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13 December 2009 @ 11:55 pm
The travels of Brammers, part 8  
In which our heroine has aching legs and is finally able to sit and gasbag with Cal ...

One of the great joys of my life is the fact that timing often works out for me. So raitala was off on a minibreak just after I was scheduled to hit London, which you would think was a disaster, but we are meeting up in Paris later in the week and it has meant that I could catsit and flatsit for her. This has been a major piece of luck: not only was there a washing machine, so I could do all my laundry, but RaiCat is a creature of great loveliness who has diligently guarded my feet each night and is even now helping me to type. She is cheering me up immensely, as I miss my cats every bit as much as I miss Mr Brammers, I am ashamed to say.

Yesterday morning saw me up and about nice and early, brimming with glee. I was going to meet calanthe_fics properly for the first time! It is possible that I was so intent on being at Euston when her train pulled in that I arrived ninety minutes early. Obviously this was a sign that I should visit the British Library and see some of their treasures in the permanent exhibition there. Spectacular display and interpretations: really good snippets of context for each of the artefacts and a good selection of items, too. Unintentionally hilarious commentary from a few of the other visitors, especially regarding the Magna Carta, while the two gentlemen who were there to research Dr Johnson left me dying to read whatever paper they might be working on.

I hurried back to the station in time to meet Cal. In new boots. Which was a mistake, given that my manky right foot was already rather bruised due to a few unfortunate suitcase dropping incidents. Texting her furiously (and managing to write Euston Square, not Euston Rail not once but twice, because I am an idiot), we discovered that she was at the ticket office sorting ticket issues, while I needed to buy a bandage and innersoles at Boots. This delayed our Glorious First Meeting by a good three minutes, and the scene finally took place at the Euston Ticket Office.

Brammers (muttering to self): Blue carryall, blue carryall ... scanning, scanning ...

Cal: *Waves elegantly from Giant Queue*

Brammers: Oh! Hello!

Cal: I may be some time.

Brammers: Yay! It's you! Er, I need to go and strap my foot, because I am a limpy idiot.

Cal: Fabulous, you do that in reception and I will meet you there when I am done here.

Brammers: Your plans have merit!

Yes, one of those epic tales for the ages from which great poetry is made. I think that the important take-home lesson here is Immediate Comfort and Immediate Oh Good, You're Exactly What I Expected (Side note here to say that, like a majority of my women friends who I have met in person after speaking with, the only difference is that Cal is about 65% better looking than she lets on, possibly 70%. It is possible that I am the only woman I know who may slightly overstate her own attractiveness ('No, really, I am usually 15% cuter, but I am very sleep deprived and the dark circles are currently epic ...'))

We ran/hobbled off to the Tate Britain, where we were thrilled to discover that both of us wanted to do the Old Stuff. It's not as though neither of us likes Modern Art, we do, but when you are on a Culture Mission, it is so much more fun to ridicule 17th century fashion and be quietly impressed by Elizabethan portraiture, and gently moved by Chatterton than it is to discuss the intertextuality offered by the late Surrealists. We also boggled at a spot of Turner and were not a little impressed by Canaletto's OCD.

We discussed Fandom. This was a mostly successful conversation hampered only by the fact that I have the memory of a vague fish. 'Did you like X?' 'Er, possibly, how did it go again?' I boggled at the length and breadth of Cal's commitment, she indulged my lengthy rambles on the taxonomy of fannish types. Other gallery goers looked at us oddly as we confessed that all of the portraiture was giving us Ideas of an Historical AU nature ...

On returning to the Raibode, we briefly recalled that we had thought of writing Zombie!HP fic, before deciding that a cup of tea and an early night were better options (we had eaten out, due to an inability to find ingredients that could be cooked quickly). Today we woke at a reasonable hour and visited the Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garrett, down near London Bridge. Due to a lack of paying attention, we walked straight past the street it was on, but found it without too much difficulty. The museum itself is at the top of a narrow spiral stair, happily I had my good walking shoes on and the foot was being less evil today. Fascinating and slightly terrifying stuff all round, with an emphasis on 19th century instruments and earlier herbal remedies (surprisingly catholic: Greek, Jewish, Indian and Arabic remedies were presented alongside the traditional English). From the perspective of intriguing artefacts and a glimpse of Times Gone By, it is a very successful place, though I do think they could have a little more rigour in their curating intelligence at the expense of a little aesthetic pleasantry.

The nearby Fashion and Textile Museum lured us with a shiny sign, which was something of a lie in the sense of 'it will be near the sign', but nonetheless was in the direction indicated. It was a festival of Post-War girly frocks: including a pinafore that I loved in the early 1970s and love still, so that was very much like seeing an old friend again, but not strictly a museum of fashion as such, more a snapshot of 20 years of fashion. Still, I purchased an eelskin coin purse for a very small sum, and who can ask for more?

Then, far too soon, it was time to bid adieu to Cal. I promised that I would read and remember more fics so that we could discuss them, she promised to read some of the appalling Australian children's literature I had given her to Cal Jnr, which will do bad things to Jnr's sense of manners, but stand her in good stead adventure-wise. I am glossing over this, due to tiredness and general jetlagged stupidity, but it was actually quite a wrench: having a Cal finally in my grasp, 27 hours was far too short a time to keep her there.

However, it was still daylight, so I trekked down to the Queen's Gallery and had a lovely hour or so looking at the current exhibition. The Faberge animals and flowers, and an insane stumpwork casket, were the high points for me, I only wish they had allowed photography. I did take a shot of the loos: hot water and luxe soaps for all Her Majesty's subjects! Bless her. She was in, for those who care to know where the Monarch is at any given time.

