Today was our last full day of group activities, but we are not ready for this trip to end. We each meet with Professors Wolfe and Parkhouse individually this morning to discuss our final grades for the course, and then ate breakfast together. Then we had 30 minutes to get dressed in our best clothes for tea with Professor Wolfe later and the theatre production of War Horse later in the evening. We met Professor Parkhouse at 10am in the lobby of Regents College and he walked us to the Baker Street Tube Station where we met with Professor Wolfe. We all boarded the tube and exited for the Imperial War Museum.
After a 5 minute walk, we arrived at the museum and Professor Wolfe brought us to two of the most interactive exhibits in the museum to experience together. We walked through the Trench Experience which is an interactive setting that simulates the conditions of trench warfare. We walked through a narrow pathway with 8-10 ft high dirt walls surrounding us, and the lights were very dim, and it was very hard to see. We heard screaming, bombs, and explosions and walked past wounded soldiers, and the experience was very sobering. We also walked through the Blitz Experience together in which we felt the despair and fear of people who were affected by the Blitz. Then, we split up into groups and explored the museum at our own pace. We saw exhibits including The Lord Ashcroft Gallery, The Holocaust Exhibition, Women War Artists, and World War I and II galleries.
All the groups left the museum, boarded the train back to Piccadilly Circus and met Professor Wolfe at the Eros Statue. She brought us to Cavendish where we were expected for a mid-day tea. In the early nineteenth century Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, began to take a pot of tea and a light snack, in her boudoir during the afternoons. Later, friends were invited to join her in her rooms at Woburn Abbey, and this summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued it when she returned to London. She sent cards to her friends asking them to join her for "tea and walk in the fields." Other social hostesses quickly copied the idea and before long, all fashionable society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon. At Cavendish, we sampled a variety of tea selections including green tea, English breakfast tea, white tea and Earl Gray tea with Professor Wolfe before we were served our finger food platters. We had various mini-sandwiches including rocket, wholegrain mustard mayonnaise on granary bread, cucumber cream cheese and watercress on white bread, free range egg mustard cress on white bread, and oak smoke salmon with lemon butter on soda white bread scones. We also had scones served with clotted cream and fruit preserves and a tea cake choice of fruit tarts, cheese and chocolate cake, and chocolate truffles. We all enjoyed out traditional English tea with Professor Wolfe very much.
After lunch, Professor Wolfe brought us to Fortnum & Mason for a quick browse. We were astonished at the luxurious candies, produce, and toys the store carried and the lavishly elaborate decor that adorned the displays, walls, and ceilings. The products were extremely expensive and way out of our price range, but some of the merchandise would not interest us even if we could afford it such as the vodka flavored lollipops with a REAL, edible scorpion in the center!
From Fortnum & Mason, we took the tube back to Regents to relax briefly before meeting up with our group again for our 7 o'clock theatrical performance of the War Horse. On our way to the theatre, we walked through Covent Gardens where we saw multiple performances including dancing violinists, comedians, and mimes. We split up into three groups when we got to the theatre and sat in our appropriate seats. We were all immediately captured by the performance as soon as it started. From A Capella singing to accordion playing to elaborate horse structures, the performance was as interesting to view as the story plot and some of us even teared up at the end. We all had a great day, and are dreading that tomorrow is our last day here in England.