Tuesday, July 29, 2008

this ain't a scene, its a goddamn arms race

they want me dead. there's no other explaination for it. who 'they' are is yet to be confirmed, but i have my suspicions. alright, i know names, i know dates and i even know where they live. (al pacino couldn't do it better) they want me dead, but i won't go down without a big fight.

there is a poster of pete wentz to my left. above the window avril lavinge and patrick wolf are pouting. to my right is morrissey and mick jagger. the killers are in the bathroom (i can now say that brandon flowers has seen me naked. um.) its not a bad hostel room, its just covered in posters. its fine, some i like, some i don't. big whoop. or so i think. when i go to put my head down, i turn to face the wall. and come face to face with Panic At The Disco. a loud curse fills the room, waking the woman from Venezuela. i clutch my copy of Trainspotting protectively. I really hate that band, and they seem to really hate me. But stalking me across England? Ridiculous.

Other than that, Manchester is alright. Bit hot. The Lowry is awesome, doing my best not to spend any money!!! Have run out of books, which may cause crisis. Visiting old school friend of my grandmothers. Need to do some laundry. Need to draw all over Panic at the Disco's faces tonight.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

glasgow lies, bleeding in the afternoon

the title of this mornings blog comes from an Idlewild song, "In Competition For The Worst Time". i'll let you draw your own conclusions.

my stomach seems a bit better, erplaced insted by horrid headache. perhaps i should have taken myself to hospital but the prospect of spending friday night surrounded by drunk scots wasnt appealing, so i spent it with two hysterical people from, of all fucking places VEGAS. Sydney and Laine were happy to spend all evening talking about Brandon Flowers 'tache. and playing scrabble. and bitching about glasgow. they left this morning. i have another 24 hours to kill here. looks like i might have to go to the cinema or something.

sean biggerstaff citings: none. bummer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

the city that the light made

something very strange just happened, and being a member of 'generation share everything now' i decided to spend my last 70p on an hours internet in order to tell you all about it.

i had a nap in Princes Street Garden, doing my best not to attract dogs and small children. failed miserably, attracted a black puppy called Miles and a small child called Siobhan. gave up on my new book, and decided to walk back to the hostel to challenge my Canadian roommate to a rematch of last night's chess game. was happily plotting my opening move when i saw someone i didn't expect to see. Michael Patrick Lloyd. commonly known as Mickey, Purple Sneakers Favourite Leprechaun. we embraced and were confused. turned out he's nipped over here for his girlfriend's 21st and i've come here to try and throw up all over Edinburgh. it was great to see him - his hugs are always awesome.

my quest to throw up all over Edinburgh is going well. this morning i climbed up Arthur's Seat, which stands 823ft above the rest of the city. it's got no real connection to the fabled King Arthur, but derives its name from "Ar-na-sied" which is scots for "that lump of rock that we make tourists climb." no Scottish person would do this walk, they're all too busy dying of heart disease. instead they watch stupid Australians climb it. i stopped every 50m to try and convince my heart not to explode, my stomach not to projectile, my head not to fall off, my lungs not to collapse. in short, i was trying not to die. i didn't, but when i reached the top, i appreciated the view for a good five seconds before lurching over the edge to chunder. very glamourous. once i'd recovered (theres nothing in my stomach but bile.) i took some photos, appreciated the view a bit more, and made note to drag Emma up there at sunrise one day. she'll kill me, but the view is spectacular - you can see all of the city, and all the way out to Fife. on a clear day you could probably see the ocean and the English border.

once i'd climbed back down, again trying not to die, i wandered into the New Town, took a peek at the Oxford Bar, where Rebus and Rankin drink. didn't go in as i'm not quite Rebus when it comes to drinking alone. still, its what i expected. wandered to Fruitmarket Gallery, which was nifty and full of postmodern Scottish works, then back up to the High Street via Fleshmarket Close. grabbed lunch from tescos, wandered through Grassmarket, then down to Princes Street Garden. managed not to puke up lunch, grand success!!! (small plain bread roll.) Napped, saw Mickey. decided to blog about it.

