The first weekend of February we went to London to visit the exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library. The decition of going was made in January, and we booked the trip before checking if there were aviable tickets. When checking the website it turned out it was all sold out. Needless to say, we were disappointed, but decided that a weekend in London would be nice even without visiting the exhibition.
We arrived in London Friday night, and stayed at a hotel near the British Library called Pullman St Pancras, that I got a really good deal on. When we got there, we got upgraded to a DeLuxe room, which was really good. The view from the room was great, and at the end of the hall on our floor, we could see The British Library. The location was great, and the room brilliant!
Saturday morning we met up with a friend of mine for breakfast. I had been given the suggestion of a place called Vx, which is a shop that prouds itself to be a vegan junk food shop. It was a really small place, but they had a good selection of food and cakes. I went for the Marinara Meatballs Sub, and it was really very good! I also had a chocolate doughnut for dessert.
After breakfast we headed to the Bristish Library to tey our luck. Going to London for the exhibition and not asking if there were any free tickets would be silly, we thought. And we were in luck! There were tickets, and we could enter the exhibition pretty much straight away.
It was a fantastic exhibition! There were rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, as well as original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay, and objects from The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall.
On Sunday we went to have breakfast at one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants in London: mildreds Kings Cross. On weekends they serve brunch in the mornings, and we went for the scrambled tofu, slow roasted tomato, oak smoked house beans, roasted mushroom, sausage and toasted sourdough. Now, that’s what I call a breakfast! Or brunch, if you prefer… It was a perfect way to start the Sunday.
After breakfast we went back to Vx, to end our weekend in London with cake! This time I had a piece of the Unicorn cake. It was delicious, but very sweet, so I didn’t manage to eat the whole thing. However, I would love to go back and try more items from their menu at some point. Anyhow, a great way to end a great weekend!
It has been a while since I attended the bookcrossing convention in Oxford. Having arrived on Wednesday, and the convention starting friday afternoon, I had time to go down to the city centre of Oxford before the convention actually started, to have a look around, as well as having lunch at the Eagle and Child.
The Eagle and Child was the pub the Inklings used to meet up, so of course I had to make a stop here. Though the ale was excellent, I didn’t care much for the sandwhich. It had some sort of raising like chutney and cheese, and I really didn’t like the chutney…
The convention took place Friday 10 – 12 April, and St Hilda’s College was the venue. This was also where several of us were staying, and even though the accomondation was pretty spartan, it was cheap and worked fine. If there was one thing I wasn’t too happy about, it was the Internet access – having two devices needing Internet, the system used didn’t handle this at all, which was quite frustrating.
The convention’s registration opened at 16:30 on Friday 10 April, and after receiving the goodiebag and out name tag, there was plenty of time before we headed to the buffet meal, which was pretty much afternoon tea. Very English! Being a vegetarian, the fruits were my favourites…
After having stuffed ourselves with food, we headed to the Jacquline Du Pre music building, where MissMarkey welcomed us all to the convention: It was now officially open!
At the convention there was a huge book buffet. I added some books myself, and had planned on not bringing many books home. Now, that didn’t ho as planned. I found out I was able to bring an extra suitcase on my flight home, without extra costs, so I ended up buying an extra suitcase, so that I could bring more books home. As if I needed more books…
I had a rather slow morning on Saturday, and headed down to the city centre again. This was when I bought the extra suitcase, as well as having tea and reading my book. I even stopped by the library. It would have felt wrong to visit Oxford and not stopping buy the city library.
After lunch one of the (for me) convention’s high lights took plave: Morris Men were dancing on the lawn at St Hilda’s. It was so much fun! The audience even got to participate at the end, and I was among the lucky ones who got to dance along. I loved it, and was sad to see it end so quickly…
After sitting (and dancing) in the sun, we headed inside to listen to Ann Granger speak. I must admit I haven’t read any of her books, but it was quite nice to listen to anyhow. And when she was done, they drew the raffle prizes, and then the next year’s Athen’s Convention was presented. The last scheduled event before we all headed out for a meal (I had Indian – yum) was the bid for the 2017 convention, and Oslo won! I’m very excited about a bookcrossing convention in my own country!
Even though Sunday was the last convention day, I left the college when we had to check out, and headed off. I had had a lovely time, but was tired after being social for such a long time (EasterCon + BC con = 10 days of socialising!)
