Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Dream of England - Day Two

     "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

Tower Bridge

No trolls allowed beneath this bridge

Southwark Cathedral

     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.

     We have booked tickets to The Merchant of Venice at The Globe and make our way there along the Thames Path. The play exceeds our expectation. I wept with joy when we booked the tickets, and I hide myself in a bathroom stall to weep a little when the play is over. I can't help it, the production has moved me to tears and, at the same time, I am so happy it spills over. Shakespeare. At the Globe. In London.

"The quality of mercy is not strained..."


  1. I just have to say that your happiness during this visit is charming and refreshing and spills over into my day too. If I were to choose a tour guide to London I would want one who didn't have a blasé bone in her body to show me the sights and take me to watch The Merchant of Venice! How very exciting it all is, seen from your eyes!

  2. Chapter two just thrilled me, can't wait for chapter three.

  3. i cannot say it any better than dewena has.
    i am hoping for many more posts of your visit. they're simply wonderful.