i'm doing my best not to buy that unicorn dress - for starters, its got a white background. disaster. for seconds, money is needed for living, not dressing. for thirds, i'm about tothrow all my money away on a £50 Blue Nashville acoustic guitar. it's sooooooooooooooo pretty. the fact i can't play guitar is a moot point.

it's a good thing i'm leaving tomorrow morning. otherwise i'd do something very silly. i feel like i should buy something touristy, like a bobble hat. but that feels a bit naff, so i'll just hoard postcards that i keep meaning to send but probably never will. expect to be handed them in five months time.


The Remote Part by Idlewild is one of my favourite albums. they're an Edinburgh band and i've always considered the album to be about their home city. still, its not till i was on top of Arthur's Seat, listening to "You Held The World In Your Arms" that it hit me how much of the city is in the album. then i had some wanky thoughts about how i've been carrying bits of Edinburgh (idlewild, rankin, welsh, etc) around for years, and thoughts about how cities make people make cities make people etc. then i thought i was going to be sick again, so i stopped thinking.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

two steps from misfortune

Death Cab For Cutie's "Transatlanticism" will forever remind me of puking my guts up in Edinburgh. I've got a stomach bug, and so far have thrown up the bathrooms of the hostel, princes street garden, the art gallery, the Scottish museum, the royal Scottish museum and the surgeons hall. it's not as bad as it sounds. Edinburgh has very clean bathrooms. And it means that I'm seeing a lot of Edinburgh. I don't feel that sick, I just can't keep anything down.

Apart from my gastro adventures in Scotland, what else is happening? Before i left London, I spent a few days with ms watts, went back to the natural history museum (I want to move in there and live with the stegosaurus), read lots of books(Persepolis. You all have to read it) and did my best to behave. Then I got on a bus at Victoria Coach Station, and nine hours later found myself in Edinburgh. I'm staying on The Royal Mile in a hostel started by Deacon Brodie's son. I went to bed early on sunday night, so that I would be ready and raring to go on Monday morning. Unfortunately a few hours later my stomach rebelled and I- became intimately acquainted with the hostel toilet. Wasn't going to let that stop me, Monday morning found me in The Museum Of Scotland. Saw the Lewis Chessman, who are possibly the funniest game pieces ever, and the Maiden, which is smaller that I thought. The view from the top of the Museum is amazing. The bathrooms are immaculate.

In the afternoon I went on a three hour walking tour of Edinburgh. We mostly stuck to the Old Town, meandering through Grassmarket and various Harry Potter locations. I nipped into a pub to be sick, and confirmed my suspicions that Edinburgh is my kind of town - bookshops, pubs and chippies everywhere. The pubs not on the Mile tend to be quiet pubs, like my beloved Shakey. I'm looking forward to Emma being here, and I'm determined to come back one year (next year?) for the festival.

Today I went to the Art Galleries, had a nap in Princes' Garden - which used to be a Loch and is now a quiet haven in a city rife with prefestival construction. After that I went to the Surgeons Museum, which. Well. Gross and fascinating. They have a pocketbook made from William Burke's skin. And all sorts of embalmed body parts. Awesome. Again, lovely bathrooms.

Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to get to Holyrood, and do the Arthurs Seat walk. I also want to nip into the Oxford Bar, home of Rebus & Rankin. Then I'm off to Glasgow for three days, during which my prime objective is to nab me a Sean Biggerstaff. After than, Manchester, Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Cardiff.

And then, back to Europe for PUKKELPOP, quite possibly the most awesome festival line up ever. All my heroes (except Idlewild and BRMC) are playing, and I'm going to be there!!!! Don't have a tent yet, but still. I'm on my way, and maddywatts is coming too. Anyone else up for it?

