After eighteen long months I finally made it back to London. I love staying in the City, I tend to stay in the actual City of London, the Square Mile, heart of the financial centre of London and a very quiet section of the metropolis. It’s normally quiet at the best of times, low on tourists, low on residents but this time it was also low on workforce. So much of the City is still working from home and it was evident in all the closed and boarded up coffee shops and bistros. The knock-ons of this pandemic go on and on.
Anyway, I went to London to celebrate the launch of The Missing Codex and to keep my eyes open to new ideas for book four, you never know when something will jump out at you. I was also there to visit the Nero exhibition.
Was it worth it?
No. Honestly, I thought the exhibition was overpriced and underwhelming. Thank god I didn’t also have to put up with crowds. Sometimes special exhibitions are stunning, sometimes they are just blah. I thought this one was blah. Your standard statues and artefacts and a range of information boards. I don’t know, I just thought that for such a dramatic history we might have had a more dramatic presentation of the evidence.
What was worth it was a trip to the Mithraeum. This is an underground Roman temple, free to visit, located under the Blomberg building. It was first discovered after the Blitz and has since been preserved and moved twice. it now sits near to its original site and has been vary carefully preserved. There’s not a lot to see, just stone and brick foundations, but through the clever use of smoke and lights and sounds effects you can see the walls and columns and hear the chanting. Very smart. Upstairs there’s a fascinating finds board of all the artefacts found, and these are really cool. I loved the glass vials and the shoes. So human reaching down the millennia.
Museum of London and Postman’s Park
I also visited these for the first time. The museum is excellent and I played silly buggers dressing up in stuff as my husband wandered past telling me that’s how people got the plague. And as we had just passed the plague section I had a small shudder. This museum is much more interested in the lives of Londoners through the centuries and is a good way of understanding history. Especially interesting for a writer 😀
Just outside the museum in a small park in a corner, is a wall of tributes to heroic self sacrifice. It’s incredibly poignant and a reminder of how anyone is capable of being a hero. Also, that being a hero rarely ends well.
Bang up to date
As well as playing around in the past I visited some of London’s newest buildings and wine bars. (Research – honest) The view from the Sky Garden, the “walkie-talkie” building is amazing and is another attraction that is free to visit. Well worth it, and it is so stunning to look down on the city and just wonder at how bloody impressive it is.
So, did I get any inspiration for book four? Yes. But I’m not going to say what. As Song says, Spoilers!
For a full photo album follow this link.