Now, just a note about pictures in general when it comes to me: I *hate* having my image captured by film. Looking at snapshots with me in them is just...wrong. It's not that I think they steal my soul or anything, it's just...yikes. Bleh. Get that thing out of here. You know what I mean?
I used what was left of my first day to travel to Jurys Inn just outside of Central London and wander the streets of Croydon. Even though it seems I wasn't in the thick of things in this "commuter area," I was across the street from a huge mall which contained a Marks and Spencer. I adore M&S, mostly because they have a food hall that's ideal for stocking a picnic. So I snatched up some apples and "flapjacks" (treat bars that are basically held together by oats, sugar, and lots of butter), toodled around High Street with its shops and pubs, then crashed in bed. Sleeping on the airplane is always a bitch, and I'm no match for the demanding god of slumber.
Jet lag allowed me to arise at 4:15 am, which was perfect, seeing as I had to start the day out early. I was scheduled to meet Claire from London Walks because I had arranged a private tour that would focus on some significant research for Vampire Babylon. So, in the dark, I strolled to the train station--which was only five minutes away from Jurys Inn--then caught a ride to Victoria Station in Central London. (As I noted in a previous entry, staying outside the deep city is really cost-effective. You get so much more room and comfort for the money, IMHO, and it's very easy to travel where you need to go.)
Claire--a classy woman who educated me about some fun Brit sayings that I'm totally using in the upcoming books--drove me to Bath, where I had two appointments with "public schools" which I won't name. What's confusing is that in England, a "public" school is what we think of as "private" here in the States. A "state" school is their "public" school, so I had to get used to the terminology right quick.
Bath in itself is beautiful--I'd been there before--but I won't be using it for a setting. I needed a spot closer to London itself, but as you'll see in an upcoming post, that's taken care of. However, I'll be using a lot about these schools I visited. Here are some pix:
Note the gargoyle detailing. How's that for atmosphere?
The dining hall--dim, ominous. Nice.
Suitably cloudy and gloomy--and check out this architecture. Also, this particular school has quite a history. An eccentric millionaire who gained his fortune "on the back of slaves," donated his land for this school. You don't think I'll be using a riff on that for this location's background?
I'll be back in a couple of days with more photos. In the meantime, have a Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating it!