The day after we arrived in London, we descended upon the British Museum, eager to see some mummies.
The last time I visted the museum in 1999, the mummies exhibit was closed for restoration, the British Museum had finally relinquished the contents of the Reading Room to the British Library and the courtyard was under construction- so. not. happy.
I was totally spun out by the fact that Cleopatra was there, while the male BGs were keen on the Sutton Hoo treasure. Miss BG was more than happy to be outside chasing pigeons and squirrel spotting in Russell Square.
It was while pondering the Parthenon Marbles and admiring the mosaics that adorn the walls of the stairwells, that Mr BG made a pertinent observation that the British Museum has more artefacts plundered from other people’s cultures, than actual British content. Should it be renamed the Empire Museum rather than British? I know people take souvenirs to remember trips, but honestly, taking the Parthenon is a little over the top Lord Elgin!
The Betsey Trotwood is a charming pub in Clerkenwell at which Mr BG played his first show since December last year and his first London show in 9 years.
This time he was joined onstage by Pam Berry, with whom he played in The Shapiros aeons ago and who also sung on his latest album. He was playing new songs and old songs from his back catalogue of when he was a legendary indie-popstar :).
The pub grub was good, and the set with Pam was magical. His solo set had a few glitches, owing to an unfamiliar guitar and poor light, but the audience lapped up the chance to hear him play. Andrew, and my parents were present and were very impressed about this unseen side of Mr BG.
It is always exciting coming back to your hometown, even if what I really remember of it is from visits rather than the year I lived there. This was the first time I was visiting as a chauffeur to the kids to introduce them to their Irish side of the family.
My favourite parts of Belfast include the hills surrounding it, the inner, leafy Victorian parts near Queen’s University and the black taxis which act as mini buses. I noticed more real buses on the roads which were a sign of a concerted effort to encourage more public transport to ease road congestion, as well as a sign of lessening sectarian violence (they had previously been hijacked, overturned and set alight to make roadblocks during the Troubles).
When word got out that he was playing in London, Mr BG was invited to play in Berlin as part of a music festival. With my parents in Ireland and who were more than happy to look after the kids (I just want to put on the record now they VOLUNTEERED), we flew in on Friday afternoon and flew out Sunday morning.
It was fantastic and it felt really great to be going on an adventure with my favourite fellow explorer.
The photo was supposed to have a cyclist in it, but she whizzed past so quickly! There were heaps of cyclists, with every street having a dedicated bike path on the footpath. A rent a bike scheme was very popular with tourists and locals, mainly due to the fact that helmets are not compulsory.
The streets and wide footpaths gave the sense of space, and the street art prevalent in the area in which we stayed made me feel like I was in Melbourne.
Mr BG rocked his show which took place on the Friday night. This may seem totally biased, but compared to the previous week he was on fire. The most special part of the night was seeing and hearing a group of enthusiastic fans singing along to his old songs.
The next day was spent visiting the Brandenburg Gate, walking through the Tiergarten, riding the train and visiting the Bauhaus Archiv
Our day ended going to see more bands at the Wasserturm, which was an amazing venue.
Bratwursts were eaten, beer was drunk and the night ended with a takeaway doner kebab on the walk back to our pension.
The taxi (a Mercedes, probably the one place where this would be the case!) took us to the airport. At the other end, we were greeted by another great site- my dad with the little BGs to welcome us back 🙂