Cold and windy but blue sky and sunshine from early morning so it was homeward bound with a detour to the East Lothian coast. We walked a short section of the John Muir Trail between Musselburgh and Prestonpans. We have walked this section to Aberlady a couple of years ago and really need to complete the rest of the trail. Flora enjoyed sniffing around on the beach and meeting other dogs. I did some sea glass hunting and could have wandered along the sand and shingle all day. However we did need to head home and so it was off southbound via a few B roads and then down the A7 to the motorway. The M6 was unusually quiet for a Sunday afternoon so a much easier journey than Friday evening. Now trying to warm up a cold house.
Only a few yards from home came the diversion: a traffic cone three vehicles ahead of us and a loose cable flapping in the wind. I did not wait to find out what was going and turned round to approach the motorway via a different route. The M6 was busy and wet but the forecast of snow above 250 metres was a bit unreliable. Above that on Shap was only sleet but by the time we got to Beattock, snow was falling. At least the traffic was thinning out. One serious accident southbound but no problems northbound. After Biggar, the A702 was like a winter wonderland – several minor accidents and numerous people struggling to drive and a little snow and slush on the road. No accidents serious to require our assistance and eventually we reached our destination. James was not happy to stop and allow photography so here is one from 2010 on the same road.
Another sunny morning so we strode across Hyde Park among all the dog walkers and joggers to Knightsbridge. Destination: the Natural History Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. Well worth a visit and a potent reminder of the time and effort needed to get really great shots. Post-production fiddling appears to be allowed (unlike anything submitted to the National Geographic). Inspiring and also a challenge as I hope to improve my photography when I have a bit more time. The museum was extremely busy when we had finished viewing so we escaped to a nearby cafe. The Harrods map room is no longer and the map seller the extremely helpful member of staff found for me in Beauchamp Place is closed on Sunday so the bank balance is safe. James was getting agitated as the Scotland-Ireland rugby kick-off approached so having wandered back towards the RSM I suggested we might find a pub to watch it in and so we were ensconced in the Cock & Lion in Wigmore St to see Scotland defeated. James was happy and I had to get in touch with the 1/16 of me that is Irish. Later it was back to Euston and an uneventful train journey home.
Woke today to sunshine and a blue sky. However, the minute I stepped out onto the street the wind made me wish I had not bothered to do anything to my hair. As the shoppers had not really got into stride (most stores don’t open until 10) we had a quiet amble down Regent Street and Haymarket and on down to the river. Over the bridge I had hoped to scour the supposedly daily Southbank book fair previously visited on a Saturday when it was quite extensive and a weekday when there was only one vendor. Unfortunately there was no sign of anyone under Waterloo Bridge. So it was back over the bridge and on up to Covent Garden. Everyone was up and about by now and there were various street performers in full swing. After a coffee stop we browsed the craft market and the Jubilee Market and noted several things that would make good presents for various people. After that we wandered around, stopping by Stanfords and Foyles where we had some lunch. I spotted an interesting book on forest gardening but as it was quite a large tome, decided to postpone buying it as I didn’t fancy lugging it back on the train. The languages department at Foyles is now much more extensive than when I visited it 30 years ago looking for a Zulu phrasebook before going on my elective. Shopped out by mid afternoon we were back at the RSM for rest and the papers. This evening we had a lovely leisurely dinner with Charles Burch in Islington to round off an only too rare day when the only thing we had to do was turn up at a restaurant