Every day and evening there was something special in store for us, but I am going to highlight only a few of them for the purposes of this particular diary.
The real treat, for me at least, was Soane's "Picture Room." This was a small gallery not much larger than the size of a walk-in closet, and with high ceilings. The docent claimed there were more than one hundred paintings in this room, which seemed like an outrageous claim. Even though paintings covered every available space, there could not have been more than thirty or forty of them in total. With a sly grin, the docent then undid a latch midway down one wall, and a large panel swung out revealing more paintings on the wall behind, plus others on the inside of the panel. There were several of these "moveable planes," as Soane called them, in the room that hid dozens of more paintings. Very clever!
Alas, I left International Magic without making a purchase, owing to the fact that I am I finicky buyer and that there weren't a whole lot of items on display that I could use. I hope Mr. MacMillan didn't think I was a cheap American, because I enjoyed visiting his shop and spending some time there, if not my dollars.
The second Pollock is Pollock's Toy Shop, a spin-off, you could say, of the toy museum, but now unassociated with it and located in an entirely different London neighborhood. While the toy museum had only a small gift shop, this store contained a wide range of interesting toy theater-based items. I did spend some of my American money there, purchasing a paper toy theater construction set of a French production of Beauty and the Beast. I look forward to assembling that on a rainy afternoon,
All in all, a wonderful first visit to London, a city that I've been meaning to see for years. I hope to return again some day, perhaps with the Suitcase of Wonders in tow, so that I may humbly perform in this exciting, awe-inspiring, and clean international city.