Man Plus - My Kind Of People
Idlewild - Century After Century

Ladies Of Grace Adieu - Susannah Clarke
Hallam Foe - Peter Jinks

trying: not to buy a dress with unicorns printed on it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

wet wet wet // take two

all these photos are out of order and jumbled because i take after my mother when it comes to computer literacy. and because i didnt want to use up hazels bandwidth, i spent ages resizing them and they still do the weird thing where if you click on them they get bigger. 
i don't know, ok? computers are a mystery. 

1. The Giant Fork I Walked Into At Sudeley Castle
Part of the castle's sculptures with no identification range. I wasn't paying attention and walked into it.

2. Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair
Her hair has sparkles. 'Nuff said. I really wish Sudeley Castle Admin had seen fit to put some sort of identification somewhere. I spent ages looking.

3. Stairway To Heaven?
I think this ones my favourite, because. because it's a nice juxtaposition of nature and man-made and because it goes nowhere, but everywhere. It's almost pretentious, but its really quite cheeky. I think so, anyway. The little sign you can see says "don't touch the exhibit." (cos the nameless artist may appear from the maze and maul you)

4. Macmillan Way, Bourton On The Water.
I did an eight mile walk from B-ot-W to Upper Slaughter to Lower Slaughter to B-ot-W again. This was on my one sunny Cotswolds day, and was lovely. If we ignore the three times I got lost, the incident where I got stung/bitten by something that caused my left knee to double in size and coming face to face with a big big big big cow. Actually, those were part of the things that made it great. English countryside is so pretty. Just after this part of the walk, I went past a Manor that my father apparently stayed in, although how he managed to convince them to let him in, I'll never know. If I'm even in position to retire to the countryside, it'll be in the Cotswolds. Along with everyone else in the world, I'm sure.

5. Patisserie, Luxembourg
Funnily enough, there were a whole bunch of skinny jeaned, be-hoodied, scowling emo kids in this shop. The croissants and brioche were brilliant (and cheap) but the coffee was enough to make you want to listen to Morrissey.

6. Street that my folks and I used to live in
You can't see the photo of me in front of the house until I've touched it up with photoshop for a bit. Typical of my parents to live in a street with a Roman name. Corinium was what the Romans called Cirencester, and at one point it was one of the biggest Roman towns. I went to the roman museum where they had superimposed a map of Corinium on top of modern Cirencester. The Romans had brilliant ideas when it came to town planning. I doubt you would ever have gotten lost back then.

7. Cirencester High Street
A lot bigger than I thought it was going to be. I wanted to try cycling from Cheltenham to Cirencester, but it was far too wet and windy for that.

so, there you go. photos! hurrah, and such.

As for Oxford and Cambridge, well. I spent time with a couple from Chicago, pretending we were students in an effort to get into Christ Church for free. Didn't work, but loads of fun. We drank too much in Eagle & Child, which is where JRR Tolkein and CS Lewis used to do exactly the same thing. Went back to the hostel and watched Love, Actually. Three of us ended up bawling and falling asleep on common room sofa. Loved Oxford, am inspired to return to Sydney, get university degree with honours & first then do post grad in Oxford. 
Or go back when it's not raining as much. That might be more feasible.

And next stop?

Scotland, och aye!

by request // takeone

Lizzle keeps reminding me that I took my camera with me for a reason. Blogspot is being mean and not letting me post lots of photos at once, probably a good thing for Hazel's bandwidth. So here are photos from Amsterdam and Luxembourg. 

and the formatting is being stupid, so look at the pictures and then read the bit about it at the end. 

1. Cannabis Starter Kit. 
These are everywhere in Amsterdam. Exactly the same stuff is in each kit, but depending where you are, the price fluctuates between 5 and 10 euros. I was tempted, but you can't even bring Bees into Australia, so it probably wasn't worth the risk. Besides, you have to be stoned in order to think that you'll have the patience to grow the stuff. And then when you do, you'd probably eat it. 

