The weather was gorgeous, and I spent quite a lot of time like this:
or actually walking Uther in the woods at the top of the hill.
Uther was his usual demanding self. This is the scene which greeted me when going to the toilet before bed:
and this is him totally failing to devour two partridges, being altogether more concerned with chewing on Winnie The Pooh:
This is the moon over the fields opposite:
and the view down the valley at dusk:
Old uni friend Ravinder dropped over with his wife and daughter (he followed my father into neonatology, and now works in the hospital 20 minutes down the road. I'm definitely feeling stalked), and while my parents got to chat to Ravs/Rebeccah, 7-year-old Tallulah chased me around the garden a lot, tied me to a tree, and demanded I worship her as a goddess. Apparently they've never seen her so exhausted, and I also slept pretty well!
Then off to Brighton, via train from Exeter. Awful traffic jams meant we took three attempts to reach the train station, and I had to get a later train. Which was then delayed by half an hour, meaning that I had 27 minutes to cross from Paddington to Victoria. The lovely Jane had been following along with my thrilling adventures, and was doing a great job of being the control room as we recreated Mission Impossible, trying to get me to the right platform on time. I literally made it to the train with 30 seconds to spare, and I got the notification from her of which platform as I dashed out of the underground station onto the concourse, which appeared on my watch saving me having to get my phone out of my pocket to check where, exactly, I was supposed to be. A wonderful futuristic moment, which I would like to never repeat! (And I then lost signal for five minutes while the train sat in a tunnel, leaving her entirely uncertain if I'd just made it to my train, or just missed it.)
Brighton itself was lovely (once I'd stopped sweating all over the place), and Ed took me on a magical mystery tour from the station through the small streets, full of all sort of unusual shops. It managed to feel local, and weird, and interesting, without feeling like it was trying too hard. I checked into my tiny hotel room (which was, by coincidence, the same room Ed's mum had stayed in a few months earlier. Shared use of LateRooms, I suspect), and then we walked the length of the beachfront while it got dark around us. And had delicious Thai food on a rooftop restaurant.
Here's a shot of Brighton Pier:
and here's the moon over the sea:
It was all very pretty, and it was great catching up with Ed, who I miss living with on a regular basis. He should have a place with a sofa-bed soon, which would make a multi-day visit possible.
The following day (Tuesday) I wandered towards the station for London, and as I was about to arrive, got an IM from old school friend Dan, telling me he'd just passed my doppleganger. To which I replied "No. No you haven't." and so we met up for coffee for twenty minutes before my train, which was a delightful surprise. The trip into London was relatively smooth, and I made it to the Tate Modern in time for lunch with Jo, who put her membership card to good use by getting us both into the members bar for lunch, and then getting me into all of the exhibitions.
Georgia O'Keefe was good, although I preferred her very early abstract work, and her very late landscape-as-abstract over her plain-old-landscapes. Mona Hatoum did some interesting work, which was worth seeing, even if it didn't dramatically excite me. Bhupen Khakhar didn't really do much for me at all, sadly. I spent four hours wandering around the gallery though, which was a great way to spend the day.
Here's a tree, ordered specially from Ikea, being constructed:
Here's a t-shirt, delightfully printed on a big board:
And here's the view I put art behind me:
And then off to see Phil, Virginia, and Woskar, Foxtrot, and Widget. You can assign names to the photo in whichever order makes you happiest:
Frankie also came over to see us, and there was lovely conversation. And stroking of cats.
And then to Oxford. Via Paddington, where, yet again, trains ran late, joining trains ran even later, and it took about twice as much time to get to Oxford as it should have done.
Sana then took me for a tour of lots of old bits. Here, for instance, is a church which is also a school. Or something:
And here is Sana, considering a course in how to be a Viking:
And this is a pizza place with the Silver Surfer on the outside:
And this display on the inside:
And a bar made of VHS cassettes:
And an arcade machine that plays Centipede:
And cool stuff on the other side of the bar:
So, basically, what I'm saying there is that I win.
And then back to Sana's, where I met Tatterdemalion:
Benbecula was very friendly, and Tatterdemalion was _extremely_ friendly 90% of the time, and bitey the rest of the time. Which was mostly fine, and I only ended up with four puncture wounds.
And we chatted until 10:00, and then slept, and I was awoken by knocking at the front door, got dressed at high speed (as I was on the sofa, and thus closer), and then flailed at the front door, which it turned out couldn't be opened without a key, and yelled at the delivery guy to not go anywhere, and at Sana to come downstairs, and thus parcels were delivered. And then I got the train back to London, staggered back to Phil and Virginia's, managed to persuade their cleaner that I wasn't a serial killer or burglar, and welded myself to the sofa for about four hours until I started to feel human again. Because I have moved around too much in the last few days.
Oh, and to follow on from the previous post about being a pack animal: Yes, everything has gone fine. No, I still don't like travelling by myself. Yes, it would have been more fun wandering around art galleries with another person.
Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comments there.