After eating we set off for a pub that is pretty famous amongst gamers; the loading bar. Various pinball machines lined the wall opposite the entrance, and there were other classic arcade games scattered around the room. On the wall facing the bar was a TV linked to a PlayStation 4, and there was another corner stacked high with various board games. Even the cocktails had game-themed names such as Skyrum. We had arranged to meet up some friends, primarily Jarred’s future best man for our wedding. We laughed and joked with each other, and I watched the others’ playing board games which I opted out of due to fatigue.
We decided to leave as the sky began to darken, catching a much cooler and quieter tube back to Green Park from Stratford. We changed onto the Piccadilly line to St Pancras, during which a woman entered the tube with a very friendly dog called Charles who licked my wheelchair while trying to lick my hand.
Once again I slept very well, and was only woken when the alarm rang. We got dressed and packed our bags, checking out of the hotel a little after 9 am, before returning to the British Museum to see the exhibits we had missed before. The morning was another bright one, but it was significantly cooler, and there was a distinctly Autumnal feel to the day.
When we arrived at the museum, we were directed along a route that surpassed the inaccessible wheelchair ramps, which they were working to replace. It was particularly reassuring to know that the museum staff had recognised the inadequacy of their disabled support, and were actively trying to improve it.
On the third floor of the British Museum, the mummies can be found. I was fascinated by the biochemical processes of mummification, and was particularly entranced by the ability of modern science to be able to determine the diseases suffered by some mummies simply by looking at their remains. As it turned out, the state of their teeth enabled the diet of the Ancient Egyptians to be understood too. I was also amused to find a prosthetic toe found on a mummy, proving that disability has been a problem for many millennia.
A few rooms further through housed the infamous Sutton Hoo helmet, one of only four of the delicate and probably ceremonial Anglo-Saxon helmets in existence, and then we came to the hall of clocks. We passed through the darkened room slowly, looking at the wide range of mechanisms used to track time throughout history, eventually arriving at a Sony digital alarm clock, the like of which I had owned as a child. As we exited the room we came to a lovely view point of the museum, and it struck 11 am; there was a cacophony of chiming behind us much like the opening scene of Back to the Future.
After exploring the Aztec and Enlightenment galleries on the main floor of the museum, we went to the old, slow lift to leave. Just as the lift arrived, a powered wheelchair pulled up alongside us. The man in it was exceedingly grateful when we pulled the manual wheelchair over as far as possible, giving him room to enter the lift besides us instead of waiting. I explained that I used a powered wheelchair myself most of the time, and knew just how frustrating it could be. He smiled and thanked us again as the lift arrived at the disabled entrance, and we made our separate ways across London.
We wandered through the streets of North London, making a small detour to buy lunch to be eaten on the train, and arrived at King’s Cross in time for our train. We approached the disabled support desk with our paperwork, and were invited into a quiet side room to wait for our porter. The quiet, calm room was extremely pleasant after the bustle of one of the busiest train stations in the UK, and was designed to help people who were anxious in crowds to unwind before the journey. The porter arrived as promised, and we were helped onto the train well before we were due to leave, and we relaxed into our seats. As we tucked into our lunches, the train began to roll slowly, and we were on the way back to Leeds. I fell asleep for a large portion of the journey, which was uneventful, and was very happy to see a porter standing outside our carriage as we pulled into the train station.