When the working day is done, Oh nerds, They wanna have fu-un…
Okay so today I finally got to give my political side a little bit of a release as the first half of my day was dedicated to visiting the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. For some of who may know that I have a little bit of an interest in World War 2, Politics and specifically World War War 2 politics this was quite the treat. I had read/studied quite a bit about this era but my knowledge of Winston Churchill, such an influential figure in the war, was somewhat embarrassingly lacking. That is no longer the case.
Now before I go through my highlights/lowlights of the place it may be necessary to explain who Winston Churchill actually was. Ol’ Winnie was the main wartime prime minister of the UK throughout most of World War 2. He is commonly defined by his cigar, but for me he was always defined by his somewhat vicious tongue…this is even more the case after today. A good example of a Churchill quote is:
- At an elegant dinner party, Lady Astor once leaned across the table to remark, “If you were my husband, Winston, I’d poison your coffee.”
- “And if you were my wife, I’d drink it,” came Churchill’s unhesitating retort.
Churchill actually shares a lot in common with my “main man” John Curtin – as both were heavy drinkers, great war time prime ministers, suffered physically from the demands of their jobs and quite flawed individuals who achieved great successes. While I’m on Curtin I should point out that my calender has reminded me that I forget to celebrate John Curtin’s birthday on the 8th of January. Now I could, rather belatedly, go and grab a whisky and a soap box and preach about socialism on a street corner in honour of ‘Curt-dawg’ or I could delay all celebration until the 18th (I love this calender) and celebrate on Paul Keating’s Birthday. Now in the spirit of the acid-tongued Churchil, a talent he shared with Keating…that sounds like a plan to me haha
Now back to the Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms themselves. The museum was only opened a few years ago so was all shiny with a lot of impressive technological exhibits (lots of tv screens, coloured lights and the like). There was a raft of information (of all stages of his life – it was broken into 5 different chronological chapters) and some rather interesting items that you could see and I thought it was well worth visiting. The two main flaws I found were that the design was a little bit too “cool” and there was no real logical way of following a path around all the exhibits without having to backtrack, etc so as not to leap around time periods (this could’ve been designed better). Also, in the 3 times the Australian Prime Minister was mentioned it was always a picture or reference to Menzies…even though Curtin was a war time PM for a much more significant period. My man needed more of a shout out!
As much as I enjoyed the museum, the war rooms themselves I found a lot more interesting. It reminded me of when we visited the Old Parliament House in Canberra and my excitement to be able to go into THE rooms where the important decisions were made. Of course a little bit of my excitement was dulled by the fact that it wasn’t necessarily “my country” but I was still very pleased to have gone (and by the fact it was so well restored/set up). I did find it quite funny that engineering studies have found that this “underground bunker” that was designed to allow the cabinet to function during the war without fear of being bombed…wasn’t actually bombproof as they thought it was haha
I then went across to Westminster Abbey as I could easily fit in another “site” before heading back home for the day. Now I will start this by saying that as most people know, I am not that religious. Any spiritual thoughts I have are somewhat counteracted by my views on organised religion. Now I won’t really start discussing my thoughts on religion in full, but what I found interesting is that Westminster Abbey was beautiful and I definitely enjoyed going there and playing tourist. The scale of the building was just amazing…both in age and size (I am seriously contemplating having a tomb erected when I die :P). You are talking about a place where the youngest aspects are older than Australia (Okay that is an exaggeration, but not by much!). I also didn’t feel that guilty enjoying the sites as a non-believer, as I thought I may have…especially when I found out that Charles Darwin (the target of such christian hatred, particularly in the USA, for his theory of evolution) is buried there. To be honest, I lol’d
Now I should probably end this, rather boringly long post, here but I have one last anecdote to tell about my day. Have you ever accidentally stalked someone? Well I think I may have. You know the situation when you are just sitting on a bus and you find someone who you think may be a little attractive. You stare a little absent minded and then realise that they have noticed. In shock you quickly turn away and hope that you don’t happen to cross paths again. Well that happened to me on my first day here, but not only did we get off the bus at the same stop as well…but guess who i have caught the bus with almost everyday since? (Even though I catch the bus at irregular times depending on my plans for that particular day) Who do I happen to always have sit near me so I am either looking at them or looking like I am deliberately NOT looking at them?! Now had I had the guts to speak up on the first day I might’ve realised this person is my soul mate and this is fate (in a complete Gwyneth Paltrow/Sliding Doors lame kinda way) trying to tell me that. But personally I think its now gone to long…too much accidental stalking to overcome for me to say just one short word haha
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