Back in August (where has this year gone?) we had forty-eight precious hours in London with our beloved Washingtonians – friends turned family – and boy, did we pack those hours to the brim.
To begin: Green Park, boughs kissing above the walkways, a violinist plucking notes from the gloom. Buckingham Palace (munching our sandwiches on the fountain – “why yes, we did eat lunch with Her Majesty!”) Then on to the royal pelicans in St. James’, the kitchen garden abundant with chard, and cabbage, and wild-running perennials. The rain coming thick and fast now as we strode across Horseguard’s Parade, headed for the river. Over Jubilee Bridge to the South Bank, where children frolicked in the sprinklers in spite of (or because of) the downpour. Along to the Tate where we saw Dali, Mondrian, Warhol – unparalleled wonder – and the whole city sprawling before us from the rooftop of Switch House. Home for butternut macaroni and sleepy heads on pillows. 17,792 steps and 23 floors.
Saturday, we covered Regent’s Park and the secret garden, and the rose garden too – Lovely Lady, Ingrid Bergman, Champagne Moment, Sexy Rexy abundant. We ate our homemade sandwiches among the hosta leaves, nibbled bare by some junebug or other, watched the clouds scuttle above our heads. Through Primrose Hill, past pushbikes and plant pots overflowing and sherbet stucco fronts, onto the thronging streets of Camden Town where we stopped for scoops at Marine Ices for a well-earned rest. Onto the bus, then the tube, to the museums – Apollo shuttles, penicillin, Watson and Crick’s genome, entire galaxies covered in an afternoon. Home again to the Crescent House for Lulu dhal and cookies, charades and tea. 14,421 steps, we stopped counting the floors.
Sunday, coloured already bittersweet by the evening’s approaching farewell. But we packed it in still – Metropolitan line all the way to Barbican, up, up to the green reaches of the Sunday Conservatory. What treasures amid the brutalism! Pockets of the city new to us to – sunflowers and Cockney accents on Columbia Road, every woman and every man within a 2-mile radius cradling a bunch of floral beauties as delicately as a baby, swathed in brown paper, shedding scent along the street. The bus to Southwark Cathedral, two envelopes of roasted almonds from a growling vendor on London Bridge as the sun waltzed out from the clouds. Too many steps to count.
Glum faces as departure neared…
One last photograph of all of us, together.
It was everything.
(photos) on film, digital and iPhone by me and Ashley