There was a small, polite, very British sign on Dickens’ desk that said PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH; but sometimes one has to embrace one’s stereotypes, so in full knowledge of my crime I reached out and gave it a good rub. I’m American, we’re uncouth. Right?
Also, it’s Dickens’ own bloody desk. Where he wrote his last paragraphs of Edwin Drood. Right there in front of me. Without ropes around. No docents to be seen anywhere. OF COURSE I’M GOING TO TOUCH IT.
With this kind of disrespectful attitude from the tourists, it’ll be worn down to a shapeless lump of wood in another hundred years.
But at least I got to touch it. So There, future generations.
And also the window frame from the attic where he lived as a boy, lifted out whole and stuck on the wall. Touched that too.
Take me away, Preservation Trust. I REPENT NOT.
We’d spent the morning doing irritatingly mundane things like laundry, groceries, and trying to squeeze all of our souvenirs into lovely red Royal Mail packing boxes to send home; so by the time we were done touring the Dickens Museum it was time for late lunch/early dinner. None of the cafés in the vicinity were calling to us so we went back to our home ground.
You know you’ve acclimatized well to a place when you are helping other tourists (Canadian in this case) navigate the tube. ‘Get off at our stop with us, then take the Northern Line south.’
‘The “Northern Line south…”?’
‘Yes… (I know how you feel….) The Northern Line south.’
They needed to think a little harder about what they named some of these stations.
I mean, really, I am never going to stop snickering inside when I hear a posh female voice saying “This is a Picadilly Line service to Cockfosters.”
I’m juvenile. I know. (Or maybe just American.)
Risotto at Amalfi turned out to be the order of the day (mine, pumpkin and pancetta and amazing; hers, mixed mushroom). We scooted in just before the dinner rush but found ourselves sitting next to a garrulous Yorkshireman, which would have been all right except, given combination of accent (his), wine (his), and ambient noise, we could barely understand every fifth word. I think we had a conversation about the exchange rate and how it used to be better to travel to Australia. Or it’s better now. Not totally sure.
When he and his wife left, I eavesdropped on the table to our other side, where I heard a well-dressed gentleman saying, and laughing:
‘I finished a book on the train. The Sense of an Ending [by Julian Barnes]. It won the Booker Prize last year. I just finished it and I have no idea what it was about. There was a big revelation at the end, and you could tell it was a big revelation, but – I called my mum, who’d read it, and she had no idea either.’
Or something to that extent.
Certain of my friends will find this funny. All others, please ignore.
After dinner a very quick nap/carb coma was in order before we headed to a performance of the Hayden ‘Nelson’ Mass at St. Martin-In-The-Fields.
|No photos permitted here either. I’m all kinds of uncouth today.|
There is, I think, no instrument so beautiful as the unadulterated human voice. And possibly, no acoustic space better than St. Martin’s.
Off to Wales tomorrow – so I’d better get to bed.
If you enjoyed this post, please share it!