The minor setback was the result of my discovery of a few more of the withdrawn bank notes I brought with me from Australia. So this morning I visited the bank that had changed 3 identical notes on Wednesday. Today, however, the branch's policy is that it can't change withdrawn notes and I need to change them at the Post Office. Following instruction to find the nearest post office I ventured into a different bank - who gave me the same post office story. Eventually I found a Post Office, cleverly disguised as a Smith's bookshop, waited for it to open, presented my notes, to be told that the only place I could change them was the Bank of England. At this point I cut my losses and headed to the British Museum (getting, I admit, mildly lost on the way). To finish the saga of the bank notes, the Bank of England website says I can mail the notes to them - so I am now in email communication with the Bank of England.
In the end I reverted to the familiar. I headed to the Rosetta Stone and paid homage from behind the four-deep crowd, then wandered the Egyptian reliefs.
and I was fascinated by this series which depicted a local monk's idea of stories of Jesus's childhood - events that MIGHT have happened.
I had some lunch and observed the extraordinary crowds - supplemented by those driven from the parks by rain. I have talked and written about globalisation - but this week has driven home to me the reality of mobility and global culture for large numbers of people - especially, but by no means only, Europeans. The museum today was mediating between cultures and contributing to a global, life-long curriculum. The Museum belongs to the world - if possession is any guide. The extent to which this is a good or bad thing - or whether it is any different to Medieval pilgrimages is too big a question for this blog.
I finished my day with the Sutton Hoo treasures, the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and Vandals. I still find them beautiful and awesome.
The depiction of a hare caught my eye - reminded me of the crewel work rabbit I have just finished embroidering!
I didn't, in the end, visit the Australian Indigenous a exhibit. In the foyer was an installation constructed by families visiting the museum after seeing the Indigenous Australian Exhibit. They were asked to use who they had learned from the exhibition to draw their favourite object from the museum - using a colour based on the form of transport they used to reach the Museum. I found this really exciting - a way of intellectually grasping some of the significance of the art and culture.
As a child, my father truanted from school and spent much of his time in the British Museum. I couldn't help but wonder how that child would see it today - and how the Museum would see that child.
Tomorrow I leave Bloomsbury for Hampton Court and different sorts of adventures.