2. Sinking Building, Amsterdam.
I walked past this place a few times without noticing, until I realised the reason I felt strange about a building was because it was lopsided. I think that the council have left it that way because it's a hotspot for photo takers - I kept bumping into stoned Americans who were pointing and laughing at it while trying to take photos. When I took this photo, I was standing in the way of some tourists who were trying not to get hit by a tram. 
(I'm not a very nice person when I've had two hours sleep.)

3. Fluro Man Thong.
There was an mans underwear shop that my grandparents and I kept walking past. This was the coolest one in the window. The gold lame one was kind of tacky. Despite bicycles being allowed everywhere in Amsterdam, they aren't allowed into male lingerie shops.

4. View of Luxembourg from Um Bock
It's like being inside a fairytale. Or a chess game. This is the view of the area I was staying in, the name of which I can't remember how to spell. I was standing at Um Bock (the castle) looking for the bus stop when I took this. My three days in Lux consisted of looking for bus stops and post boxes. The Lux's seem to think that if they congregate around a pole, a bus will appear. Also, the reason people in Lux are slim is because they all live at the bottom of hills, and put things like supermarkets, churches, train stations, shops, museums, castles, etc at the top of hills. Get it? If my family lived in Europe, I bet we would have taken a family argument, sorry, a family holiday to Luxembourg. My dad would have dragged us through the Casemates, my mother would have embarrassed us in the centre square by dancing to the band that only knows three songs, Claudia would have had a tanty at the bottom of a hill, Jeremy a tanty at the top and I would have done my best not to buy the very expensive necklace I saw. 
Seeing as my family weren't there, I did all of the above by myself.

5. View of Luxembourg from Bus Stop
Once I'd walked up the hill/mini mountain to the bus stop, I wanted to record my achievement. The red building in the distance is the hostel. The German Pub is the very very very small pink building on the same line as the hostel. Other buildings are a Hospice and houses. The bridge has been there for ages, and a woman in the pub told me she thinks it might be Roman, although she's not sure. It looks Roman though, doesn't it? 

coming up next: Cotswald photos!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

in retrograde

ok. so. i really should be telling you all about how i hung out with emo kids in Cambridge and walked 8 miles to chocolate box villages. but. but. 

easily one of the most intelligent cerebral political bands out there at the moment and they know how to get the party started. fuck. i didn't just say that. they totally don't get the party started. Bloc Party are the band that set the party on fire and say "yeah, well. i don't really like parties that much anyway. didn't i see you eating chicken tikka at the protest last week?" Bloc Party are the band that scare Americans, according to my new friend Billy (who's planning on marrying Brendon Urie, Lizzle) because they have a clinical edge to them that makes them warm - check songs like Cavaliers & Roundheads with its rapid fire "sometimes I want to hurt you" chorus, juxtaposed with the fantastic Waiting For The 7.18 which begs "let's drive to Brighton on the weekend". not many bands have the ability to reach out to everyone and start sparks.

So new song, "Mercury." I think it came out a month or so ago. It picks up where "Flux" left off. Flux being one of my favourite songs from this year with its hysteria and its global focus - it felt like one of those songs that made you part of the rest of the world, made you think you weren't the only one but you could be the only one (coherency, Madeleine. work on it) "Mercury" is a classic disco edge, looping Kele's voice to create a prophetic alarming opening. It's lacking in Bloc Party's traditional jagged guitars, but the synths and what I think are trumpets build a fantastic post 9/11, 7/7 soundscape. Bloc Party seem fascinated by the culture of surveillance and terror that we're wrapped in. The drums. Oh. My. God. African in origin, warped to something post modern and paranoid. Lyrically we have a global setting that jumps from Sydney to London to Williamsburg. We're entreated to "run away from all the cynics" which, I suspect, would mean running away from ourselves - as Kele discovers when he tries to ask us to run, but "all I could say was hey". I'm bouncing around incoherently, I'm sorry. This is pretty much the perfect song for walking down dark alleys to. This is a song for dancefloors filled with the disillusioned. This is a song for believers and fighters.

