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Ethel The Aardvark Goes Quantity Surveying

It was dark when we left the theatre, and traffic was busy. I consulted the map, and determined that we could walk to Holborn Tube station by following Shaftesbury Ave to High Holborn. On the way we found a nice restaurant that would serve us just dessert and coffee, because although it was dinner time, we were still fairly comfortably full from lunch. The coffee - it was Illy again - was fine.

We met up with our guide at the tube station, and to our disappointment, it seemed that the regular guide, Brian, was "doing something else" and we would have an alternate guide, a woman whose name eludes me, but whom I shall call "Ethel". She waited until 7:10 pm and people continued to show up and add themselves to the group. It got so big that we really had to move because we were collectively taking up too much of the footpath, and every few minutes a stream of commuters would storm up the steps of the tube station and expect to be able to make their way down the street.

Ethel started off down Kingsway, holding her London Walks pamphlet high in the air so that we didn't lose sight of her, turning left into Lincoln's Inn Fields. Here she stopped, and started talking about Charles Dickens. After a while it became clear that Ethel knew a great deal about Charles Dickens. She may or may not have known a lot of things about Bloomsbury authors as well, but we didn't get to hear much about them, unless it was whom was sleeping with whom, or who else was related to some other person. Charles Dickens aparently had the run of the place because if he once stopped to tie a shoelace on a particular street corner, then we heard all about it from Ethel.

The first pub we stopped at was, I think, the Rugby Tavern because it was all about the game and aparently was situated on land owned by the Rugby College or something like that. I don't remember the details. If you ever get the chance to go there, and you're male, then do mind the step in the Mens Loos because even though there is a sign that says, 'Mind the Step', it still took me by surprise.

Like most pubs during the evening, it was full of people and cigarette smoke, so L and I went outside to enjoy the fireworks that were going off a couple of blocks away. After a bit the whole group came out and Ethel tried to make another speech about something or another but the fireworks kept drowning her out. Most unfortunate.

There was some more walking, and some more listening to Ethel about Dickens, then another pub. At this point, L, M, and I decided to bail on the Old Bloomsbury walk because it was getting a bit tedious and we weren't really learning anything. And it was cold, and we didn't really enjoy pubs that much! So we navigated our way back to Holborn and caught a bus back to Victoria Railway station, then walked the rest of the way back to the Airport Hotel, and retired for the night.

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