6 June 2015

I have been there

One of my uni friends loaned me 84 Charing Cross Road many years ago when I was a student. I didn't know the author at all but immediately resonated with her love of all things literature and all things England. The sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, includes a description of Helene Hanff's passion for England - how she used to go to movies just to see English streets and buildings.

Last weekend, we watched Paddington for daughter's birthday - we missed this one at the theatre last year and had promised her we'd see it. It was quite well done and almost as much fun as the books, but what got all of us was the locations. "We've been there!" "That's the London Eye!" "That's Big Ben!" and "That's the Museum of Natural History!" Tonight, hubby had a movie on from TV and it was the same - location-spotting. The movie was dreadful but on the odd occasion when I glanced up from my book, the locations not the action caught my eye. 

I've finally been there. I have walked those streets until I wanted to amputate my feet with a spoon and my knees were so crippled I was sure they would never straighten out again. I have ridden the Underground and a double-decker bus. I have been in the British Museum and seen the Mildenhall Treasure and the Elgin Marbles, and could have cheerfully stayed there for an entire week looking at stuff. I have scraped my jaw off the floor in the National Gallery. I have walked Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London, and found my ancestors' memorials and the place where one of them was executed (long story). I have fallen in love with Canterbury Cathedral and will never be the same again. I have celebrated Evensong by candlelight in York Minster and seen Mistress Quickly and Falstaff dodging around the Shambles. I have slithered around the Yorkshire Moors in the snow, and watched my family sledding at Chatsworth. I have walked in Chatsworth House and fallen in love with its gardens and library - and just fallen over in the snow! I have floated on Coniston Water and seen Peel/Wild Cat Island with my own eyes. I have walked through Hogsmeade and seen Hogwarts. I have eaten pheasant pie and enjoyed the warmth and friendliness of a 350-year-old British pub. I have touched the original Rocket and stood in the cab of Mallard. I have seen with my own eyes many-million-year-old dinosaur bones and stood inside a leaf at the Museum of Natural History.

I am blessed and very grateful.  

I really must watch Pride and Prejudice again and revisit Chatsworth-as-Pemberley....

1 comment:

Keryn said...

I remember that!