And if the song in original form isn't enough, then Telemitry have to go and fuck it all around with more synths and lasers and make it even cooler. It becomes a leviathon of heavy beats. You can practically feel the heat radiating off it, the desperation. Telemitry are doing some seriously heavy remixes at the moment - the other being Coldplays "Viva La Vida" which takes fairly simple Brian Eno glossed strings & vocals song and turns it into something that you could use for one of those New Years Eve retrospectives. if you wanted to confuse everyone about what had happened that year. the thing i love about remixes like this is the way they give the songs a new bite, they tease out something that you knew was there but couldn't quite hear. 

So. Yeah. I hope that makes you look at Coldplay and Bloc Party, two of the UK's biggest bands, a little differently. 

I'll write about Cheltenham, Oxford & Cambridge later, promise. I'm off to Scotland on Friday, I think. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"left at the dead badger" // drowned rat

there are few people who can manage to get lost, drowned, sunburnt, bruised, sheep-ed and nearly electrocuted in the space of four hours. i happen to be one of them.

i'm currently in Cheltenham, which is home to the hospital in which i made my grand entrance into this world twenty years ago. staying with Sue, Ian, Ryan & Bethany Kelsall, friends of the family who despite not having seen me since i was four have taken me in for the week. Ian picked me up on his way back from Dublin (via Acton) on Friday. they took me to their local Thai place that night where we had the hottest Green Curry ever. i was hiccoughing. saturday i wandered around (saw the hospital where i was born and where dad worked. looks like all hospitals - inhospitable). yesterday we went to 67 Corinium Gate in Cirencester. my parents (and i, for all of six weeks) used to live there. it was strange. i have no memory of it, obviously, but it means something. i was a bit miffed that there wasn't a small memorial there. perhaps i should leave one - something tasteful in bronze "maddie woz ere".

i woke this morning to grey sky and wet grounds, but i was determined to get to Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe. so i bundled up (i stand out like such a tourist because its cold. all the english think its warm and are wearing hot pants. most of them really shouldn't) got the bus and then managed to lose the castle. found some sheep instead. sheep are not very good at giving directions. "maaa baaa baaa"

when i did finally locate the castle, the sun came out. Sudeley Castle is where Katherine Parr is buried. she was the 6th wife of Henry VIII, and outlived him (unlike 4 of his other wives. i think Anne of Cleves outlived him too) the castle is gorgeous and the grounds are impeccable. there are peacocks wandering about. peacocks, for all that they look lovely do not sound lovely. they sound like disgruntled cows. there were also lots of modern sculptures everywhere, including a giant pink fork that i crashed into and a mirror maze. the chapel where Katherine Parr is buried is freezing but ornate and old and makes one feel quite small. everything in England is either over 400 years old or less that 0.4 seconds old.

once i'd tramped around the castle, i decided to do a walk around Winchcombe and the castle. i had directions! in a book! sadly, i'm an idiot and decided that i would do that walk backwards because it ends at the castle and thats where i was. english bushwalks are not like australian bushwalks. there are no paths. i quote from page 75 of 50 Walks in Gloucstershire "Cross the field to an overgrown stile. Cross another field to a gate. Continue through the following field, go half right to another (possibly overgrown) stile. Go halfway along hedge to find well concealed gap."

the rain was pretty fierce. the grass came up to my armpits (Ryan says that it only comes up to his knees. Ryan is a smartarse.) i don't know what a stile really looks like. i was soaked. and lost. and possibly close to being drowned, either by grass or water. or both. it was pretty pathetic. wind howling, nothing but fields and one maddie who started to wonder what would happen if she never came back from the walk. things couldn't have gotten worse.

and then the thunder started. the lightening hit the field next to me and i flung myself down. there was mud and grass seeds in my bra. "bring it on, god" i thought "why didn't i bring my copper armour?". i stayed there for ten, fifteen minutes, a storm right on top of my head. the pages of my guidebook were soaked and i had no idea where i was. all i knew was that i missed the reliability of Sydney weather. and that there was grass seeds and mud everywhere.