From there I wandered back through St James's Park and was accosted by many fat geese and overly bold squirrels. Horrid grey invading ones, alas. People feed those animals far too much. I could have sworn I saw a heron, but it was half-light and I was growing tired. Then through Horse Guards and up to St Martin's where I popped down to the Brass Rubbing Centre, because I had a voucher and wanted to use it. Genuine good fun for a quarter hour, and a decent rubbing to take home, but a very disappointing gift shop that was general tat for the most part and very little on St Martin's or Trafalgar Square, or brass rubbing for that matter, rather oodles of chocolate and Erik Satie CDs. I suppose they must make a living from it, as there were four assistants, but I like things to be more specific.

At this point, the cold finally reached right down to my bones and I am ashamed to say that I bailed on my friend who I had arranged to have afternoon tea with, scurrying back to rai's and using her hot water to ease the aches. I have made most of a soup tonight (the stock, which is clarifying in the fridge and will be finished in the morning), washed bedding, done some dishes and watched a little Merlin on BBC Catch-up, which I finally remembered was available to me here. Though I wish Cal was still here, I was able to smile over the fact we both find the Merlin lads v pretty (and can have one each according to taste) as I scared the Raicat with my bark of laughter at the following exchange:
'We could disguise him!'
'That might work'
'We could dress him as a woman!'
'That, on the other hand ...'
Vaysh Swiftstormvaysh on December 14th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
the only difference is that Cal is about 65% better looking than she lets on, possibly 70%.
*nods vigorously* 85%!

Ah, thanks for the shot of London!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 14th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
I have some actual shots, once I sort them out ;=)
calanthe_fics on December 14th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
*snuggles you* Stop it! I'm blushing, here!
cassie_blackcassie_black12 on December 14th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
You sound like you're having a fab time - I am completely and utterly jealous :(

Edited at 2009-12-14 12:11 am (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 14th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
I'd seen photos, so I was expecting the billie piperdom ;-)

Am having great fun, though so very tired ... must sleep ...
Hueyphoenixacid on December 14th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
Eeeeeee! Eeeeeeeee! Glorious First Meeting sounds epic indeed!
*cuddles you both* Your travelling adventure recaps are bril, hun.

I just came home from Thailand myself, so I totally missed part 4-7 (will do so once I've sorted my pics, hee)!

If you don't mind me asking, who is the Colin!fan (and the Bradley!fan) between the both of you? ;)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 14th, 2009 08:01 am (UTC)
My love for Bradley determines we must never meet, as I would be inappropriate ;-)
calanthe_fics on December 14th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
I saw your pics - beautiful! What a stunning place. And you, my dear, are a doll.


And I've decided Brammers can have the wingnut one. I want the blond with the peculiar yet attractive teeth. Well, when I say 'want', I mean 'look at for a minute or two whilst lamenting the loose fit of his *cough* costume'.
Hueyphoenixacid on December 15th, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)
Aw, you're too sweet! Thank you so much - I'm so glad you like the pics. *hugs you tight*

Peculiar-yet-attractive-teeth did appear topless in several scenes, and his pants are really tight even though his tops aren't. So, yes, *cough* no need to be so sad about it, hun. XD

And OMG, Colin shall now be called "the wingnut one" in my head! *pats his wee wingnuts* ... Now, that sounds wrong.
Meredythmeredyth_13 on December 14th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
At the risk of sounding predictably monotonous and tiresome - I am SO friggin' jealous. There had been vague plans to catch up with Miss Cal when we were there, but between her body being diabolic, and our travel plans managing to avoid her region entirely, it didn't happen. *cries*

Merlin is ridiculously awesome, and awesomely ridiculous. ♥
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 14th, 2009 08:02 am (UTC)
It is!!
calanthe_fics on December 14th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
I failed. I really, really failed. If it's any consolation I was brain dead this weekend just gone, as opposed to bum dead and mainly angry back when you were here. We shall meet one day!
Meredythmeredyth_13 on December 15th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
Oh, honey - there was no 'fail' about it. When the body says 'no' there's not a lot anyone can do, as I am well aware. When the time comes, I will be a happy little muffin. Hopefully in the New Year. :D

*hugs you tight*
Bubba: Rochesterabsynthedrinker on December 14th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC)
As much fun in the telling it seems. Glad you are having a time.

ladyjanevaladyjaneva on December 14th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
It sounds like you're having such a wonderful time!

*is a teeny bit envious*

YOu're also giving me ideas for my next London trip.
calanthe_fics on December 14th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
Let me know when you're over!
ladyjanevaladyjaneva on December 17th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
thank you so much, I'll do that :-D

Shiv can testify that I do exist in real life and am not a complete nutter, also -> *points to photos*

soo....when are you coming over to Berlin?
mytla on December 14th, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
But... weren't you going to squeeze some Roman time into your travels? *hopeful*
calanthe_fics on December 14th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
You are far too generous, in more than the one way :) My talkativity is a bit on the blink, so sorry if I was quiet. I promise I'm not usually that withdrawn. It was lovely to get away and not have to worry about anything, although it's always lovely to come home to the small one. A work colleague gave birth a couple of weeks ago, 6 weeks early, to a 3.5lb boy. He died on Saturday; just stopped breathing. It's been hard to put Jnr down today.

However! I have new shoes, courtesy of Trippen. They may be the sexiest shoes eva. I will show pix soon. It was wonderful to meet you. You are an awesome person.