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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oh the dust!

One likes to think the place is fairly clean, but in London at least the dust is insidious. Behind every piece of furniture, under every bookcase, it's lurking out of sight, lying in wait.  So, if you can't see it, what's the problem?  Once the furniture is moved and the shelves are emptied,  the dust pounces, launching itself into the air where it hang-glides until landing on some unsuspecting human.  This is a problem when you have a dust allergy.  Dust allergies are an occupational hazard in the library world, mine has gotten worse over the years. So you see, my cowardly retreat to the climate controlled, relatively dust-free environs of the British Library are actually an attempt at self preservation during the packing and moving. Really!

However, the Library does close from time to time, and they discourage camping out in the reading rooms. So, what to do in the evening, when the apartment is full of airborne dust, there's no television, no phone, hardly anywhere to sit, and not much more than a box of cereal and a few crackers in the cupboard.  Why, go to the circus, of course. Le Cirque Invisible to be precise. It was quirky, funny, and delightful. Sort of Monty Python meets Cirque du Soleil, on a very small scale (two people, and a small menagerie which included the biggest white Belgian rabbit I've ever seen). 

Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée performed magic tricks, and silly stunts in the style of Sam Bartlett and Victoria Chaplin transformed herself into all sorts of magical creatures and machines.  One of my favourite segments involved the two of them and lots of bicycle parts reassembled in fascinating ways.  Some actual bicycles too, including a tandem with a skeleton in the back seat.  Must try that with ours.

The Southbank Centre was itself something of a circus.  It's a popular place on warm summer evenings, with lots of open air cafes, live performances at outdoor venues and a riverside promenade.  Plus the ever popular summertime treat "Appearing Rooms".
About half a dozen kids in swimsuits were dashing in and out among the moving walls of water and giggling.  The London Eye (giant Ferris wheel) looming in the background adds to the carnival atmosphere.

This year they also added a little garden and sandy beach along the promenade, complete with beach huts further up river.
A very enjoyable way to avoid the dust storm at home. Tonight we're out for a final farewell dinner in the newly refurbished former Midland Grand Hotel designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Fittingly, this Victorian brick confection was the first building I ever laid eyes on in London.  But we're not sleeping there, we've booked a much cheaper hotel near to our apartment, so we can meet the van driver in the morning and load the (at last count) nine (!!!!) pieces of luggage into his vehicle.
This is probably the last post from this side of the pond.  Next stop, Seattle!

1 comment:

  1. Just watched the You tube video--Wow! A bizarre metamorphosis. Was all that done by just 2 people? I loved the walking coffee pot.

    What airline are you using?

    Safe travels!!