I’m exactly half-way through my journey, and here in Bloomsbury, a respite – a hot shower and boiling water for a cup of tea in my very own silent room = bliss. It has been a treat to visit dear friends and make new ones – staying with Christopher and Cristina and little Marina, sleeping on their blow-up bed in the living room and playing with Marina in the morning, then off to Hampton Court to meet and stay with Liz, an old friend of my friend Penny. These visits make me feel that I have family in England – because though I am half British and have lived in London twice, my mother lost touch with her family here and I know no one, any more, actually related to me. So old friends and new it is; when I’m staying in someone’s home, I feel a bit at home in England.
But it’s also stressful for both them and me, so this is a great rest and treat.
I’ve been to the theatre three times – twice to the West End, to see “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” based on the Almodovar film, a fantastic production which I loved, and “Sunny afternoon,” a hilarious and yet moving play about the career of the Kinks, which I also loved and so did Penny and Liz. Liz has been an actress for decades and knows everyone, so it’s been great to get her take on the world of British theatre. We went last night to a small but important theatre in Richmond, the Orange Tree, to see “Play Mas,” about the independence of Trinidad and its cost.
So – quite a range, and tomorrow, something else again, My Night with Reg, of which a review says, “My Night with Reg is the most artificial and the truest, the funniest and most searing play to be found anywhere on the London stage. It matters absolutely that all the characters in it are gay, and it matters not a jot.” Sounds like my kind of show.
As you’ve seen in the pix, there were spectacular visits to Hampton Court and to Kew Gardens and pubs. It’s surreal, the mix of very old and very new history – the places where kings lived, where Romans roamed, and then Liz says, “Mick Jagger has a house up that hill, this pub is Bill Wyman’s local, and another rock god owns that enormous houseboat – it’s a recording studio.”
I have to tell you that I’m too tired, much too tired, to give you any kind of sentient analysis of life in London or of anything much at all. Here’s the good news – Liz has lent me a bigger suitcase. She is coming to Toronto later in the year and will bring my small one and we’ll trade. So I don’t have to worry about squashing everything in. Though I thought I’d packed as lightly as possible, still, there’s a lot of stuff. But I don’t regret anything – it has been very cold and I’ve had enough layers. I have managed so far not to lose anything except a gold earring that jumped from Liz’s window sill and vanished into thin air. I’m not sure I’d do a trip like this this way again, with so much moving around, except that it has been wonderful. I feel a bit battered, but enriched. And much fatter. So much bread and pasta in transit, so little fruit and veg. Ah well.
Profoundly grateful, always, for the freedom to travel, for family at home, for the link of the internet. Missing my family. Onward.