(Appologies if the layout is being weird. I’m doing this on my iPad and it’s not exactly going smoothly)
If you had asked me at 10 p.m. on May 11 if I thought I’d be sitting here in a hotel in Manchester typing this up, I would have said no way in hell. The reason for that would be because I was sitting in a Boeing 747 with 360-some odd highly irritated people because our plane had been towed back to gate some 4.5 hours earlier due initially to mechanical issues. Some two hours after our designated flight time, the mechanical issue had been fixed (but not before a lot of back and forth between the ground crew at SFO and the engineers in London, and a part that apparently had to be brought in to replace the broken part, and for all anyone knew, could have been flown from Seattle in the time it took for it to get to us). Then, as a cheer of relief erupted, there was another inexplicablly long amount of time where we continued not to move before the captain came back on the intercom and said we were being delayed because the food on our plane had sat on the plane for too long and had to be replaced before he would be legally allowed to take off. Except that didn’t happen for another THREE HOURS, because SFO has its head firmly up its ass and couldn’t apparently get any food to us, although it successfully got food OFF the plane.
By now we had spent aproximately 50% of our scheduled flight on the ground, unfed, and before anyone asks about alcohol, we weren’t allowed that either because apparently allowing people trapped on a plane for hours on end to have alcohol has gone badly in the past, so the TSA made a regulation about that as well. We did get water, though. And a breakfast sandwich which seemed to have been made in the Pleistocene, judging by its petrification. So, technically we did get fed, I suppose.
We finally took off at 12:30 a.m. on a flight that should have left at 6:45 p.m. the previous day. I am profoundly grateful to the Dramamine I took as we began taxiing down the runway, because I was able to sleep all but the last 2 hours of the flight. We landed in London with a sigh of relief that we were finally going to get off this plane and on with life!
There were issues with the jetty locking system so we were stuck another 45 minutes waiting to deplane. Once we were off, the ground agents handed us vouchers for any of the airport restaurants, while the people with transfers besieged them for rescheduled flights. Luckily, all I had to do was get myself to my hotel, which was easy enough to do jetlagged and semi-conscious. I felt grateful that I’ve navigated London so many times in a semi-conscious state that it was no real problem for me to get to my hotel. The only thing I was bummed about was that I had planned 24 hours in London to visit the V&A and hang out with some friends, and I wasn’t going to get to do any of that. The champagne my hotel comped me sort of lifted my spirits, but champers is great and all… It’s just not the V&A. 😛
Tuesday morning, I had a brief moment of genius about extending my stay in London one more night, but that was squashed when the hotel had no available rooms. So, I duly packed my stuff and went on with my plan to travel to Manchester, even more bummed because I had all this free time I could have been using for London and now, I was going to be twiddling my thumbs in Manchester.
Not to hate on Manchester, but… It’s actually kind of a depressing industrial town. Yes, yes, I know there’s culture and stuff, but it’s just not got the depth of London. I can burrow in London. Manchester feels, to me, like an American city with it’s mostly post-19th c. industrial revolution history. It’s an important part of history, but it’s not my fandom.
Manchester, however, has Platt Hall and that’s the whole reason to come here. If you’re a historical costumer, you should make your way here at some point in your lifetime. The collection is extensive, and unlike the V&A where you have to have the stars align for a viewing of their historical clothing collections (it’s never happened for me in 10 years of visiting and researching in the UK), the Gallery of Costume is very accomodating and open to contact.
So, anyway, that’s my first two days in the UK in a nutshell. Tomorrow’s post I’ll talk about my first of two sessions with the chemise gown (I’m writing this a day behind, so I’ve already got the first viewing under my belt and am digesting it).