Lost in London Again

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Day’s Verse:
Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things,
And consider the lovingkindnesses of the Lord.

Psalm 107:43
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I dreamed last night that I had to go visit somebody here in London. I took the bus to SW South Street then realized I needed to get off at NW South Street. I kept riding the bus and trying to find the street. At first I had no map, but then one appeared and I kept scanning it, finding my place and then losing it in relation to my destination. A fitting dream for nearly the end of my time in London, although distressingly realistic on the lostness level. Continue Reading >>

A Cesspool in the River of the Internet

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Day’s Verse:
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting.

Psalm 106:48
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Sometimes I think the wider internet, the one they say changes all the time, has passed by my sphere. Things change in that sphere once every month, or every two weeks if somebody feels ambitious; checking anything on a daily basis, even my email, really only excercises me in futility. At least those muscles remain fit and ready to spring into action at any time, day or night.

I learned today that the average home here costs £2.4 million, but the Sainsbury family purchased the most expensive one for £15 million. The sixth-richest man in England, one Lord Cadogan, owns about 100 acres hereabouts. Presumably that contributes to his wealth a bit. Mozart, at the age of 8, wrote his first symphony here in Chelsea. Oscar Wilde lived here with his wife and children before being convicted of sodomy and serving a sentence of two years hard labor. Margaret Thatcher lived near here, and at least two other Prime Ministers have as well. Queen Elizabeth I lived in a manor house, since demolished, near the Thames here in Chelsea. Chelsea buns, apparently a popular confection, were sold from the 1600s to the 1800s in one store here. John Singer Sargent painted an actress in his home in Chelsea; I saw that painting at the Tate yesterday. Saxons settled this area in the 8th Century AD after the Romans left. Hans Sloane, for whom many streets and other things are named hereabouts, kept a fantastic collection of ephemera (30,000 medals and pendants, for example) that helped start the British Museum when he died. The oldest building in the area is just across Kings Road from IES and was built in the 1500s, serving as the first nursery for mentally disabled children. The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in the 1600s and provided the original cotton seeds for much of the early cotton farming in the US: good for sanitation (people changed cotton underwear more often than the earlier wool underwear) but bad for Africans. The Royal Hospital Chelsea serves as a retirement home for 350 British Army pensioners, thus far all male. It is not for sick people, only old people who served for at least 20 years in the Army. Julia Roberts owned a house here. The Royal Army Museum has the original bloody gloves of a surgeon who cut off a famous man’s leg during the Napoleonic War. It also sports what they claim is the skeleton of Napoleon’s horse. Continue Reading >>

Crêpeing Around

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Day’s Verse:
Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.

Psalm 105:1
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The night after the murder I dreamed that flies filled my room. I dreamed that they covered the bunk above me, swarming blackly, flying everywhere. I dreamed that fly eggs the size of jellybeans covered the floor and hatched out gigantic vindictive flies. I woke up convinced I needed to switch rooms or hordes of flies would repay me for my sins.

Thankfully I survived the night without additional any insect issues. For breakfast I decided to attempt creativity — desperation being the mother thereof, and I desperately need to use up 1.5 kilos of flour and an enormous container of baking powder. Clearly, it sounds like time for Creative Crepes, which are like regular crepes only you leave out anything resembling a measuring cup and estimate all volumes. I did know that 2 cups = 1 pint, and our kitchen came equipped with a pint glass, so that helpful hint allowed fairly accurate estimation. For tablespoons I used a large spoon, while teaspoons I measured with a tiny spoon. I mixed the wet ingredients gingerly, having underestimated the sheer volume of 2 cups of milk; when I added the wet to dry ingredients, they simply did not blend properly. My vigorous forking improved the situation only a little, so eventually I gave up and simply hoped for the best. …Which, incredibly, happened. The crepes cooked fairly normally despite their lack of vanilla (who would buy vanilla on a trip?) and tasted good enough I ate three of them. An incredible success! Continue Reading >>

Ethna Herron, Irish Relative Extraordinare

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Day’s Verse:
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:11-12
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I met a couple of my far-distant Irish relatives yesterday: a lady named Ethna Herron and her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson.

To meet Ethna, I took the first District line train at South Kensington Station. It was a silent-running one, unfortunately, with no announcements about the train’s ultimate destination or its next stop. For three stations I hopped off the train and looked at the platform to figure out where the train was headed; then at Earl’s Court a wonderful announcer told us all that it would terminate at Ealing Broadway, precisely the direction I wanted to go. So I stayed on that train to Hammersmith, where I alighted (I’m Nancy Drew at heart. I just wish every book I got a new convertible.) to find an enormous, bustling station. It also served as a bus depot, which helped because I had to catch a bus, which Ethna had told me over the phone was the 914 heading toward Richmond, to her house. Turns out she meant the 419, but I figured that out easily enough: this bus station included a listing of each bus’s stops. Unfortunately the bus didn’t come for half an hour, a significant wait in terms of London transportation. As time passed the crowd around bus stop B increased, massing in size until I started hoping it was a double-decker bus. Continue Reading >>

Frying-Pan Squished Bananas

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Day’s Verse:
Of old You founded the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
Even they will perish, but You endure.

Psalm 102:25-26
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When I got up yesterday somebody had put the frying pan away right on top of my bananas. Edge down, too, so it just cut right into them. Then when I moved the frying pan, somebody put a pot away right on top of those same poor bananas! So I ate the worst-squished ones, figuring that they’d really never be fresher (thanks, Mom!). It’s a hard life as fruit, I’ll tell ya. Continue Reading >>

Fabio Carrera!! And an MQP Meeting

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Day’s Verse:
I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me.

Psalm 101:3
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On Wednesday, my sponsors, MQP advisor, and I met. That day I spent nervous, wondering if I should prepare more than simply printing all the products out and organizing them neatly in folders. Eventually I calmed down and worked until 5:45, when my anxiety roared back: John Trimbur, my MQP advisor who visited London for two weeks, planned to meet us at Commonside at 6:00. I paced and waited and sat in the green across from the office, trying to read but really waiting for the 152 bus because Trimbur intended to catch that to us. Logical, since only two buss routes really service this area. Continue Reading >>