Day 2 London

Camilla’s school was on its last day of term so Camilla had written cards and bought wine for her teachers. I enjoyed meeting some of the girls, who clearly thought I was Camillas boyfriend, as well as having a sneak around the school for photos. Apparently not sneaky enough as Lucy’s mum told me on Friday that when she’d said they were looking after Edward the headmistress said, ‘oh yes the tall chap’ We imagined they  had probably been wondering was I Lucy or Camilla’s boyfriend.

The school was certainly nice. Not grand in an impractically large wooden door and red brick public school way, but just full of nice touches that can only happen with that little extra bit of money. The most obvious thing I noticed when I walked in was the fact that the entire school was carpeted. Not only classrooms, but the corridors too! Camilla and Lucy clearly didn’t think this odd at all, but I shudder to think what would happen to any carpets in the corridors of Methody, or any other school I’ve been in really. The other thing I noticed was how narrow the corridors were, just over one person wide. Explained of course by the complete lack of traffic. The classrooms were small, they seated about 12 in the smallest I saw and 15 in the biggest. I was however in the sixth form corridor, junior classes must have been larger, though I didn’t see many large classrooms anywhere elsewhere that I looked. There was some genuinely beautiful outdoors bits, including a lacrosse pitch. It seems that far from the vast, modern glass faced beasts I imagined independent schools to be, the school was more like a collection of houses converted for school use, cosy and intimate would be a better description. Where the school did have new facilities though, the extra finance was more obvious to see. Not so much that they had facilities unaffordable to a state school, but just facilities that no-one would think of placing in a state school. The ballet studio being the most obvious example.

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Anyway, now that I’d finished skulking around the school and Camilla had finished delivering the booze to staff members, we headed into London. My first museum of the summer was to be the British Museum. I barely noticed the hundreds of millennia old busts I was so busy staring at the so moderne roof. Having spotted a seagull seated on top of a pane of glass, I exclaimed to Camilla,

“That’s so impressive that seagulls can just sit on a pane of glass so high up and not be unnerved by there being no ground under their feet!”
“Well, they’re probably used to it, since they’re birds…”

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I had just about enough classical greek left to translate (ok, who’s kidding, transliterate) a few bits of the Greek. Having a little knowledge of some of the myths helped too (ruining Camilla’s Disneyified versions of Hercules and the Little Mermaid forever). Thankfully a FB friend of mine, Yannis, could fill me in on the details afterwards.

“About Hercules (Ἡρακλῆς): It was Hera who drove him mad, because he was the son of Zeus with another woman – and that was not the first time Zeus cheated. Hera had also tried to kill him as a baby, with two snakes, which Hercules throttled easily.
During his madness he killed his wife, Megara, daughter of the king of Thebes, along with his children. His later “labours” were his redemption for this slaughter, when he recovered his sanity.
About the 192 soldiers: You are referring to the 192 Athenians who died at the Battle of Marathon (490 BC), fighting against the Persians. They were buried in a tomb (τύμβος), covered my sand, resulting in an artificial hill. The total number of the Athenians was about 10,000, and number of Persian forces must have been more than 30,000. The casualties of Persians exceeded the 6,000. The Olympic Marathon is also related to this battle.”

After having ‘much lols’ at the naked men on some pots we left the British Museum and headed back to Stanmore by tube. Camilla had a school concert that night so I was going there and also meeting up with Lucy there. Going to Methody clearly gives people a very high standard for school music, but even so the concert was very good. Despite being an all girls school, they seem to have focused on brass. Their band played The Great Escape as well as Disney’s Lion King (which Lucy and I could sing all the words to of course!) and their lady choir sang Lift Up Thine Eyes, which I again sang all the words to, though not quite so well. The three of us returned to Lucy’s house where we had a good catchup, including some rather hilarious stories of an ‘IB Girls’ holiday in Spain. It was the third night I’d slept on a real mattress instead of an air bed, but waow it takes some time for the novelty to wear off.