We jumped on a bus to meet the group downtown at the National Portrait Gallery, my favorite museum in London. The bus was old-timey and sort of rickety, but fun to ride. I don't think I've seen another bus like this still in usage. It rattles along, huffing and stopping along Kensington Road, and a kind little Asian man comes and checks your oyster cards like a train conductor.
I loved the Portrait Gallery, because it's another reintroduction; you walk through the Tudor wing and remember the faces of these people you've been thinking about since you saw them last. Having spent the past two months immersed in Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, it's like going to a really dysfunctional and scheming family reunion. Here are the major players:
Thomas Cromwell, looking anxious and fiscal. He's the protagonist of the Mantel novels.
Henry VIII, hands on hips, making his demands, expecting that they're met.
Anne Boleyn, her lips pinched, her eyes worried, and always wearing that Boleyn family necklace.
Katherine of Aragon, bloated and righteous.
Alex joined us for dinner at the Stanhope Arms pub on Gloucester Road. We first tried the Hereford Arms, but that place was for fancy people and mostly about wine and people saying 'hooray' so we went to the Stanhope, which is all dark wood and cheap balloons and sticky tables and just our style. I had bangers and mash, and it's about time!
Miles and I stopped by Somerset House on our walk to the bus tonight. It was all lit up and the fountains were going. We ran through them like little kids.