The following day, after getting a decent sleep under a duvet, we went back into London to visit some exhibitions. My partner wasn’t too bothered about them so she bought a good book to read.
We hopped on the train and as spaces were limited, we sat with an Australian who was planning his route to get to the Goodwood festival of speed. Sensing his confusion over the tube map, we chipped in and affirmed that he had read it correctly. My brother was wearing his Red Bull Racing top and so naturally we all struck up a conversation about Formula One.
The Australian owned an F1 memorabilia shop in Melbourne and had recently handed it over to his sons to manage. In turn, he decided that the only way to watch the 2017 F1 season was to follow it around the world. As the season opener is normally in Melbourne, he didn’t have far to travel for the first race, but he was now in Europe after coming over from the Canadian grand prix in Montreal.
“I can’t wait for Silverstone in a few weeks” he exclaimed. “I’ve been to most of them so far, apart from Baku, who wants to go to Azerbaijan eh?” and chuckled to himself.
He told us a bit more about his shop and how he had moved to Melbourne from Adelaide in 1997.
“Was that to follow the Grand Prix?” I asked, half joking.
“It was!” he replied. “I went out there and liked the place so I bought a house. The wife came over for a bit but she didn’t like it, so she stayed in Adelaide with the kids.” I got the feeling that they were both content with this arrangement and as a result were still happily married to this day!
When we arrived at Marylebone station we said our goodbyes and wished him well on his F1 journey. We continued our journey onto the O2 arena (formerly the Millennium Dome) to check out the Star Wars Identities exhibition. I’d never been to the Millennium Dome before and was quite excited to see it. It’s a fair size, but unfortunately due to all the high rise buildings they’ve thrown up around it, it looked dwarfed and out of place. Maybe I should have visited it fifteen years ago when it was all alone and didn’t have anything else to compete with. It is a magnificent structure but it feels as if it has had its architectural limelight and it is now destined to become lost in the skyline of high rise towers that London is building so many of at the minute.
The box office to buy tickets for the exhibit was hidden to the left of the entrance with all but one of the shutters closed and no-one in the vicinity. Because of this, I missed it and didn’t realise until after I had gone through the security checks. I left the arena, bought some tickets and joined the entrance queue again.
The Star Wars exhibition was fun, complete with all the costumes, models and concept art from the films. You were given a wristband so you could create your own Star Wars identity as you made your way round, and at the end you were shown a picture of what you would look like in the Star Wars universe based your choices. I think it was really for the kids, but some of the hard-core Star Wars fans seemed to like it.
After this, we took the Emirates Skyline across the River Thames and made our way to the Southbank to visit Nathan Sawaya’s ‘Art of the Brick’. For those of you who are not familiar with his work, Nathan is an artist and all of his creations are made from LEGO bricks. His exhibitions are brilliant and you should check them out. The theme for his exhibition this year was DC comics and so all of his pieces were based around Batman, Superman and the other super heroes that make up the Justice League. I won’t spoil what’s in the exhibition, but if you like your comic book heroes, you will probably like this too – it was fantastic. I could have spent all day in there and I think if I’m London again before the exhibit finishes, I’m going to go again!
Unfortunately, we ran out of time and didn’t manage to visit the Pink Floyd exhibition – ‘Their Mortal Remains’. For the rest of the day, we met a friend who had been celebrating Canada Day (a 150th celebration this year) and ventured to Wahaca for some Mexican food. I highly recommend it and it rounded off yet another good day in London.