Thursday Writing Prompt No. 106

London Underground Westminster station.
London Underground Westminster station.

I hope to get back to the London trip journal and get some more photos posted on the blog as well as get the Thursday Writing Prompts back on a regular schedule. Today, since I’m offering my photo from the Westminster Underground station, the writing prompt is going to be about travel.

Imagine that you have gotten on a subway. It could be the London Tube, the Washington Metro, or the Paris Metro or any other public transportation system in the world. In fact, do an Internet search and find one that you are not familiar with, from someplace you’ve never been before. Bring up a map of that city’s transportation system and pick one of the stops. Now imagine that you are on that train and you’ve just gotten off the train and are wandering about the station.

What do you do? Why are you there? Did you go there on purpose or did the train break down and you had to get off at a stop you weren’t familiar with? Now decide what your scenario is and write several paragraphs about the train station, making sure to work in some real-life details. Use your setting as the basis for a short story about travel.

Warped Ideas

An antique Weave-It pin loom weaving kit.
An antique Weave-It pin loom weaving kit.

I got an interesting email the other day — I won a prize! I’d signed up at Margaret Stump’s website, , a couple of months ago and my name was drawn as a winner for a loom giveaway. How fun! There are actually two pin looms in the kit, one is a 4-inch square and the other is a 2-inch square, so it should be easy to design projects around those sizes. I’m already thinking about the eight-bit computer art that might make a nice geeky scarf or runner for my coffee table. Can’t have enough space aliens in the house!

I also came across , a website that has some history as well as downloadable PDFs of pattern books that came out during the 1930s for projects using the pin looms. I gotta say, making a sweater from these squares is probably more than I want to get into; I can’t even make clothes from crochet and I’m fluent enough with crochet not to have to read directions every time I pick up a hook. On the other hand, each square is a finished project in itself, so the satisfaction of making something is there. I guess I could collect enough to eventually do a pillow cover, lap rug, or if I’m determined enough — an afghan.

I don’t do a lot of needlework but the past couple of years I’ve been getting back into crochet and doing some beginning weaving projects. My latest “thing” is crochet lace leaves and flowers because I can make a finished flower in an hour or less and feel like I’ve accomplished something for the day. Right now I’m working on several long-term writing projects so I think it makes me feel good to have something done each day, and I find that working on a variety of creative projects tends to be like cross-training for the mind. I’ve made one 2-inch square so far, but the ribbon yarn I experimented with is very loose. I’ll try some regular yarn next.

London, Day 2

We rode this vintage double-decker bus on our Viator tour of haunted London.
We rode this vintage double-decker bus on our Viator tour of haunted London.

The second day of our vacation we had breakfast with a friend and then spent the day walking about. We visited Trafalgar Square and wandered down near the Thames to the south bank until late afternoon.

We had a tour to get to so we made our way across town to Victoria Station. We had to walk quickly — the appointed hour was catching up fast and we had blocks to go, and we arrived at the station a little out of breath and starving. Our afternoon ice cream treat’s calories had long since been burned off, so we “dined” on potato chips and water while waiting for the tour to start.

At seven o’clock we boarded a vintage double-decker bus for our Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes Tour of Haunted London. We rode upstairs even though it was threatening to rain on us, and we did get a little wet but then the weather cleared up. The tour was interesting even though I knew some of the history, but actually seeing the places adds another dimension to the Jack the Ripper stories. Some of the old buildings are gone, but it’s still possible to get a good feel for the urban setting.

Last year I didn’t think I would be interested in this kind of a tour, but I’m glad we went. The bus ride was interesting in and of itself, but having someone point out landmarks was nice. The tour was mostly about the Ripper murders but our guide told us some other stories as well. Sherlock Holmes doesn’t really feature except that it’s the name of a pub where the tour comes to an end.

We were going to visit the pub but by the end of the evening we were exhausted and still feeling the effects of jet lag, so we headed back to the hotel to relax and get ready for Saturday’s outing.

London Vacation, Day 1

Detail in the gates to the British Library, in case you couldn't guess where this photo was taken.
Detail in the gates to the British Library, in case you couldn’t guess where this photo was taken.

Okay, so I haven’t exactly been on the ball with writing my travel journal. I’m not sure what’s up with that but I guess I just have too many other projects going to be able to sit down and just relax with the writing. We arrived in London on Thursday morning, August 28 and got to our hotel a bit before check-in, so we dropped off our bags and walked up to the British Library. Our hotel was a serviced apartment at Cartwright Gardens, which turned out to be a really good location because it was close to Euston Road and the train stations.

Neither of us slept very long on the plane and by the time we arrived at the British Library it was probably around 1:00 p.m. local time, which would be 6:00 p.m. in Washington. Essentially we’d be up since seven-ish the previous morning with a few half-hour naps and I would say we were running on adrenaline. A half hour into the library tour it hit us just how tired we were, but we managed to look at some exhibits anyway. The Magna Carta was not on display but we did see the Gutenberg Bible, some Leonardo da Vinci drawings, and a piece of fabric from a Zeppelin, among other items. I would love to go back and get a reader’s card and disappear into the stacks for a few weeks!

We got a few souvenirs from the library museum store (I’ve got a neat London skyline ruler and some books – yes – imagine that!) and headed back to the hotel to check in, then I showered, got dressed in fresh clothes, and we both promptly sprawled on the bed and slept for about three hours. I didn’t want to “waste” the time sleeping since I was in tourist mode, but I have to say the nap was really necessary. Once we’d recharged we felt pretty good and went out to dinner at a pub and did a bit of walking before turning in for the night. I think the nap fended off jet lag because the next day I felt pretty normal.