For the ones of us who arrived early to the bookcrossing convention in Oxford this year, they had arranged a Cotswold Coach Tour. The tour was simply wonderful, and the organizer MissMarkey had done an excellent job putting it together. Often on coach tours there’s not enough time to really look around at the stops, but this time we had plenty of time each stop, and we didn’t even have to stress when we had our lunch stop.
We set out from St Hilda’s college in Oxford in the morning, and after managing to get everyone on the coach, we headed for our first stop, Burford. Burford was a lovely small and cute town. I stopped by the library first, which was really small, but considering the size it was really good. I even had a chat with the librarian, and got some information on the building, fundings and such. There was also a fun book/hat shop in Burford. It’s the only combined hat and book shop I’ve been in, and it was called The Madhatter Bookshop.
Our next stop was the small village Little Rissington, where you can find one of England’s telephone box libraries. Here you could pick up a book, or leave one. I neither brought any book or took any.
When we got to Bourton-on-the-Water, it was lunch time. I decided on doing this town on my own, and fist I did a bit of walking around. I found a nice pub called Kingsbridge, where I had a veggie burger. After lunch there was still time to walk around, before heading back to the coach.
At Snowshill Manor and Garden we got to see the collection of Charles Wade. He had bought a house for all the odd bits he collected through his life. While his collection had its own house, he himself lived in a small cottage. The gardens were quite large too, and since it was such a beautiful sunny day, it was a nice stop, and I ended it with coffee and cake at the tea room.
Our very last stop of the tour before heading back to Oxford was The Rollright Stones. The stones are megalithic monuments from the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. There were several bookcrossing books released, but yet again, I didn’t release any.
We got back to Oxford just before 20, and it had been a great tour!
I signed up for this year’s EasterCon at last year’s EasterCon, and was very excited to go. Dysprosium was held at ParkInn by Raddison at Heathrow, so getting there would be the easiest convention for me to get to, with a lot of flights to choose from.
This year’s guests of honour were Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Herr Döktor, and Caroline Mullan. The only guest of honour I had heard of was Seanan McGuire, simply because she was also a guest of honour at last year’s EuroCon in Dublin. To me, it’s not the guests of honour that are the important thing, though, but the fact that EasterCon gather a lot of fans from pretty much all over Europe. That’s pretty fun, in my opinion.
There were a lot of interesting panels and talks this year, but one can’t go to them all. I chose to attend a handfull, as well as being a lot more social than I have been previous years. All good. The panels I attended were all good, even though I had to leave The Unseen London panel halfway through, as I had a splitting headache, and needed painkillers, water and a nap. I siply couldn’t focus, and was sad not to being able to listen to such an interesting topic.
I find it hard to pick a favourite panel or talk this year. I really enjoyed the Guest of Honour interview with Herr Dötor. I am incredible fascinated by how he’s able to make the cool art. He had some pieces exhibited at the art show, and they were magnificent.
Other than a lot of geeky stuff, there were lots of geeky people. This being my third EasterCon meant I knew more people this time around than two years ago, when I attended my first EasterCon, and Twitter helps too. I have probably been more social over the EasterCon week end than I have been in years. All good, though. There were great chats. Great company. And I had in general an excellent time.
The British National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art have the summer of 2014 been working together to bring Books About Town to London. 2 july to 15 September you can find 50 unique BookBench sculptures all over London, but at the end of summer, they will all be auctioned to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust’s work to raise literacy levels in the UK.
They have made four different trails, so that you can go book bench hunting. On the webpage you can find maps and descriptions, that you can download for free.
When I visited London in August, one of my goals were to go book hunting. Schedule wise, I found out the best trail for me were the Bloomsbury Trail, as it wasn’t very far from the British Library, where I had been spending the morning at a comic book exhibition.
I pretty much stumbled over the first bench, Jeeves and Wooster, inside the Brunswich Centre where I had gone to have some lunch and visit Skoob Books. Right smack in the middle of the centre, it was easy to find, and I thought it was a good start to my hunt.
The Blooomsbury trail has 12 benches, but I only found 8 of them. That being said, I must admit I didn’t put a lot of work in finding the other four. I was a tad bit tired, and I mainly did it for fun, so I was quite pleased with what I found.
It was fun to look for these beatiful book benches, which book lover can’t find it so? It was also nice to run into other book bench hunters (I even had a chat by the Pride and Prejudice bench with a lady from kent). It’s a bit sad they’ll only be around for 10 more days, and that I will not be able to do another hunt next time I’m in London.
If you do visit London before 15 September, and you think books are awesome, I’ll highly recommend to hunt down some book benches yourself! And, of course, I would love to hear about other people’s book bench hunting stories! Do you have one?
