I eventually did leave the house after about 3:00 in the afternoon. I tried, in my sleepy-but-fairly-rested haze, to remember my friend’s directions to the Northfields tube station. Two rights, then a left, then a left. No problem.
So imagine my surprise when I turned up in front of South Ealing station instead. A check of my guidebook showed I’d actually walked up to the next one up on the Piccadilly line. No worries.
Next step was trying to trying to figure out what kind of ticket I should buy. Which meant getting change.
As I paced back and forth, I was trying to figure out (a) where I needed to go, and (b) who I should ask for change, and (c) who I should ask about tickets. I wasn’t sure what to do next. And the station kinda smelled like ass. I wasn’t sure why, so I tried to ignore it, since I figured I wasn’t going to be there very long.
As I was standing over at the map for the upteenth time, I noticed the floor was kinda slippery, ‘specially under my left foot. I couldn’t figure out why … until I looked down.
Someone’s dog had shat a bunch of fresh, reddish brown ones on the place where I’d been standing, and I managed to grind the mushy mess into the treads of my left loafer. Classy. I hobbled outside, sidestepped more poop to find some newsprint, something to wipe the mess off. It helped a tiny bit, but not that much.
So, trying to do my best impression of the British stiff upper lip, I ignored the dung, broke a twenty at the guys who (I guess) handle cab service, got some help from a really nice guy at the wicket, and managed to catch the tube to Leicester Square (sitting, with my right leg firmly crossed over my left the whole time).
I managed to get to the National Portrait Gallery (where I later washed my hands and tried to diminish the poop on my shoe before washing my hands again). Not bad, but I think I spent too much time trying to take in all the pictures from the Tudor and Elizabethan eras. Meh.
I couldn’t really see much else, since everything pretty much closes between 5:30 and 6 p.m., so I took a stroll down to Trafalgar Square and snapped a couple pictures of the fountain and the monstrous Nelson’s Column.
I walked past the Old Scotland Yard, went through Victoria Embankment Garden, and then decided to go home. (Which was interesting in itself, since I managed to get on the wrong line and changed trains probably 3 times before I got back to my friend’s place. I honestly don’t remember getting lost on the tube once when I was here the last time.)
I did manage to have a nice dinner at an Indian restaurant with my friend, with free Tia Maria shots to boot.
It ended well. But there’s always tomorrow.