Old Blighty

Kings Speech pea soup scene
The Kings Speech London fog scene

“It was a foggy, cloudy morning, and a dun-coloured veil hung over the house-tops, looking like the reflection of the mud-coloured streets beneath. My companion was in the best of spirits, and prattled away about Cremona fiddles, and the difference between a Stradivarius and an Amati. As for myself, I was silent, for the dull weather and the melancholy business upon which we were engaged, depressed my spirits.”

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

A couple of weeks ago, we sat on our terrace having a socially-distanced drink with a friend.

“Summer in England sometimes feels a little bit like living inside a Tupperware,” he said. “Days and days of muggy greyness, the air thick and still. Then all of a sudden a bit of sun peaks in, as though someone has briefly opened the Tupperware lid.” Continue reading Old Blighty

London 1665: an old story, retold in 2020

“Again he shook his head. The world’s gone mad, he thought. The dead walk about and I think nothing of it. The return of corpses has become trivial in import. How quickly one accepts the incredible if only one sees it enough!”

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

1665

I’ve just finished reading Old St. Paul’s: A tale of the Plague and the Fire by William Harrison Ainsworth (1841), which, as I mentioned last week, details the 1665 plague of London, culminating with the Great Fire.

Several hundred years later, here I am (you are) in plagued-London (fill in the name of your city here).

Even if you are not a lover of classic novels, you will appreciate this … the parallels are simply uncanny! Continue reading London 1665: an old story, retold in 2020

Stuckhome Syndrome

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

Anne of Avonlea, by L.M. Montgomery (Green Gables books)

X-ray butterflies in my stomach
Source: Google

We are well into 9 weeks of lockdown in the UK.

Some restrictions are beginning to ease.

But many people are afraid to go out, afraid to let their children go back to school, afraid to venture back to work.

A kind of ‘stuckhome syndrome’ has taken hold.

I get this.

What started off rather uncomfortable and restrictive, has become comfortable, safe, the new normal. Continue reading Stuckhome Syndrome

Pigeons, Pantomime and Christmas vibes

“Good-bye,” said Michael to the Bird Woman. “Feed the Birds,” she replied, smiling. “Good-bye,” said Jane. “Tuppence a Bag!” said the Bird Woman and waved her hand.”

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

pantomimeI stood in the warmth of the church after the service sipping a hot tea in a paper cup. Outside a small boy, puffer-jacketed, gloved and woolly-hatted ran back and forth on the lawn chasing pigeons. They settled. He charged. They flew up into the chilled air and swirled around him for some seconds. Then they settled again on the other side of the lawn. He squealed and charged again. They took flight. He waved his pudgy coated arms around. They swirled. It was mesmerising, this game. Continue reading Pigeons, Pantomime and Christmas vibes

Life: my week in pictures and film clips

“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.” 

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Pile of manure brought in especially from Buckingham Palace horses for Fulham Palace allotment.

I’m sitting on our terrace doing a bit of work and writing this blog on a sunny Sunday in London.

According to Hubby, this sort of weather is normal for London – that locals dub it “sunny London” (direct quote).

Whether or not you agree with Hubby, I can testify that we have in fact had a lovely warm summer so far and Londoners are well and truly out of hibernation. Continue reading Life: my week in pictures and film clips

Lamentations of a 5 foot 1 inch non-shopper and late adopter

“We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe- some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others- some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of men.”

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

shopping for the late adopterI had a friend at school who was obsessed with her nails. She would paint them and file them daily, obsessing over nail vitamins and moisturiser to soften the quicks. One lunch time she rushed over to me in distress. “A terrible thing has happened,” she shouted. Holding her hands up for me to see, “I broke two nails, and so I had to cut them all off!” Continue reading Lamentations of a 5 foot 1 inch non-shopper and late adopter

Memory

“We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time – of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances – of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remember it!”

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Aiming to improve our memoriesThe mind is a strange and curious thing.

On Friday last, I stepped out of the office on an errand.  Low-lying mist hung over the Thames. London was still. This is a rare and beautiful thing. Putney Bridge was deserted – no hooting or sirens or loud pedestrians. The frenzy and heat of July having past, a large portion of the population on leave, August is an eerie month in the city. London seemed to breathe out a long peaceful breath of relief.

Being bookish, and tending towards melancholy, this mysterious, still, slightly dark, ominous, promise-of-rain weather feeds my imagination. Continue reading Memory

Going mad in the heat and dans le noir

“If we don’t go mad once in a while, there’s no hope.”

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

London is hot hot hotLondon is ROASTING.

There is not a cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind. It’s 37 degrees on our terrace, 31 degrees in our kitchen and another week of swelter is predicted. Yes, these are the numbers at 18:30 in the evening. Yes, this is London. No we have no rain or cloud to offer at this time – out of stock.

Continue reading Going mad in the heat and dans le noir