Yesterday? Dull. Today? TOTAL WIN.
Apart from a slow start (Ben ordered some new tyres for the Capri, so I had to wait in to receive them), I was set to have a day of fun. My friend Sarah was coming to town! This is never a bad thing.
So, tyres were set to arrive any time between 8am-6pm (TYPICAL), but I decided to phone them up and try to get an ETA. They said between 12-1pm. They came at just after 11am 🙂
Checking out Sarah’s location, I found her waiting at Starbucks in Waterloo with Angharad (of Edible Glitter fame). We had a brief chat (and gave Sarah a chance to finish her tea), Angharad gave me incense and tea from India, and then we set off to find lunch (it was 12:30 at this point – high time for sustenance).
We umed and ahed for a while, then, inspired by my recent guest post, we decided we’d try out Belgo’s lunch menu, at their Covent Garden branch. With the aid of Google Maps (I love my phone!) we walked up their from Leicester Square tube station.
We headed inside, but it was surprisingly busy for a weekday lunch! After a while, we were guided downstairs to the underground restaurant, and seated at our table. The rumours we true: the waiters are Trapiste Monks (ok, not real ones, but still: mighty cool). I didn’t get a photo of it, but they also had a CAGE OF BEER. You have to see it to believe it.
We chose “light” lunches from their express lunch menu (one main meal plus Cristal beer/house wine/soft drink, £7.95 a head). Angharad was taking it easy with a goat’s cheese salad and a water, Sarah went for the beef carbonnade and a coke, and I chose the spit roast chicken with chilli and ginger sauce, and I had a Cristal (they wouldn’t let me substitute it for a kriek, and I even offered to pay more!!).
We made a valiant effort – Angharad was pleasantly surprised by her salad (that goat’s cheese looks delicious), Sarah used her beef carbonnade as a dipping sauce for chips, and I ate nearly all of my chicken. Oh, and I stole a crayon from a child for St Mary Crayon.
Next, we gathered ourselves and headed towards the Royal College of Surgeons. Deciding it wasn’t far to walk, I consulted my trusty phone-map again, and guided us in that general direction… Unfortunately, as we’re set for an entire weekend of rain, we did get rather wet.
Eventually, we did find ourselves at the RCS. Entering in the rather austere and beautiful main door, I tried my best to look like I was meant to be there, and asked at the front desk for the Hunterian Museum. The nice fellow handed us three visitors’ badges and directed us through the gate.
Well, there he is! John Hunter: collector of anatomical freaks. Recently, the Hunterian was featured on Channel 4’s series “Genius of Britain“, and Lord Professor Robert Winston specifically drew our attention to the 7’7” “Irish Giant” skeleton, which Hunter bought £130.
But this is not all there is the the museum. In a relatively small space, the Hunterian is crammed full of general guides to anatomy (the Evelyn tables were our favourites), anatomical anomalies (such as the Irish Giant), remains ravaged by diseases (bones pocked and worn by syphilis, a skull swollen by hydrocephalus) and plenty of things in formaldehyde. There was also a huge collection of surgical tools (old and new) and videos of various surgeries (some which I was engrossed by, some which I was grossed out by).
Unfortunately, no photography allowed beyond this point (in accordance with the Human Tissues Act), but you know what you could do? You could go there yourself.
The Hunterian Museum is located on the first floor of the RCS (entrance via Lincoln’s Inn Fields). The nearest tube stations are Holborn and Chancery Lane. They are open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm. They do a guided tour every Wednesday at 1pm. And what’s more: it’s completely free!