The kids and I were joking about something we all saw separately that said, do you realize that the Olympics were this year? And seriously doesn’t it seem like five years ago?
On Danny’s recommendation (!), I’d read this lovely book, The Marvels by Brian Selznick, a few years ago and a key feature of it — a home where you could hear whispers and there was fresh food on the table and it always seemed as if someone had just left the room — is based on an actual real place you can visit! And I looked it up and indeed you can visit and I thought, sadly, “but when will I ever get back to London…?”
So, flash forward — we went to London for Spring Break this year, and I got to take my old-enough-to-appreciate-it kids and hubs to my favorite city!
I went to London for the first time in 1985 for a term abroad when I was 20 years old. I shared a room in a Golders Green B&B with my beautiful friend Jen Bruer — who with her height and masses of red hair and freckles and Nashville accent was the toast of young man London! There were 21 of us there from Earlham College and it truly was once in a lifetime.
I love London so very much. I went back with a boyfriend at least a couple of times and we had a blast and he said it suited me very well —the good manners and the lovely summertime and that tea came just when I started getting crabby.
I had the genius idea to go back with my mom and my aunt and her daughter, my cousin Marie who came in from Australia for just a week. It was memorable! And timely, because Miles was born a year or so later. That was the last time I’d been, in 1999.
And now I have gone again with my own family and walked the wrong way and got on busses and had snacks from newsstands and Tesco and brunch at the pub across the street which is now my very favorite place ever and….
You go at dusk or later as it is all lit by candles. It is in the Spitalfields section of London, not a wealthy part, a place where silk weavers lived and worked.
A man with a very quiet calming voice explains to us the rules. No touching. No talking (!). Take as long as you want. Start in the cellar. (My husband asked if this man could lead us all around London in his calming way.)
The room that struck me the most was up in the garret, showing a time when the silk industry had collapsed and people were very poor. We agreed later it looked like a creepy version of Scrooge’s bedroom and had a desk that looked like Bob Cratchit’s in the corner. What I noticed is that there was a little stool and a crutch (like Tiny Tim would use!) next to the fireplace, with a picture tacked up at kid’s eye view. And I thought, “here, you sit by the fire and look at your picture” and wanted to cry.
At this point I realize I’ve gone far afield! Will end here and dream of the big city in days gone by …