We had a lazy Christmas Sunday. We played some Ship of Fools together, and the final round of Wildermyth with Michelle and Michael. We also, of course, had calls with family. That, plus cleaning up the place took up the day. Steph got me some socks and warm leggings. I got so many kitty cuddles, with them both snuggling up to me when we were playing games. After vacuuming Lana hid and wouldn’t come back out until pretty late. I think she hears it and it reminds her of the plane. If I start in the bedrooms she goes to Steph and starts shaking.

We also started planning more of our time in London with a restaurant list/map and museum list/map

For Boxing Day we went on a bit of a walk and did a little shopping in Islington. Most things were still closed, so it was pretty empty everywhere. We walked along the canal to the tunnel under Islington, then went up into the greenway path until we hit the high street. We went to an outdoors store Steph wanted to visit and grabbed some nice socks and shoe cleaner. Our shoes had been destroyed by the snow and wet, including all the salt and grit that went with that. I took about 20 minutes to clean them up, which I’ll need to do every few weeks going forward most likely.

We played some more ship of fools, and got much further. I decided to go for a nice long walk along the canal past Camden. As I got to Camden the market there was very busy, and it took a bit to squeeze through the crowd. Just past Camden the canal walk was closed, and I hopped on the surface streets to get to Regent’s Park. I walked along just the close corner, but could see into the zoo from the path. The camels looked super fluffy and smaller than I would have expected. I took surface streets back, to make a loop of the walk instead of an out and back.

We watched some Netflix series on London and Florence to get ideas of more things to do, and got some very nice additions to our lists.

The next day was Boxing Day (Observed) for the London offices, so I took it easy while still getting work done. I just focussed on writing the year end reviews for myself and others. Steph and I also did another boxfit class at Frame, which was better than the previous ones and more intense. Afterwards we decided to drop by Nando’s, since it is a must eat place in London. The piri piri sauce was tasty, but La Vic’s orange sauce is better we think. The heat was too forward in the sauce, with the flavor taking a back seat. I stopped by the grocery stores looking for after Christmas deals and picked a few up. I got a Christmas Cake, which was surprisingly good, but very dense. I also grabbed some more plants to add to my growing collection.

The kitties have been really eating up the plants, but I don’t mind as they haven’t been puking like they would with the lemongrass. We decided the ribbon on the Christmas cake would look good on Archer, and it did. But he didn’t like wearing. He did like playing with it.

Many things seemed closed this week. I went to the office, but they weren’t serving food, and the kitchens had been cleared out. They didn’t even have coffee, with the machines turned off. I tried to go to the crypt gallery, but when I showed up 30 minutes after the listed opening time online, it was still closed. I grabbed a pasty nearby for lunch, and then headed home a little early to work from there and eat Steph’s delicious cooking.

Steph and I took a quick trip to the British Library, which is less than a ten minute walk from our place. We went through the permanent collection, which has a lot of amazing books and documents. They have a lot of old bibles, with the oldest from 350-400CE. They also had a few copies of different Magna Cartas. A number of other documents from famous authors, inventors, artists, and musicians were on display; all of which were people I just recognized on reading the name. Most documents weren’t possible to read, even if they were ostensibly in English.

We took a day to go around to some museums in Kensington: The Design Museum, Japan House, and Kensington Palace. Getting there was interesting, as you take the Circle Line to the Circle Line, since it isn’t actually a circle, but a loop with a tail.

The first stop was the Design Museum, and I got tickets to both the exhibits there. I’d also picked up the National Art Pass, which was entirely worth it. We went to the Surrealism exhibit first, and parts of it were interesting, while others we thought were just odd. I was amused by some of the language describing the process where “he let his body take over from his mind” really means “he didn’t plan anything and was probably on drugs.” The Dali art was the stand out part of the exhibit. The second exhibit was on ASMR, but was pretty completely ruined by screaming children and children running around with noise making toys. We did enjoy the small room about Bob Ross and how his Joy of Painting was unintentional ASMR with the sound of the brush and the soft spoken positive voice. They had three paintings there that corresponded to the episodes being shown, and I think they were original Bob Ross paintings from those episodes, but I had a hard time confirming that. I did get a little bit of ASMR from the studio where you can mess with the mic setup yourself. We also went upstairs to the Designer Maker User exhibit, which was interesting but had a strange layout.

We then headed to Japan House where they had an exhibit on Japanese carpentry methods. It was a great exhibit, with better design than the design museum in our opinions. They had some hands on parts and a great set of videos of woodworking that I found pretty entrancing. Steph also enjoyed all the cute and well designed things in the shop while sipping a macha latte.

We walked through Hyde park to lunch at Pizza Pilgrims, where we got the top bunk seat. The pizza was pretty good, but had a really soggy bottom crust so it had to be eaten with fork and knife.

We then stopped by Kensington Palace. They had two main exhibits, the first on the young princess Victoria, and the second on the King and Queen’s apartments. The rooms were gorgeous, and with the National Art Pass it was free to visit. If we are in Hyde Park again we could just stop in if they have space.

Before and after the Palace we stopped by the Round Pond and watched all the birds. There were an amazing number and assortment. There was a swan that always had it’s head low, a black swan, several types of geese, ducks, coots, gulls, and pigeons. At the tube station the Piccadilly line was stopped due to a signal issue, so we walked to the next station and hopped on a different line. I cooked some soup while Steph went for a massage when we got home.

For New Years Eve we decided to do an escape room in the morning with Nancy and Punit. We had a great time in the escape room and did really well. We only needed two clues and we breezed through all the puzzles. They did a really good job of this one, and it was harder, but we had a better idea of what to expect. Nancy and Punit did a great job of figuring out the puzzles they were on, and we escaped with 13:30 to spare. Afterwards we went to Dishoom, which was of course, delicious.

We had a day of some chores and planning after that until a cheers of prosecco at midnight.