eventually the thunderstorm stopped. but the rain carried on. i picked myself up and tottered along, full of new understanding as to the British peoples love to talk about the weather. my mind has a tendency to let my feet take control of the hard stuff (walking) and drift off to sunnier pastures (pun intended). this is perhaps why what happened next did indeed happen. all i really know is that i came to a plank laid across a river that i had to cross. so i crossed it. but when i went to step off, i misjudged the step because i slipped and flew off the plank.

and landed on a sheep.

a very disgruntled surprised wet sheep. a sheep that went "baa!" which i presume is sheep for "what the fuck!" before scampering off. dazed and pissed off, i sat in the rain for a bit, trying to process what had happened. surely the sheep would have heard me coming? what the fuck was a sheep doing in a field anyway? .....right. sheep don't live in homes. ergh. i smelt like sheep. i picked myself up (again) and staggered off. people do this for fun, yknow. every weekend.

people are mad.

the sun came out again. eventually. didn't really help dry me out that much. i was soaked. a human sponge. queen of the drips. there were momentary fears that the bus driver would not let me on the bus. i could have wrung myself out and the water salvaged could have been used to refill the murray darling basin. human prune.

the bus driver did let me on. when the bus finally turned up. i stood at the bus stop for half an hour. it rained twice. the pub opposite was closed. (that was painful) but by four thirty i was back in Cheltenham. Ryan opened the door and said

"hello! i've been in A&E all day! burnt myself! tea? how are you, bit wet?"
"i met a sheep. no milk, thanks"
"sheep's milk isn't that great really."

Ryan had managed to burn his arm and eye with boiling water. he got to sit in A&E for three hours before they told him he was fine. as he was telling me this, Sue (his mum) asked why my face was all pink. "are you sunburnt?" they asked incredulously.

sunburnt. in the piddling twenty minutes of sun that i had been graced with today, i had managed to get sunburnt. only me.

all in all though, it was a pretty nice day. hysterical moments aside (oh my god, i'm going to be electrocuted and drowned) i had fun. i think today i learned not to freak out, but to laugh and keep plodding. the views are pretty nice, and managing to do a 4 mile (6.4km) walk all on your own is a pretty impressive achievement. even if it does take you longer than a normal person with direction. it's such a pretty area, so quintessentially english. it's also currently a very wet area and due to stay that way until next week. so it looks like cycling might be out, but i'm sure i can get some more walking done.


Thursday, July 3, 2008


"I leave you alone for five minutes. Five minutes. And you get attacked by a duck?" 

Drew is halfway up a tree. We're by The Long Water, and Drew is halfway up a tree, looking terrified of a duck that is about a fifth of his size. I'm hot and sweaty and hungry and I haven't seen Drew for nearly six months but apparently he hasn't matured at all. "Learn to pick on someone your own size." I tell him as the duck wanders off, muttering to itself indignantly. I really don't want to know. I'm already annoyed with him ("Can you meet me at Oxford Circus instead of Embankment?") and I'm hungry, which is a recipe for disaster. And we've walked from Oxford Street M&S to The Long Water, which is a Long Way. And we've still got a little way to go.  
Drew's been in South Africa for six months, and nipped up to London for the past three weeks. We didn't think we'd get to see each other, but when I ran back to the UK (a little wounded, but nothing serious) the first thing I did was email him. The first thing he did upon getting my email was ring me and tell me that "The problem with Europe is it's full of Europeans." 

We make our way towards The Albert Memorial. Talking about everything and nothing the way that people who haven't seen in each other in a long time do. Nothing too important, suffice to say that while we both love the new Sigur Ros album, we still find "( )" and "Takk" to be better albums. We've both read "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell". We both need to buy new jeans. By the time we're at Albert, you'd think six months hadn't passed. 

