They both obligingly arrived within an hour of each other, with plenty of time to meet up with C. at Leon, a new, award-winning pub/restaurant in the City. Although the volume of conversation was deafening, the charcuterie wasn't bad, the meatballs were decent, the fresh juice was lovely, and, best of all, the rainbow salad was something wonderful. I've had whole spectrum-type salads at restaurants before, and most seem labored and remarkably underflavored given their quantity of ingredients. This one didn't. It was more than a sum of its many parts.
Then the four of us headed off to a Haunted London walk, in honor of the time of year. There were thirty or so of us on the tour, but the tour guide valiantly took the time to chat with most of us in between telling us stories of murders, suicides, and hauntings. The tour wasn't frightening, but the storytelling was good. Also, it was an excellent chance to see the City navigated through its narrows, the tight and winding alleys which link together the better-travelled and wider roads. My favorite part of the tour was seeing some of the more subtle architectural details in the area, carved into the sides and pinnacles of buildings: gargoyles, demons, mice.
We wrapped up the evening with quite good pizza and Batman Begins. The movie was slightly tedious on its second viewing too. Yes, I know, lots of people swear by this movie. I think overhyping killed my interest in it.
lazyknight and I pried ourselves out of bed on Saturday for the promised Ikea trip while the other two slept in. I haven't been in a car in London in years! Short taxi rides around the center, certainly, but nothing long enough to orient myself in broad swathes of the city. The Edmonton Ikea was spacious, with plenty of parking on a Saturday morning and plenty of staff to help us whenever we needed it. Nevertheless - it being Ikea - it still took us a fair amount of time to run through my fairly brief shopping list, find everything, and pay. Mission creep wasn't too bad: the only item I bought which C. and I had not previously discussed needing was Lingonberry cordial. I was extremely impressed with the cashier who declined to honor my credit card without supervisorial approval. She's the first person to notice how much my signature has evolved since I signed the back of the card. More cashiers should be as dilligent!
It was early afternoon by the time we returned and unloaded the carefully-packed car. There wouldn't have been room for any more people to have come with and still fit in the furniture, so it's just as well they had a leisurely morning. Then we were off again, for further adventures in deepest Surrey, at the Royal Horticultural Gardens at Wisley, were a harvest festival was in full swing this weekend. But I'll tell you about that in greater detail in another post.
After a day of seeing enormous apples and vegetable gardens, it seemed entirely appropriate to go see the Wallace and Gromit movie, again for everyone but C. So off we went to Guilford, where C. and I - to our great pride - remembered how to get to the movie theater complex without signposts or directions. (We lived in the general area about six years ago.) The early showings were sold out, so we had dinner at a place whose food was as inexpensive as Ikea's - Wetherspoons - before going back to watch clay bunnies bounding about. Still so much fun.
Lastly, lazyknight dropped us off at the train station and we all headed home, tired from a long day.
One last note: I ran into someone I've met at the BSFA meetings while at the Harvest Festival. This is only the second time I've run into someone I know while around and about in greater London. Each time it happens, the city seems a little less large, a little more accessible.