Except that it was a coach, I went home on a coach.
Right. London with L. London was the V&A (an old favourite) to see the Golden Age of Couture exhibition. Hence my remark about velcro (the remark about ships was inspired by L's day-job, which is rather more exciting than mine. It could hardly be less exciting, after all). The V&A also features a handy café with glorious Victorian tiles, and a sculpture gallery full of statues of nude young men doing, well, whatever it was they were meant to be doing, once you've started seeing rudery in bronze and marble, it's very hard to stop. We both wanted to steal precisely the same dresses, the incredibly plain but perfectly cut ones. Which is why I am currently lusting after this dress, although I suspect in the flesh it would look a little cheap. It really needs to be made in wool, and have detachable collar and cuffs so they were always of the whitest. And I would prefer it to be grey, and all in all it really isn't quite the dress I have in mind.
We then proceeded via the Tube in a westerly direction to the Brompton Cemetery, where I had never been. I love large Victorian cemeteries (Bradford, where I spent a year, is ringed by them) so this, unlikely as it may seem, was a treat. 'Famous' graves we saw were John Wisden and Emmeline Pankhurst, which seemed appropriate. Especially given L's near-apoplexy later when she spotted on the front of a magazine "Feminism gets a makeover".
Then Foyles, which has been my favourite bookshop since as a intellectual teenager from the provinces (Surrey, technically, but I felt pretty provincial) I used to get lost in it on joyous Saturday afternoons. In those days one had to get a chit from the correct desk (scarcely ever the one next to the shelf the book had come from) in order to pay for books at the cash desks, and there was a decrepit escalator creaking between the floors. Coloured lines were supposed to show routes to the different sections upstairs, but I always ended up lost in the middle of Accountancy. The far corners of the upper floors were so untidy that one could never be quite sure that one hadn't wandered mistakenly into a stock-room, and none of the staff knew where anything was.
It's quite different now, but it is still the London bookshop most likely to stock a book I hadn't known existed but cannot leave without. on this occasion, I only bought Hilary Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety, which I have been fully intending to read for almost a decade. Given the size of my to-read piles (piles, not a pile), it may be another decade before I actually get to it, however. I also saw Jane Brocket's The Gentle Art of Domesticity, but didn't buy it, because every copy in stock had a torn cover. I may not be the world's most careful book owner, but I prefer all the damage to be inflicted after purchase, particularly if I am actually paying the recommended retail price.
Kaffe and Kuchen was had in Amato, and did not feature featherbeds of whipped cream. It wouldn't have gone with L's tea or my espresso (the best I've ever had in my very short career of espresso-drinking). Several hours on a coach later, I was home.