14 July 2015 (Tuesday) - A Trip to London
For all that I probably look like an old man on his death bed when using the thing, my CPAP machine does help me sleep. After three nights without it (and three nights of very little sleep) I was out like a light last night.
I was up rather earlier than I might have been this morning. Last night I'd made geo-plans for my trip to London today, and I realised I might sneak in a cheeky Wherigo (it's a geo-thing) so I got up early and had a Wheri-download.
I set off to the station with plenty of time to catch the 6.20am train to London. Had the chap on the ticket office not been quite so disinterested I would have got that train. As it was I missed it with seconds to spare. The platform staff didn't actually laugh out loud. Neither did they actually say "tough luck baldy-fat-face" but their attitude made doing either unneccessary.
Consequently I got to London half an hour later than planned. I had intended to do a little geocaching around Trafalgar Square before making my way to where I was actually supposed to be today; but being late put the kibosh on that idea. Instead I walked up Tottenham Court Road to look for a geocache near a branch of McDonalds. The clue explained exactly where it was supposed to be; as I surrupticiously rummaged a tramp loudly announced "it aint there; I threw it away" and then demanded the price of a cup of tea from me. I told him if he'd put it back I'd stand him a full English breakfast. I walked away as he then started an argument with the voices in his head.
I then failed to find another cache supposedly near the Eisenhower centre, and decided geocaching was a silly hobby and (in a sulky mood) went off for the main business of the day.
I was In London for a course at the University of Westminster about the microscopic examination and identification of blood-bourne parasites. It's a subject about which I've never claimed to be expert. I can confidently recocgnise the presence or absence of the things, and I got a lot out of the day. I'm not sure others did. The girl sitting next to me in the practical session was grumbling that what she was seeing down the microscope was shaking. She was genuinely surprised when I pointed out that everyone's microscopes were shaking because she was rythmically bashing the bench in tune to the strange music in her head.
Another woman was employing a novel way to identify blood-bourne parasites. Rather than attempting to recognise salient features and elicidate a clinical history, she was making moral judgements. Apparently it stood to reason that God wouldn't allow humanitarian aid workers to contract malaria (!) and she got quite irate with the lecturer who dared to say it happened on a regular basis.
We finished shortly after 4pm; I then went on a little wander round London on my planned geo-mission. In complete contrast to my utter failure this morning I had a successful session in which I found caches of six different types; ending with a geo-meet at Picadilly Circus.
Some Belgian cachers had arranged a little meet-up; there was only a dozen of us there but it was quite the international affair. There were only three British cachers there. There were Belgian, German and even a Finnish lady. One German lady asked how far Ashford was from London as she'd heard there were lots of very good Wherigos there. Oh how smug I became.
By now I was beginning to wilt. I said my goodbyes to my new-found friends and came home to find a certain dog had fallen into the garden pond.
Oh - and the New Horizons space probe flew past the planet Pluto today.