Angelic Paranoia

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Sunday 18th October 2015 11:34 am

I have been on holiday! It's partly been a holiday from work and partly an actual going away holiday.

I went to London. Which is more expensive than going for the day (involving hotels and Oyster cards) but means getting to places earlier in the day and being able to go out at night without having to wait ages for a train and then getting home really late.

The best thing was that I finally looked into the 2 for 1 thing the train leaflets are always going on about. There turns out to be loads of things you can get in to for (effectively) half price for two people. So we did things that would normally be overpriced, but ended up reasonably priced.

I have lots of ordinary photos of the London skyline from the London Eye and a boat trip we took from Westminster to Greenwich. I was mostly ok on those, but once I got off my head wasn't too sure about that movement. We did freeze on the boat, but sitting inside made my head feel funny.

We went to Westminster Abbey. It was mostly graves, some grander than others. It was quite sad that some you couldn't read because they were on the floor and lots of people have walked over them over the years. The most interesting bits were all the scientists in one area. Isaac Newton had a big ornate thing, but Paul Dirac had an equation on his. Then there was Poet's Corner with lots of poets and authors. Some of these poets, authors and scientists were buried there, but most (I think) were just commemorated there.

We also went to Kensington Palace. It was a bit of an odd place, because there was a lot there, but not really much indication of what much of it was. If you got lucky then you managed to be in the right place at the right time for a talk, but otherwise you were on your own or asking a guide.

Amusingly, at Westminster Abbey we saw the graves of Elizabeth I and Mary I. I was confused at Mary I because I didn't remember another Queen Mary. Until I went to Kensington Palace and they talked about William III and Mary II. Which explained it, but I've only ever seen them referred to as William and Mary without the numbers.

One evening we went to see Phantom of the Opera - partly because we're signing a medley of it this term and we'd never seen it. The theatre was designed a bit oddly because there was nowhere where you could sit and see the whole stage. But aside from that I enjoyed it - the songs in the medley are definitely the best songs (and with some extra alto bits!).

Another evening we went to see the wheelchair rugby. This was a special thing they put on to complement the rugby world cup. Not that it was well advertised at all. It was in the Copper Box at the Olympic Park and really empty. It was really good to see live, though (much better than on TV). I like wheelchair rugby because the rules are simple and it's fun to watch. We saw GB vs Australia. Australia were narrowly ahead the whole time and ended up winning, but it was still a good match. Then there was South Africa vs USA, which was very one-sided. It was obvious which side the crowd were on, as when USA scored there was silence, but when South Africa scored the crowd went wild!

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Digital Revolution
Sunday 31st August 2014 6:14 pm

Yesterday I went to London to the Digital Revolution, which is an interactive exhibition. I'd seen it on TV, where they'd gone through the cool bits. What I found when I got there is that they had shown all the cool bits. It was still cool to see in person, though. Read more...

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Sunday 15th December 2013 8:21 pm

On Friday night I decided to go to London, as I had nothing on this weekend and knew that otherwise I'd just sit around not really getting anything done (whereas today I had an excuse).

In the morning I went to the Large Hadron Collider exhibition at The Science Museum. It was in the basement and designed to look as if you were there - the info text were on white boards and screens and radios of people talking. There was even a mock-up office. It was interesting, but of course it has to appeal to everyone, so quite a bit of it I knew. Quite a bit of it I'd forgotten, particle physics not being my forte - too chemistry for me.

It started off with a video of various people telling you various stuff. Towards the end it was mocked up to be the control room with people working at computers. There were four people in there, three of whom had three monitors. One of them only had one monitor and it was blank. Which didn't stop her from working at it...

There was one bit I couldn't do. It was a about 270 degree video room (with no seats) showing you the tunnel to start with. It moved in such a way that I couldn't tell if I was moving or it was, so I had to leave.

I had a wonder around some of the rest of the museum. The small 3D printing exhibit was disappointing as it mostly consisted of showing you things that had been 3D printed and there was one brief piece of information on how they worked. In the shop you could buy one for £1700! Or some (quite flat) Christmas ornaments that had been 3D printed for £2.