I had decided to take an earlyish flight, so that I had some of the day free to use, and not end up just travelling. After having our plane delayed, and then having to wait for our lugage for ages, I finally got on the underground from Heathrow and headed to Paddington where my hotel is.
I was staying at the easyHotel Paddington, which for being one of the easyHotels, isn’t too bad. OK, so I had to drag my suitcase up four floors (no lift), as I was given a room at the top floor, but at least it was nice and quiet, as the window isn’t facing a street. Except for the fact that I could hear even the tinyest whisper outside my door, which didn’t go quite the whole way down…
I managed to get some errands done, before I found a book shop called Daunt Books. It was such a nice book shop, I think it deserve its own entry, which will come at some other point.
The day was rounded off with having dinner with lovely people at the Real Greek in Paddington street. The food was amazing, and we all shared the meze. Most of the food was actually vegetarian, and I think my favourite must have been the hummus. The falafels were great too. Yum, yum! However, it turned out the be the most expensive meal I’ve ever had in London, I think. Almost 400 NOK! And they say Norway is expensive… Fortunately, you can get cheaper meals in London, and I managed to get meals closer to my budget the other days.
After some hours spent with lovely people, I headed back to the hotel, and spent a bit of time reading, before I was so tired I fell asleep.
Tuesday, 12 August
I woke up earlier than I had planned, so I actually managed to do a bit of walking around in Paddington before I headed for my lunch “date” in Covent Garden. I had luch with a girl I met at the bookcrossing convetion in Gothenburg last year, and it was fun to see her again. After lunch we headed for Forbidden Planet, that I always have to visit when i’m in london, and also walked around Soho and down Charing Cross road with all the book shops.
I did more walking on my own after we had said goodbye. It’s actually quite good to just walk around and look at things. I then felt tired, and went back to the Paddington are, where I visited the floating book shop Word on Water. Walking along the canal is actually something I’ve never done before, and it was really nice. Those narrow canal boats you see really are something else, and I picked up there’s a whole community around them. It was lovely.
After all the walking during the day, I felt tired, and found a pub with comfy chairs, and ordered some food and a pint of dry cider (not the sweet stuff you get in Scandinavia). It was so nice just to relax and not really do anything. So nice I decided on taking a quite night in my hotel room with sweets and reading, before I was so tired I wanted to sleep.
Wednesday. 13 August
This day turned out to be another day with a lot of walking. My first goal was the British Library, for the Comics Unmasked exhibition (which was really good, a blog post will come later). On my there I stopped to look at some Asus pads, and started talking to a guy who turned out to be Scottish (no Scottish accent to be traced…) Most definately a geek, so we didn’t talk much about the product he was showing off, but more about science fiction tv series, compter games and other geeky things. It was a nice chat.
After my visit to the British Library (which also included the compulsory “drool over Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë manuscripts”), I visited Skoob Books, a book shop dedicated to second hand books. That shop also deserves its own entry.
I was the ready for book bench hunting. Of course, the book bench hunt will have its own blog post as well. White I was doing that, I ran into a lady by the Pride and Prejudice bench who also did book bench hunting. I managed to have a nice chat with her too! Quite lovely.
It’s probably needless to tell you my feet hurt so much from all the walking, I decided to have dinner after that, and didn’t really do anything for the rest of the day. It was quite late anyway.
Thursday, 14 August 2014
This was my last proper day in England for this time. It was also the day where I took a day trip to Norwich to meet up with my friend P. Getting from the hotel to Liverpool Street railway station went surprisingly smoothly (no changing of trains was nice). And the train trip was good to.
P. picked me up at the station in Norwich, and we headed for his place, where I got to see his cat again. It was nice and relaxing, and good to see my firend again. The hours just flew, and I then had to go back to the station and take the train back to London.
I stopped by a place called Le Gourmet Brasserie to have my evening meal. The place itself didn’t look like much, and I was told I couldn’t have the falafel as a meal (not sure about what the reason was), so I got to have falafel and feta cheese in a wrap instead, and to be honest with you, I’m glad I did. It was so yummy! I wouldn’t brag about the service or the place, but the food was both very tasty and very cheap, so I guess you can’t expect more?
Then it was time to head back to the hotel, pack my stuff, and get to bed…
I love England. Since I finally live a place with direct flights to London, I decided I wanted to spend my spring break there. I left Norway 2 April, and entered the door to my home the night that led to 7 April.
I visited London, but also had a day trip to Norwich to meet up with a friend of mine.