I thought a day trip to London would be a nice distraction for my teen who is mired deep in AS level revision. Her boyfriend came too, so as they went to explore the delights of Camden, I visited The National Portrait Gallery. I loved the pictures of Florence Nightingale, Mrs Pankhurst and the Brontes but deary me, the recently commissioned portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge was not at all impressive. Stark and hugely unflattering, it was the face of a tired, middle-aged women staring out, I bet she was secretly mortified.
The weather was kind, and I walked up to Bloomsbury for a nice lunch at Beas of Bloomsbury, then I went to Persephone Books on Lambs Conduit Street. This is such a beautiful shop, they publish books by largely forgotten or over-looked women authors and their covers are a distinctive grey. I treated myself to The Persephone Book of Short Stories and look forward to dipping in.
I met up with the teens in a busy Covent Garden and we walked back up to Bloomsbury to the British Museum. We had a good mooch around the Greek and Roman antiquities then we went around the Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition. This was simply brilliant, the exhibits were fascinating; carbonised bread complete with the baker's stamp, olive oil still in a glass bottle. The casts of those who died were very moving, caught forever in their death throes, as was the carbonised cradle whose tiny occupant perished.
For my daughter, who is a huge Harry Potter fan, the highlight of the day was a visit to King's Cross and Platform 9 3/4, we didn't catch the Hogwarts Express though, merely the Virgin Pendolino back home to Manchester and back to revision.