London calling

Well, Bash and I are in London for her birthday – lovely day for it.

First we heard of the explosions was at about 10:15, waiting for the lift to arrive in the hotel, when my parents rang. “Are you OK?” “Er, yeah, fine thanks. Whhhyyyyy…?”

The hotel’s on The Strand. Five minutes walk to Trafalgar Square, strangely quiet (especially after yesterdays Olympic crowds), with sirens zooming past constantly. We’re now at the Royal Society, which was our intended first stop on a day to also include St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Modern, Tate Britain (via the Tate-2-Tate boat), maybe a shufti at Parliament, and then birthday dinner with London friends in Earl’s Court. Needless to say, most of these plans are on hold just now. St Paul’s to Tate to Tate is all do-able on foot/boat, but to get to St Paul’s we have to get to The City, which might not be a good idea assuming these explosions have an economically motivated component.

It’s been a good week, up to now, though. The show’s going very well and everybody loves the calculator. Having now used it quite a bit, I can definitely say it’s Way Cool and very impressive.

I went to the Science Museum for a bit on Tuesday, mainly checking out the Computer Science, Maths, and Telecoms Displays. I found it very disappointing. The best part is easily the Babbage stuff – difference engines, and his brain – but the rest seemed like it hadn’t been updated for 20 years. The CS stuff was also disappointingly focussed on machinery, but there’s so much more to computing than that, and increasingly so. The computers themselves are far less interesting than what you do with them and how (IMHO) but there was almost nothing on that. There was a fifteen-foot wide display on the history of the British Punched Card Calculator industry (not even general purpose computers!), but only a small card with about fifteen lines of text for Alan Turing! A travesty! Telecoms was not much better, and didn’t seem to have changed at all since I visited it with my eldest brother Mike back when I was eleven. Actually, that’s not true, it had changed: most of it had stopped working.

The bookshop was quite good, though.

Tuesday evening I headed to Greenwich to visit Rich and Em, and meet with a couple of the old Frontier possee, viz Jon and Mark F. This took place in a superb pub in Greenwich – The Union, with a microbrewery and some excellent excellent beers. The “chocolate beer” (stout) was particularly fine.

I spent yesterday afternoon planning what to do for the next three days (now out the window, it seems), then met Bash at Paddington at 7:30, and whisked her to the National Film Theatre for Antenna – a bi-monthly showcase of music videos. Some really good stuff, in particular “Sentimental Journey” by Yuki – very thoughtful and gentle. The place was, of course, full of achingly cool people. :-)

Anyway, think we’re going to have a look round the exhibition now, and I don’t know, maybe stay here all day. Hope everyone reading this is OK and your loved ones are accounted for…

One Response to “London calling”

  1. July 7th, 2005 | 1:07 pm

    Glad to hear you’re both OK, I doubt things will get back to normal for a couple of days.