Even more London

Wednesday after MineCon we met up with Jules & Becca for a (slightly rainy) picnic in St. James’s Park. Then we wandered around the Mall a bit, passed by Buckingham Palace, and finished up the afternoon over on the South Bank.

Jules & Becca & Alex & Abi & Fiona & Buckington Palance

We split up early because of the tube strike. We walked over the (other) Golden Jubilee Bridge, and caught a very busy District Line train back to Barking before the whole system shut down.

In the evening, Alex, Fiona, and I walked to the Cineworld in Ilford to see Minions, which was fun.

More London

Tuesday after MineCon we wandered around London a bit on our own. We visited the Sherlock Holmes museum on Baker Street, which I found notable for a) being expensive (£50 for the four of us, for a tiny exhibit you breeze through in about half an hour) and b) unintentionally creepy wax figures. The house/museum seems to have two overlapping goals: it is furnished in late 1800s style, to give you an impression of what 221b Baker Street would have been like back then; and you are surrounded by waxwork characters posed in scenes from of Shelock Holmes’ adventures, to give you an impression of…being in the stories? I don’t know. It was a curious shrine, and it seemed to delight in blurring the lines between history and fiction.

Teenagers come with a built-in look of suspicious disdain

We had a late lunch at Pizza Express (is a gluten-free pizza better than no pizza at all? I’m starting to doubt), and wandered to Regent’s Park where we saw some black swans.

Alex and I went back to the hotel, while Abi and Fiona went bra shopping at M&S.


On Monday after MineCon we went to Greenwich and met up with Mum & Dad. We had a drink at the Costa just outside the DLR station, then visited the Cutty Sark. I didn’t know anything about the Cutty Sark before, but it’s a fabulous exhibit. The ship is beautifully restored, and presented with heaps of fascinating information. Afterwards we had a lunch of burgers sitting outside at the Gipsy Moth.

Cap’n Fiona

The Cutty Sark museum has an impressive exhibit of naval figureheads

We had bought a combination ticket for entry to the Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory, but it was late by the time we made it up the hill. We got there shortly after 16:00, and the place closed at 17:00. We had just enough time for a flying tour through Flamsteed House to see the Harrison clocks and be amazed by the difference between H3 and H4.

View with teenager

After a last-minute shopping spree at the gift shop (Fiona came away with a charming steampunk ring in the shape of a pair of goggles), we had ice cream at a nearby café and wandered back down through the gardens. We had cocktails and dinner on the roof terrace of Frankie & Benny’s overlooking the Thames.

Obligatory roof terrace skyline shot

Missing in action

Update (Monday, 14:30): I got a text message from Schiphol baggage services yesterday evening to say that they had located the bag, and that it would be delivered today. It has just arrived, with a Bucharest airport security sticker on it. All original contents are all present. So, yay!

There was a period of a few years about a decade ago when Abi and I couldn’t take an airplane trip without the airline losing at least one of our bags. We learned valuable lessons about cross-packing (RAID-0 for luggage), so that the loss of any one suitcase would not be asymmetrically disastrous; about always making sure to put a big address & contacts label (A4 paper + marker pen) inside the suitcase in case the luggage tag gets stripped in transit; and about never checking bags in the first damn place.

On our flight home from Dublin this afternoon, we violated all three rules. We’re now waiting to see if my suitcase reappears. After the luggage belt at Schiphol cleared, there was one black rolling suitcase remaining. It wasn’t mine, but it kinda looked like mine, so Schiphol Baggage Services’ operating assumption is that someone mistook it for their own, and that they will make contact once they discover their error. (It will be the only way for them to get their own bag back, after all.)

We didn’t pack any of our critical IT infrastructure items (laptops, iPads, phones) in the bag, but I was the designated carrier of non-essential-yet-heavy-and-not-actually-needed-on-the-flight-itself stuff. I’m curious to see how many of the following items get returned to us:

  • Four Apple magsafe laptop chargers
  • Four Apple iPad chargers
  • Half a dozen Apple lightning & 30-pin cables
  • Apple TV (+ charging & HDMI cables), with cached login credentials for various services
  • 3TB WD MyBook external hard drive with a copy of all our accumulated video media (hundreds of films and TV shows) (Only a copy. We may be lax with our luggage practices, but never with data integrity.)
  • Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200 digital camera, plus camera bag, memory cards, spare battery and charger.

Oh and my clothes and toiletries, too. Whatevs.