Friday, June 10, 2022

Day 3 – Channeling Harry Potter and more

Wednesday was a research day and several of us decided to go to a coffee shop to work on our homework, then do some sightseeing. Amanda (Elmira, NY), Erin (Newport News, VA), Desiree (San Francisco), and I walked down Baker Street to a place called Gail’s where they let us monopolize a table for several hours. I was happy with tea and a ham and cheese croissant. Keeping a blog is part of the course assignment so those creating one for the first time were trying to come up with clever names for them.
Next, we took the Tube to King's Cross Station to see Platform 9 ¾ where Harry Potter and his friends take the train Hogwarts. There is always a line to take a photo by the facsimile luggage trolley but it moves quickly and the staff from the Harry Potter souvenir shop nearby drape would-be wizards with a scarf from the House of your choice (Gryffindor) and release it dashingly as the photo is shot. I had been in the neighborhood the previous day to visit the British Library. We will have a tour later in the month but I wanted to get a Reader’s Pass in case I need to do research there. Plus, how cool!
Amanda had learned about a bookstore on a canal boat in Little Venice, not far from King’s Cross and the British Library, Word on the Water, which sounded a bit more exciting than it was. The 1920s Dutch barge was full of shelves inside and out, containing mostly paperback fiction and nonfiction books. I was briefly tempted by Death Goes on Skis by Nancy Spain but wasn’t in a book buying mood (yet).  It was entertaining to see a canal and some canal boats, especially as I had just reread Thursday's Child by Noel Streatfeild.  We asked the proprietor for a lunch recommendation and he sent us around the corner to a very upscale Indian restaurant called Dishoom in Granary Square. The service was slow but the food was delicious.
How to choose? They all look appealing.
The rest of the group went back to our dorm in Marylebone but I went to visit my favorite London bookstore, Foyle’s on Charing Cross Road. Its café did not have Victoria Sponge on offer as I had enjoyed on my last visit but Foyle’s is a delightful place to spend an hour or so. I bought the most recent Robert Goddard, autographed by the author, and a historical novel for my mother’s birthday. Sadly, most of the bookshops on Charing Cross Road don’t exist anymore. I did stop by two of them but saw nothing of interest, so headed back, detouring briefly to Tesco’s for Prosecco and biscuits.
Paint and Sip - later the USM staff said we aren't
supposed to drink!  Too late!
Channin, the youngest and most exuberant member of our group, who went to Ole Miss undergrad and is from Tupelo like Elvis, had decided she wanted to host a Paint and Sip event. She bought paints and canvases, several of us bought wine and Alesha brought chocolate, and the gathering took place in our shared kitchen (I thought there was a common room on each floor but there is only a small kitchen on each side of the hall). Jess (New Orleans), who had a Covid scare on Tuesday, was beaming as one does after several negative tests. I did not paint (I provided background on the six wives of Henry VIII) but the other five turned out some creditable work, and we bought tickets to see King Lear later this month at the Globe.  
Amanda and Alesha
I still need a research topic for my paper: originally, I wanted to write about books based on real places such as The Children of Green Knowe and A Traveller in Time but the assignment is very specific:

The topic you choose must be related to a particular library, collection, or archive, or to a library service, program, or user group. You may choose a historical figure or subject as the topic of your paper; however, the focus of your paper’s research problem and related questions must be focused on collections and/or institutions related to that figure or subject. Remember that you will only be in London for a month, and you must use time outside of class visits to conduct research.
Channin spread out on the kitchen 
floor to create her masterpiece
Miles walked: 4.2
Books acquired: 2


TracyK said...

That research paper sounds complicated, and I would get distracted by everything else going on. Sounds like you are having a good time.

CLM said...

I will admit I am not in the mood to study but if I can come up with a good topic, there are several days where nothing is scheduled and I should be able to be productive!

JaneGS said...

Sounds like a pretty fun day. The bookstore on the canal is intriguing--though it sounds like a good premise but less than stellar reality. I cannot help but envy your time exploring and living in London, though the actual schoolwork would be challenging given the distractions.