and where to find it. Get there quickly! I have seen it before, but I certainly intend to catch a glimpse of it somewhere before it disappears for a good overhaul.
Off to Euston to meet Michelle:
I took the Tube trains again to Euston to make my appointment with Michelle at 6.00 pm. We have been friends since we were 16--university classmates at Elphinstone College, Bombay. Over the years, we have kept closely in touch. Michelle is a lawyer who works for the British Government in its Business Department. In London, we have frequently enjoyed meals together and have chinwagged as only old college friends can do. I expected to have just such a session with her, but to my enormous surprise, she arrived with a man whom she described as her partner! I was simply thrilled for her as she has been single for far too long!
They led me to Diwana, an Indian restaurant on a street filled with them and there I had a plate of Aloo Chaat Puri which was just delicious--and a mango lassi. They had dosas as the place is known for them. Mark was very easy to talk to and to get to know and Michelle and I jabbered as we are known to do and before long, it was time for them to say goodbye and leave.
Delighted with my visit--I had said that this week was devoted to meeting up with old friends--I took the Tube and got back home. Because I had eaten only a small snack, I came home and had a cup of tea with two biscuits (I am still trying to finish supplies in my kitchen) and a bowl of ice-cream!
It was when I opened my computer up to check email for the last time that I got an absolutely ace surprise! I received a letter offering me some great news from NYU! I cannot even begin to express the joy with which I stared at my screen and the immediate Thank-You prayers I offered. It could not have been a better end to my day.
Needless to say, I immediately called Llew to share the news with him and as we laughed and rejoiced over my news, time marched on. He would share the news with my brother and his family and I will call my Dad tomorrow because I know he will be delighted too.
On that happy note, I fell asleep.
Until tomorrow, cheerio...