The last time I visited the Fitzwilliam Museum was the day after the Downing College May Ball in 1991. I believe I may have been a bit tired and hungover, having not gone to bed until about 8am. I don’t really remember what we saw; see previous sentence.

A few weeks ago Doron and/or Andrew suggested a visit. The three of us gathered at 11am yesterday for a few hours of kul-cha away from a damp and blowy morning and the fighting men and women of the second armoured Christmas Shopping battalion. Robert was invited but declined, since he’d spent six hours in the Louvre the previous Saturday and was all museumed out.

Barely a few steps inside the building and my backpack was confiscated for the duration. They were afraid that I’d get them some more publicity by turning round absent-mindedly and scattering precious things hither and yon.

We headed straight for Egypt, where we found the usual assortment of mummified kittens and crocodiles, huge ancient pots, impossibly delicate jewellery and hieroglyphs. Doron wondered what was written on one stela; I worked out – well, I guessed correctly – that one cartouche contained the name Rameses. Indiana Smith, me.

After Egypt, some paintings. We skipped through the tedious religious stuff, all very miserable. The many galleries of porcelain, like a nightmare world run by the Franklin Mint, we ran through looking neither to the left nor the right. We saw the newly repaired Qing vase the nasty man tripped into, a fantastic restoration job, and now safely behind glass.

Back in the real world we had lunch, wandered round town, and in Borders bumped into TV’s Jimmy Carr signing copies of his book and looking even more fed up than usual. I was tempted to take him a copy of Peter Kay‘s autobiography to sign.

After a quick pint with Andrew in the County Arms, I had fifteen minutes back home before popping out again for Mr Heckford’s birthday do. Sino Tap, Prezzo, Sino Tap. Or if you’re reading this in the 1990s: Town and Gown, Michel’s Brasserie, Town and Gown. I drank too much and regretted it today.


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