"Breakfast tea, black, with an almond croissant, please."
The cafe across the square is our first stop each morning and I am learning how to order tea properly so as not to confuse the young French and Italian workers across the counter. No milk. Just black. No one ever asks me if I want milk in my tea at home. The croissant is so flaky I leave crumbs of it everywhere.
We catch the tube to Tower Hill and as soon as we emerge from the underground, I see it: the London Wall. To my surprise, there is nothing to prevent me from walking over and touching it, no barrier, no polite notice. I have a penchant for reading fiction set in Roman Britain, especially Rosemary Sutcliff's books. Words and stories have a unique way of connecting us to the past, but so does this: the feel of two-thousand-year-old grit and stone beneath my fingers. The thrill it gives me feels like bubbles in a glass of champagne.
The Tower of London is crawling with tourists and school children and we walk past, cross the Tower Bridge to Borough Market on the other side of the Thames. Next to the market, Southwark Cathedral is a surprise. It isn't on my itinerary. My husband remembers it from his last visit.
|The Tower of London and the Shard|
|No trolls allowed beneath this bridge|
The Market lives up to its reputation. The cheese and chocolate, bread and brews, pasta, paella and patisserie lay cheek by jowl with fruit and flowers and fish, tea and tins of game. I have never been to an outdoor market where goose fat and wild boar pies are sold. After some deliberation, we settle on splitting a Scottish venison burger with caramelized onions and bacon relish for lunch, then stand in a corner of the market with our meat and drink, grinning with the goodness of the day.
|"The quality of mercy is not strained..."|