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markets, foundlings, my sandwich

A walking day in this bulging city, on the verge of rain. I went to find markets – first Petticoat Lane, which used to be a Jewish market and is now East Indian, then to Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane, more young people and vintage and crafty. Very crowded, lots of fun; I only bought a pair of cute socks for my grandson-to-be. I’d made the usual ham sandwich before leaving, and was shocked to discover that I had LEFT IT BEHIND. I was going to go to the nearby Museum of Childhood, but luckily read in a guidebook that it’s very crowded on holidays. To be avoided Easter Sunday, definitely.

Then walked south to the Thames – to the Tower, which was overrun. I cannot imagine what this city will be like during the Olympics, it’s so full now. It’s marvellous to see families from around the world with their children – a couple, for example, both with various piercings including rings through their septums, with their little unpierced daughter, worrying like everyone else about her getting wet in the rain.
Caught a double-decker back, the famous #15, which took me through the West End, past Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly toward home. Had a little rest, reclaimed my sandwich, and set off again, this time to avoid crowds if possible. I took a bus to Bloomsbury, wandered around its hallowed streets and squares – it’s famous for the intellectuals and artists who lived here, most famously Virginia Woolf and her entourage – and then at the suggestion of Theresa Kishkan, who has become a friend through creative non-fiction writing and the blog, I went to the Foundling Museum. It’s devoted to the Foundling Hospital, set up by Thomas Coram in the early 1700’s for children whose mothers could not keep them – London’s first attempt to care for abandoned children. Very moving – there’s a display case of the mementoes sent with the children, a tiny ring, a bracelet, various talismen. It made me think about my adopted friends, those who’ve found their birth parents and those who haven’t – about the grandson to come, who will know his own family. For better or worse.
The top floor of the museum is devoted to Handel, who donated to the Hospital in various ways, including the first English presentation of “the Messiah”. Manuscripts of his work are there, and you can sit in a leather armchair listening to orchestral work and chorales. Heaven. Of course I cried – “Wonderful. Counsellor. The mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of Peace.” Hard to believe “the Messiah” was written in 3 weeks. And that Bach and Handel were born the same year – the blessed year 1685. There was information on the early to mid-1700’s, when Vivaldi was also composing, Jonathan Swift was writing “Gulliver’s Travels,” David Garrick appeared in “Richard III,” Gainsborough was painting, Henry Fielding wrote “Tom Jones,” Samuel Johnson brought out his dictionary, and the British Museum was founded – 1758. Handel died in 1759. Bach died in 1750. Imagine, according to Wikipedia, he was not recognized …

Bach’s abilities as an organist were highly respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the main composers of the Baroque period, and as one of the greatest composers of all time.[9]



2 Responses to “markets, foundlings, my sandwich”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Have you discovered Borough Market near London Bridge? It is brilliant.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do you know the LONDON REVIEW BOOKSHOP in Bloomsbury? I go there every time I'm in London for 3 reasons:

    – they have interesting literary evenings

    – an eclectic book selection

    – a teashop that serves the most divine cakes I've ever tasted in my life with superior teas. When I was there last August, I had China black tea with rosebuds and a very moist marmalade cake. The experience was so outstanding I went back for more the following day.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.