Saturday, May 10, 2014

London: Day 4

AToday was another gloomy, London day, at least at first. Since it was Saturday, there was only one place to be: Portobell Road.
Every Saturday, Portobello Road has a huge antique fair set up that I can honestly tell you is the most overwhelming thing in the world. There are so many stalls and nooks, galleries stuffed into the oldest of buildings so that walking is dangerous. Add to that the fragilest of antiques and the huge crowds, and you have a very stressful situation. This is another reason why me living in London is not a good idea: I would be broke in about a month. I'd end up having to live in one of the Portobello stalls with all the antiques. 
The crowds are insane. I went bright and early, but it was still packed and it got exponentially worse throughout the morning. Even with the roads blocked so that cars couldn't pass, there was barely any room. 
 I didn't take many pictures of the fair, mainly because most of the stall owners don't like their antiques phtographed. But I can tell you I spend quite a bit of money on some lovely items that i'm going to have to pack very carefully for my trip to Inverness and back home. 
After a quick lunch of fish and chips (which was delicious) I headed back to the hotel to drop off everything I'd bought and headed to...The Sherlock Holmes Museum.
I originally had the museum scheduled for this coming Monday but I wanted to see it and I had the time. 
If you have read my blog before, I have metioned my love of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson numerous times, and I can tell you I've been dying to see this museum for years. I know there's nothing real in there and that it's all staged, but for someone who has lived in the pages of those stories since I was nine years old, it still means a great deal.
So to Baker Street I went. 
There was a long, long, long line of people waiting to go in because they only allow ten or so people at a time. The space is so narrow inside that there really isn't much room for more than that. 
That's the little shop next door to the museum where you can buy the tickets and all the souvenirs. 
I am going to go on a little rant now, so if you don't want to read it move along to the next picture. 
Here goes: people are incredibly rude. I thought it was mainly a Miami thing, or an American thing, but there were people from all over who came to the museum and behaved like the worst kind of tourist trash. Not only were they rude while waiting to go in, making all kinds of jokes about the museum and the character (which doesn't make sense to me. If you think Sherlock Holmes is so ridiculous, why go to a museum dedicated to him?) but they went inside and started playing with everything they could touch. They'd move things around and pick up every piece of furnishings, to the point that the two women who work there had to tell them to stop. Adults and teenagers were doing this. 
They sprawled themselves all over the sofas, so that it was almost impossible to get a good picture of the sitting room. Like I said, I know it's all staged, but having people behave like that took away from my experience of the place that I've wanted to see for such a long time. 
At least I've settled one thing: people are rude assholes everywhere.
Okay, now let's move on to the pictures.
This appeared to be Sherlock Holmes' bedrooom. It had a number of lit candles, as well as a lit fireplace.
The meticulous work on the rooms really puts your right inside one of the stories.
The famous hat.
With a closeup.
A chest of all kinds of tools. 
Then the sitting room, where all the main action in the stories takes places. It's exactly like I've always imagined it, with all the little details that make it feel authentic.
Where their meals would have taken place, right there in the sitting room. You can see some moron sitting there. 
And there I am! I didn't even realize I was in the picture until now. 
Another sitting room view as I waited for people to stop playing around with the violin and furniture. 
You can see the violin right there, and Holmes' chair.
The other chair, with Watson's hat next to Holmes'. Oh, and the Chinese slippers in which Holmes' used to hide his cigarettes in the stories right there on the mantlepiece.
The whole chemistry set.
I love that little reading and writing nook in the corner. 

And from the other side. 

It's a bit hard to see, but that's supposed to be Watson's bag. 
Lovely pipes.
Now upstairs for Watson's room.
There was no actual bed, but a lot of really great details and display cases wth knickknacks from the era,
Watson's faithful revolver. 
A gorgeous green fireplace.
And his desk, along with a great bust of Holmes.
That journal had diary entries, as if Watson had written everything down as it happened before turning them into his stories. 

Another picture of me, on Watson's shaving mirror!

It's a bit small, but it says Watson's name.
Then there was another room, which looked like Mrs. Hudson's room, and it had lots of great display cases with "memorabilia" from the different stories.
They were all labeled with the case's name.
You can see the effort necessary to put all of this recreation together. 

I thought it as awesome that they had a SInger sewing machine and a watering can. 
And even more strangely, a spinning wheel. I can't really see Mrs. Hudson using it, let alone Watson or Holmes. Although it's hilarous to picture it. 
A letter Holmes supposedly wrote to Watson.
And this very cool sign.
The next few rooms upstairs all had huge figures recreating some famous moments from the stories. There was Irene Adler and Moriarty. I didn't take picures of that because the rooms weren't as pretty as the rest. 

Then, at the very, very top, they had "the loo", which was never mentioned in the stories, of course, because it was the Victorian era and good God that would have been very vulgar, indeed. 
I made sure to sign the register and I also left Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson a little note on a board that was full of messages from visitors. 
I loved the museum. The only thing I would have wished was for less annoying people. But what can you do?

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