Friday, 15 November 2013

Gala dinner amongst cars, cats and planes

The gala dinner was held in a museum housed in something like an aircraft hanger at the side of the river. Cars were the main feature and they surrounded us at dinner...

On the way in we came past elderly (but polished to within an inch of their lives) railway carriages and the like. Later exploration found a room full of old computers and a display of those old diving suits that make you wonder why divers didn't spend the whole time on their heads. If you look carefully at the following badly crafted photo you can see a whole plane with its wing out above the diners.

Boats too, with a walkway so you could wander on high and see the decks and equipment polished to a level probably not seen when they went to sea.

When I went to explore, it was after the dinner and no-one else was in this part of the vast space so I was on my own, but kept being startled to come across figures bent to tasks such as sorting fishing nets, which wouldn't have been so surprising if the boats had clearly not been destined to set sail. But the figures didn't move and turned out to be models, part of the display.

Wandering further afield took me to the edge of the river where boats bobbed about on the tide and where I got my only mozzie bite of the trip.

On the way back towards the dining room, taking a different route past more shiny old cars, I was aware of being followed. A marmalade cat stalked from car to car, leaping ahead and onto a blue bonnet. As I approached it leapt down again but came to say hello and sniffed my hand. I patted the car bonnet and it sprang up again, consenting to be stroked until I ran my hand along its back. Far too familiar a move for such a brief acquaintance. It fired talons and teeth, but I'm used to cats so it missed. I said, 'Yah,' and it dived back beneath the cars, following me as I made my way back.

I returned from my adventure to find I'd missed the bus. I wasn’t inclined to stay for the late bus with the who-needs-sleep revellers (how do they do it!) so got a taxi which found its way to the hotel no trouble at all, which reinforces the belief that when in foreign climes one should take care who to allow into taxis. Some people just jinx things. M, you know who you are! 

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