Yay! You may have been wondering what happened to me during the last few days, but then again, you probably haven't ... anyway: I've returned from London on Thursday to a thunderstorm & lightning striken house where much of the electr(on)ic infrastructure was/is out of order after a massive electric storm has hit during my absence. Right now, I've managed to come back online on a makeshift connection to the web until the repair man comes around on Monday. It's just one of those occasions where you realise how dependent on those modern amenities you have become!
So I guess I should try & catch up with a bit of posting. The London trip was very satisfactory all around. The garden reception at the friends of ROSL Arts was very pleasant, & I made some new acquaintances, who might eventually introduce me to the Lansdowne Club which looks quite attractive because of its 25m indoors pool (in central London!) and a snooker table. We'll see. The subsequent meetings also went very well I think, and I am looking forward to their follow ups.
The trip found its most instructive conclusion in a 2.5 hours visit to the new Churchill Museum. Let me just give you one important piece of advice before I go into more detail: give it more time than I did! Fortunately, I have already seen the Cabinet War Rooms before, so I could dash right through to the actual Churchill Museum, but even so, I was rather pressed for time. The museum is very comprehensive and has a lot of multimedia exhibits & modern technology. That's all very well, but if you really want to extract their message, then each piece takes quite a bit of time. Some of the user interfaces take a bit of getting used to as well. The museum's underground location, while not very visually attractive, certainly fosters concentration on the exhibition. Throughout, the mood is a bit oppressive, though, and the museum definitely lacks the grandeur of some of the other places in town. Let's just put it that way: Thanks to its location, the museum designers would have had a really hard time to succumb to the temptation of giving in to the personality cult surrounding Churchill. So they created a very factual, informative museum that does probably not fully reflect Churchill's emotional weight in the public perception. If you're interested in Churchill and haven't seen the Cabinett war rooms, then you'll have to give the museum at least a full afternoon. That way, the fairly steep entrance fee of £10 is justified, but I'd say there should be separate tickets.