Despite having seen it every day for the past three days, I don't think I'll ever stop being impressed by the Albert Memorial. It's this massive testament to love and eternity and all that. We sit on the steps and eat dinner from M&S and keep talking. People are pouring into the Albert Hall opposite. Tourists are taking photos. There are no ducks to terrorize Drew. It's pretty perfect. 

"So why Oxford Circus instead of Embankment?"
"Too nice a day to be in a cafe." 
"Still sanctimonious."

People have stopped rushing into Albert Hall when it happens. A man dressed in black walks past us. Trademark sunglasses and everything and I know instantly who it is. Lou Reed. Our grip on each other tightens to stop ourselves from launching our bodies at him with declarations of love similar to Victoria's for Albert. We smile at him (attempting casual, arriving at manic) and Lou Reed walks past us. Once he's out of earshot, I ask Drew if he'd known that was going to happen. "No. I thought we'd just hang around and see if we could hear Berlin being performed." Freeloading. Typical. Makes me think of sneaking into that Blues and Roots gig at the Gaelic. Makes me think of turning up to Film Club meets at uni even though we weren't members but wanted to see Modern Times and Hard Day's Night even though we owned them. Makes me think of Lou fucking Reed. 

We walk back through the park singing "Perfect Day" and "Waiting For The Man". I get tackled by a stupid dog. Drew tries his best not to anger any more ducks. Sometimes home isn't a place. Sometimes home is people. 


I've spent the past three nights at Hazel's mum's place (Hazel had three 16yearold girls staying with her.) Sarah is 94 and lives on her own. We watched the Eurocup Final together (Spain won and ok, I'm fickle. Germany isn't as goodlooking a team as Spain) and she put me on the train to Camden Market (better than Portobello. Less tourists.) and the bus from her place goes straight to Albert Hall, where it's only a short walk to one of my new favourite places in the whole wide world, the Natural History Musuem. I've been there twice now. It's awesome because it's free and there are DINOSAURS. T-REX's. STEGOSAURS. IGUANADONS. DIPLODOCI and so on. And one very excited Maddie. Because dinosaurs have always fascinated me for unknown reasons. It's probably something to do with the size. As well as Dinosaurs there's a pretty awesome exhibit about the Earth (rocks are interesting) as well as lots of stuffed things. Birds and Mammoths. And maybe, just maybe, I got a bit excited about the fact that I was standing where they filmed Spooks.

I've also been to the Science Museum which was full of schoolkids and Americans. And one Maddie giggling over the anti masturbation device. And feeling smug when everyone else was going "who was Frances Galton?" at the eugenics display because sometimes books your dad makes you read make you a bit more knowledgeable about the world around you. 

And I've been hanging out with Drew a bit - on Monday we had our Lou Reed brush and the Duck Incident (I still don't want to know.) and on Tuesday we went to Leicester Square to see "In Bruges" which was the best Colin Farrell movie I have ever seen. It's a very dark comedy (sort of like Snatch or Lock Stock) about two hitmen who end up in Bruges, Brussels. Having just come back from that part of the world I appreciated it more than the people sitting next to us, who we had to ask to be quiet twice. But it was very funny and wicked and you should go and see it as soon as possible. 

Last night Hazel took Rhiannon (one of the girls staying with her who's stayed on a little longer) and myself to sushi in Hampstead. The tables were sunk into the floor and jellybean shaped. Sushi is awesome and fresh and fantastic. Hazel reminded me that I forgot to mention that the reason my hair is all neat and tidy (when I bother to do it properly) is because her birthday present to me was a haircut. She'll think I'm groveling, but I really do want to mention how wonderful it is to have her - she's an encyclopedia of UK and Europe knowledge. It's made things a lot easier. 

And that brings us to this morning. It's grey and chilly. I feel like curling back up in bed. I have to find somewhere to stay in Hever. Or Canterbury. And I'm hungry. So bed will have to wait. At some point I'll upload photos from Luxembourg.