Tuesday, 18 November 2014


What a week ...... it was my sisters birthday on Friday 14th and as we knew she was off to Barcelona on the 12th, we headed off to see her on the Tuesday, deciding to get her gift on the way as I had something in mind. Three shops later and we were empty handed. Demmed nuisance. So we stopped by giftless but with a card and told her we would post her gift to her.

However once I had her gifts in my actual hand, we then decided to hand deliver it on her actual birthday so it would be there when she got home from her trip on Sunday. Bad, bad move. Come Friday we decided to deliver said gift before we ate, so Andy came home straight from work with doubtless a rumbling belly and we headed off to Portsmouth. We barely got out of town and were pootling along the dual carriageway when at the exact moment Andy noticed smoke pouring from the car, another driver honked to let us know.

Pooh. The oil pipe had burst.

So there we were stood beside the car on the side of the dual carriageway on the smallest bit of hard shoulder you ever did see (it was a little wider than our car), overlooking a bridge while cars belted along belching out petrol and diesel fumes which gave me a horrid headache. An hour and fifteen minutes we waited for help. It got horribly, horribly cold, light was falling and frost started appearing on the car as we waited ... finally a breakdown lorry arrived and took us home. The gift was eventually posted via Royal Mail. Me and my big ideas.

Anyway, on with the scheduled post ... adventures in London continue!

* * *

Onward to The Imperial War Museum we went after visiting the Tower of London. We parked all but across the road which was lucky as I was getting really tired by this point and the throbbing in my feet shod in my new boots had intensified.

The Imperial War Museum is housed in what was once The Bethlem Royal Hospital, a former lunatic asylum (this is where the term bedlam comes from). I knew this already but it was soon forgotten once inside as it was swarming with people and I'm not overfond of crowds so that wasn't fun ... though I would have happily taken a hose to some of the visitors.


We made our way to the top of the museum as last time we were there we started at the bottom and worked up and didn't see everything. We saw a huge collection of VC medals on the top floor and then moved downstairs into the Holocaust exhibit where I got trapped and couldn't find my way out. I started to feel like I was in a walking nightmare, it was dark, hot and there were too many people and harrowing photos everywhere I turned. I was on the verge of tears by the time we got out.

The museum has changed so much since we were last there, and I mean SO MUCH. No exhibit that I recall from last time was even there unless we just didn't see it. The poppies at the base of the V2 rocket – gone. The Brough Superior owned by TE Lawrence – gone. The 1940's House exhibit – gone. The walk through trench – gone. Gone, gone, gone. There was also a humongous queue to see the WWI exhibit so I perused the gift shop while Andy queued then I went to find him and found no evidence of a queue so wandered in like a member of royalty! No queuing for me!

The two things in the entire museum which seemed to be getting the most attention was this, part of a Lancaster Bomber …

… and this, taken from the Reich Chancellery. People, including me, seemed fascinated by it and it was near impossible to get a good shot of it as there were always gaping people and it was also huge.

Other bits and bobs ...

WWI Sopwith Camel biplane ...

Part of a debob suit ...

RAF uniform ...

Tail fin of a German Messerschmitt. See all the marks on it indicating hits on the 'enemy'?

And I saw the real life version of the 1:12 scale radio I made! The real one is on the left and the middle and right are mine :)

And then it was 5.45pm and we left as the museum was closing. It must have taken us ten minutes to get back to the car as oh my feeeet! They hurt and my back was starting to seize up. Then do you know what happened? We drove through horrendous traffic, almost saw a woman dressed entirely in black get hit by a car as she darted across a road (silly woman) and an hour later started down a street with a road sign saying Imperial War Museum with no distance listed. I then spotted some familiar graffiti and lo and behold, we had gone full circle.

Back. Where. We. Started.

Two hours it took the get out of London. No maps. No sat nav. No smart phones which meant no app to help us get out. No demmnable roadsigns saying A3. TWO HOURS. We left the museum at 5.45pm and got home at 9.35pm. Consider we left home at 7.05am and were walking through St Katharine's Dock at 9.00am that morning. I was straight to bed when we got home I can tell you.

And edited to add (waves to Curtise) It was indeed a good day, tiring but good :)