I got on the Caledonian Sleeper train at Edinburgh Waverley at 11.20pm or so, briefly letting D on board to scout around, as he’d never been in a sleeper before. My roommate was an older woman, who spoke courteously but who I probably offended by my late reading habits – I was engrossed in NW, and also queasy from the juddering motion of the train.
After a fitful sleep, I arrived in London at 6:43, but we were permitted to stay an extra hour getting ready. Very welcome, because by 7:30ish, the rain had stopped and London was gleaming under a slowly lighting sky
I shambled to the Eustons station toilets to brush my teeth and survey the damage (nothing moisturiser and spray-on dry shampoo wouldn’t fix) and changed into my day clothes, which as it turned out were too warm. Autumn hadn’t really caught up to London: the trees were still very leafy and green, and it got up to 16c in the sun.
I had the morning to myself, and while I bought a day ticket for the subway, it was so pleasant that I decided to walk from the station down to the London Review Bookshop (closed because it was only 9 o’clock, but lovely looking from the outside) and from there down to a cafe on the Strand I’d heard had a good line in gluten free breakfast things. Leon was a cheerful place to eat a cup of poached egg and melted gruyere (I know! But it was delicious) and sip tea and read more of NW, pacing myself for more wandering.
I walked down to Embankment, by the Thames, heading towards the Tate gallery, moving slowly through the light, listening to the playlist D had made up for me to listen to (I think I might make a separate post linking it, later).
While ambling along, I suddenly came across…well, I’m saving that for Part Two. If you’re a Londoner, you already know, and you’re laughing my grasp on the geography of London. If you’ve not memorised every bit of that big sprawling city of Empire, I’ll just post a clue here, as I’m exhausted now.
The big reveal and more later, from what I saw at the Tate to getting lost in Camden and the real meat of why I went to London in the first place.
But all that when the world stops swaying as if I’m still on that sleeper, thundering through the night.