I liked The Secret Life of the Home, though. I saw early hoovers that had to be pumped by someone else. And a video and microwave that were massive and older than I was. Obviously they were too expensive for people to own back then.

In the afternoon I went on a tour of the Houses of Parliament (where you weren't allowed to take photos). I've been to the equivalents in Australia and Canada, but not here. It was really interesting - and the House of Lords and House of Commons were much smaller than they look on screen.

One of the Lords side rooms hosts foreign heads of state when they come and talk to both Houses and on either side it has big paintings of great British victories. One is Nelson's, one is Napoloen's defeat. When Sarcozy came they warned him about them in advance!

When the Commons have a vote there's a bell that rings to tell them they have to get there to vote. It rings throughout the building and in the offices over the road. And also in some of the local pubs and restaurants...

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Sophie Aldred and London
Sunday 8th September 2013 5:21 pm

Yesterday I went to London because there was an exhibition of photos of Sophie Aldred (Ace in Doctor Who) recently discovered and she was signing them yesterday. Since I didn't have anything else on this weekend I wandered down to London. I was half-wondering if there would be long queues, but as it turned out there was never more than about three people in the queue and the only reason it was so long was because she was chatting to everyone. I managed to speak to her and only vaguely sound like a bit of an idiot. But we did agree that we both wanted to be Ace when we grew up.

After that I decided to go to Buckingham Palace as I'd only seen it once and I didn't have a camera at the time. Trafalgar Square was a really short walk away. It was packed with people and also had a giant blue cock in it. When I walked round it I found the plague that said it was a sculpture. In the Square and by St James's Park there were a couple of people and board giving directions and helping tourists etc. It said it was a London Mayor thing and seemed like a good idea to me. I went with my usual method of finding my way from Trafalgar Square of walking round it until I found the right exit.

The Mall turns out to be long. Really long. I didn't look at my watch but it must have taken 15 minutes to walk down it. And then at the end was Buckingham Palace. Which I found quite underwhelming. But the statue was good for sitting on for a rest.

After that I went in search of the Walkie Talkie building. This is a stupidly shaped building to begin with, but it's even worse because it's concave on one side, covered with nice reflective glass windows and so works like putting a magnifying glass in the sun. Hence it has been melting things (like cars). Apparently it is actually possible to fry an egg in the sun beneath it. I found that building a bit underwhelming too, but then it was raining at the time.

On the whole it was a nice day out. It was nice not to go for the whole day and not to be meeting anyone for anything specific so I could just mooch about and do whatever I liked. Mostly I managed to make my legs ache. It's annoying because in the grand scheme of things I didn't walk that far - when I go on holiday I walk further than that for three days in a row. But I haven't been on holiday for five years, so I think my legs have got out of practise. The most walking I do these days is up the road to the shops and back again, which only takes an hour or two.

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Sunday 31st July 2011 8:00 pm

I'm feeling like I've achieved things this weekend.

Yesterday I went to London. As the train pulled into Paddington they announced that the only tube line running was the Bakerloo. Which isn't a particularly pleasant line at the best of times, certainly not when it's hot and it's only line stopping at Paddington. So, having established that it was an easy walk, I walked to Oxford Circus. I didn't get lost (although I did consult my map twice). The bit in Hyde Park was quite pleasant, walking through the crowds on Oxford was less so, but I did stop off in a few shops to have a look around, but not buy anything.

Then today I cleaned my bookshelves. I didn't get rid of much because I can't decide, for quite a few books, whether I'm likely to read them or not. But once I've moved I'll have space to buy more bookcases, so then everything will get moved around anyway and I can make decisions. I still have all my other furniture to clean and everything to go through to get rid of stuff I don't want, but at least I've made a start.

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SJA preview: Death of the Doctor (spoiler free)
Wednesday 13th October 2010 12:00 pm

Yesterday I went to London to see a preview of the third SJA story, Death of the Doctor. Without spoilers for any of series 4, with the exception of the two people in this episode. Even though I'm avoiding spoilers this one is impossible to avoid - and will be even more so in a week's time when doubtless it'll be all over all the TV guides.

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