After much searching, I finally found something to do in London that isn't at all fun. rahael
and I were eating breakfast this morning -- cereal with blueberries and bananas -- when I felt something in my mouth that might have been an unripened blueberry, were blueberries just a tad more metallic. I fished around and pulled out a small silver-pewter object -- I had lost a filling. Joy. So now I have an appointment with a dentist on the Kensington High Street tomorrow, and until then I'll be eating with a ginger touch. And since we're having Thai tonight, what I eat will have a touch of ginger.rahael
has updated about our journey through the Cotswolds, but she's left her readers where I left her, in the Spa Station at Bath. After seeing her off, my father and I drove out of town, where we quickly came upon a sign for a "Canal Visitors' Centre." On a whim we checked it out: there was no sign of the "Visitors' Centre" I had feared, with its dioramas of 19th Century canal construction and earnest display cases featuring artifacts of the lives of the digging classes; instead there was a little cafe and, lo!, a canoe rental. So we paddled between the narrowboats for a bit. The canals of high-rent Amsterdam had prepared me for the adaptations people would make to the narrowboats to make them liveable (though I saw only one with a satellite dish), but nothing prepared me for our right turn onto the aqueduct.
Apparently, the engineer decided that he could build a nine-mile stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal without a single lock, an impressive feat, but only if he took the canal from one side of the valley to the other. Twice
. So he built aqueducts. (There was apparently a bit of local politics in the building -- the architect was convinced that only brick would be sturdy enough a material for the aqueducts, but the local industry was based on limestone, so the architect was overruled.)
There we were, canoeing over
not only a river, but a road and the railway. The canal on the other side of the valley was peaceful, nearly empty of the narrowboats that had crowded the canal before, and well-populated with ducks. At one point, I looked to my left and realized that I was seeing the tops
of trees. In my (admittedly very limited) experience, when I've been paddling and could see ground below me, I'm generally trying to figure out how to run the whitewater at the bottom, but the water in the canal was perfectly flat.
After returning the canoe to the rental shop, we drove to Stonehenge. We had been warned that it would be overrun with tourists, but at six-thirty in the evening it's nearly empty, almost idyllic. The National Trust won't let visitors anywhere near the monument, though, and it closes well before I could attempt to line up the sunset with anything, so no archaeoastronomy for me.
The next day we visited Bournemouth (which is much the Jersey Shore were the boardwalk tarmacked) and Winchester (where I did not dance on Jane Austen's grave). Then it was on to London where I was reunited with rahael
. And now I sit in Leytonstone, trying to munch cakes with only the right side of my mouth.