Monday, June 15, 2015

A Dream of England - Day One

     It is a dream forty years in the making. A dream of walking the dusty halls of history burnished bright with expectation and stirring the ancient particles with my passing. A dream of breathing in spaces that Shakespeare or Dickens inhabited long ago, and trailing my fingertips along the broken walls and aged stones of my ancestors. It is a dream that has, at last, emerged from the buried hopes of someday into the sunshine of today.

     I sit with my husband in Pret a Manger a few blocks from our hotel absorbing the fact of my presence in England. The accents spoken at the tables beside me are British. The black cabs parked at the curb outside are British. The butter on my baguette tastes foreign, and I am eating a crayfish and avocado salad. You will not find crayfish on the menu at Pret in Chicago. I believe, at this moment, I can truly claim there is not another soul on this great green isle of England who is happier to be here than I am.

     It is my first trip to London.

     Even though we are tired from our overnight flight and the everlasting traipse through customs, I can't bear to waste a moment of the time I have been given. I have meticulously mapped our course for the afternoon, so we set off to explore Westminster with the light that is left to us.

Westminster Abbey 

The guardians of the Abbey


The guardians of Parliament

Looking up the road toward Piccadilly

Admiralty Arch

Guardians of the Queen at Buckingham Palace

     Already, we have met some lovely people: a young woman who offers to help me up the steps with my luggage at Pimlico Tube Station, and a middle-aged gentleman who kindly offers directions when he sees us standing on the corner with our map and looking puzzled. We eat fish and chips for supper at The Barley Mow and return to our hotel to rest for another day.


  1. My goodness, what a nice surprise to find you actually in England, your dream coming true as we speak!

    The pictures--they show me your exuberance being there! Enjoy, enjoy, Nib's End! And please take lots of pictures to share so I can armchair travel with you!

    P.S. Not that you'll take time to read but I just read your comment at my post on books and when you do start with the Dalhousie novels try to start with The Sunday Philosophy Club as the storyline is ongoing.

    But mainly, have a glorious time there, "walking the dusty halls of history"!

    1. Actually, I am home again, but chose to write about my experience last week in the present tense so that I might live through it again as I share it with you.

    2. Wonderful idea! And I should have guessed it. Besides, why would you have wanted to blog when you had so many wonderful things to do and see!

  2. Oh, glad I read your comments as I was wondering why in the world you would sit over a keyboard when you could be walking the streets?! Loved your post, especially since I haven't been to London for a few years. I used to go every two years or so and plan to return...I have my favorite spots...and many more to explore. We always stay at Dolphin close to Tate and the Thames, the tube and the gardens....

    1. I walked the streets until my feet and legs gave out, rested, and walked some more.

  3. oh!
    this post was transported me back to 1997! i stepped off the pavement of victoria station into a shiny black london cab and the adventure began! my sister in law was doing special duty at the embassy and so my brother and i walk ALL over london! as you said in your own comment above... we walke and walked and then walked some more! we stayed on St James street. i thought it serendipitous since james is my last name!
    this post is delightful. it literally took me back to my own time there and my delight... and the time i fell in love with a city.
    walking london is the only way to see it! thank you for this post! and welcome home with all your wonderful memories!

    1. just proofed my comment AFTER the fact and it's full of errors!
      shows how excited i was sharing it with you! LOLOL.
      i captured your own excitement all over again. thank you for sharing.
      like dewena... looking forward to more!

  4. So exciting. the pictures are beautiful.