Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In which we drink beer and geek out over Harry Potter

To start off with, my work at the BL yesterday was very much like working in the restricted section of Hogwarts' library! The book I was working with was actually "restricted," which means that you have to change seats to sit in the restricted section, where there are book cradles to help ensure that you take good care of the books, and presumably they're better able to find you and make sure you don't run off with something priceless. They also keep your reader's card, not giving it back until you give back whatever awesome thing you were working with. So I sat there for several hours tracing psalm tunes in a book of early English chant - it was a fantastic afternoon.

For the last few days, we've kept getting caught in rush hour on the tube, which is not fun - not only can I not sit and read, but there's an uncomfortable press of people (so much so that sometimes you can't even get on the train) and it's over-warm and loud. Our options are to leave, which we'll do tonight, since we've got some cooking to do, or stay around the downtown area until later in the evening, as we did yesterday.

I finally compiled a list of pubs we might want to visit, from personal recommendations and some google searches for "best pub in London," and tonight we tried one! We figure we can look up a decent pub in any area of London we visit and thus avoid extra train trips. The Queen's Head had some stellar reviews (and is advertised as "the best pub in London"), so off we went! The number of ciders available was overwhelming - as the guy said, I'm now in the home of ciders (is that true? I confess I don't know anything about the history of cider, only that I like it). So I asked for something "really traditional" and was handed a mug of a still, room temperature, extremely alcoholic cider that was quite unlike anything I've ever had before in the US. Fantastic, though. I took it slowly while we played two games of cribbage (husband trounced me on the first one, which is typical, but I won the second by the slimmest of margins) but even so, I felt the effects quite immediately. We also gave in to my odd desire ever since we got here to try British meat pie, so we ordered their pork pie and loved it. You eat it cold, who knew?

Finally, on our way back to the tube station at Kings Cross St Pancras, we popped in to the actual train station just above the underground, the actual Kings Cross station featured in Harry Potter...and yes, they now have a Platform 9 3/4. Thanks to the lateness of the evening, there was almost no line. I was beaming like an idiot - I grew up with these books, and they played such a huge role not only in my childhood but in my teenage years, when one is inclined towards obsession.

 While they're perfectly fine with folks taking their own photos, they also take professional ones which can be bought in the HP shop just around the corner. It was great fun to browse, and we decided we liked Luna's wand best.

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