Today we went for a glimpse of death and destruction. Personally, I didn’t like the idea and left to my own devices would never have chosen to go there. However, we had arranged the visit with friends so I accepted with the best grace I could muster.
First, though, we went to fortify ourselves at the Angel Inn Cafe which is handy for the stop where we catch the 341 bus to Waterloo.
Today the temperature had fallen and there was an icy wind. Canadian readers would no doubt consider the conditions balmy at +2 degrees C but I felt definitely cold and unhappy. When we reached Waterloo, I took this photo of the Thames in winter sunlight even though the wind nearly blew my head off while I was doing so.
We were the first to arrive at Waterloo station where we had arranged to meet so, in order to keep warm we went to Costa for a coffee. The little Costa cafe there has a strange little upstairs room which I think must be a later addition to the building because the walls in the corner where we sat were obviously the station’s original stone walls. Our friends joined us and after the usual catching up with one another’s adventures, we proceeded to the destination, the Imperial War Museum.
Now, I recognize that war is, lamentably, one of the most persistent constants of human history and that it therefore deserves to be recorded and studied and the results of such study brought to the public. That doesn’t mean I have to like war or enjoy visiting displays of weapons and machines whose sole purpose is the destruction of human life and property. And I don’t like it.
There were some items that I liked, though. For example, Ole’ Bill, this beautiful old omnibus that had been used, like many others, to transport troops on the battlefields of the First World War. I would really like to go for a ride in this magnificent vehicle.
One of the “attractions” at the War Museum is the “Blitz Experience”. We had to queue for this because only a small number of people are allowed in at a time. First, you sit in a mock up of an air-raid shelter while recorded voices set the scene. Then you progress a few yards to an area that is intended to give you some impression of London during and immediately following a heavy raid.
Maybe I am hard to please but I found this pretty poor. Fortunately, the “Experience” is free (as is admission to the Museum itself) otherwise I would have been tempted to ask for my money back. It wasn’t worth queueing for 20 minutes to get in.
We paid a visit to the South Bank Centre and while we were there, there was a brief snow shower. I sensibly attempted to photograph it from inside, through a window, so the image isn’t all that clear but I expect you can just about see that it is snowing.
We took a little walk along the south bank (we were intending to visit the National Film Theatre but it was closed when we arrived). The snow had gone and the Thames presented a pleasant aspect in the evening light.
We returned to Waterloo station (from whence our friends would return home) and had hot chocolate in Bonaparte’s. Then it was time to take the bus to Islington. Getting home and switching on the central heating was a very enjoyable moment!