Friday, June 6, 2014

Bye-bye London, Thanks for the Happy!

I'm writing this on the TGV to Bordeaux and will post it once we arrive chez nous, as I like to think of the little house we will be renting for the third time. Train travel is so very civilized here, so much easier, more comfortable,less stressful than flying.
As you know, my mood slowly shifted from pre-travel anxiety to jet-lag-and-rain-amplified slight depression. Sleep, the warm familiarity of the Alhambra Hotel, Paul's cleverness in scoring tickets to some wonderful performances, and the delights of both The Tate Modern's Matisse Cut-outs and its satisfying restaurant: hard to stay unhappy with all these treats.
But as charmed as I was by the density of London's cultural offerings, it was hard to deny that we were walking some gritty and dreary streets, that hard and dark dominated the concrete, brick, and asphalt landscape, working to make the rain and the sub-20 temps more than a bit spirit-draining.

So I woke Thursday morning, our last day in London, determined to find some Pretty, no matter the weather. And perhaps the weather sensed my determination and was persuaded to cooperate. Knowing we had a long walk to dinner that evening, we decided that Primrose Hill and its surrounding neighbourhood would be the perfect distance, and we knew from earlier visits that it would offer window-shopping, green vistas, pretty architecture, and numerous choices for a pleasant, casual lunch.
And we were not at all disappointed.,


Pastel houses accented by black iron scrollwork, greenery everywhere, discreet glimpses into intimate gardens, and the happy ambience of a community getting ready for a party.


After soaking up the neighbourhood charms, we ambled over to Primrose Hill which offers breathing space, stunning views of the city skyline, and an unending array of entertainment in the form of lovers courting, children playing, and a dizzying variety of human shapes exercising themselves toward fitness and health.
Why, you might even spot a Canadian woman of a certain age posing for her husband...
Or you might spot that husband, sketching the scene in his little notebook
They stopped posing and sketching and taking photos very soon after and happily wandered back to one of those upscaled gourmet-ish pubs that seem to be everywhere now. . . No photos were taken of the contemporary version of a Welsh Rarebit (sometimes. Yes, called Welsh Rabbit), nor of the sweetly sinful Banoffee Pie, but know that they were much enjoyed by a travelling cule in a very happy mood. . . .
I'd love to think these photos might have brightened your day a bit as well. Certainly, your comments cheer me, and I will better be able to answer them, I hope, as we settle into Bordeaux. Meanwhile,though, do know that I read them avidly.



22 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you were able to enjoy a pretty day in very pretty environs. I'm really wanting to go back and spend more time in London, and Primrose Hill will be added to my must-see list.

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    1. And you can get to it via the Canal, also a pleasure . . .

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  2. I wonder - does the hotel/location add to the depression? Or is it a good one? Or is it the weather? Or just post-anxiety let down? In any case, I'm to happy to hear you're settled in Bordeaux.

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    1. I think it's a combination, Lisa. There is much we like about the hotel, but a big attraction is def. its reasonable price, not its nurturing luxury! (Opting for the latter would lift my spirits, but depress my wallet!). Stuff going on at home weighs me down a bit, but I am pushing it aside for the moment....

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  3. Little by little, you're getting into the holiday mood - I hope by now that you're feeling much, much better.

    Nice to see those lovely big green spaces in a bustling city.

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    1. I think the green spaces take on an added richness in the midst of the bustle, don't they?

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  4. *sigh*........what a treat to read these last few - theatre, food, museum..........all that at my kitchen table.......thank you.

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    1. Glad you're enjoying the vicarious travel. Was your own trip just last year?

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  5. We were in London 6 weeks ago and although it was cold I really enjoyed it. Love reading your holiday posts.

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    1. They claim it's been warm the last few weeks, and the roses seem to attest to that, but they kept the sunshine hidden most of our visit...;-)

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  6. I visited Primrose Hill for the first time this year. A train trip through the green countryside to Bordeaux should be pleasant. Sadness is hard to understand. Sometimes it just burns off like the sea mist and sometimes it lingers to reappear
    for no apparent reason. I wish you happy times in Bordeaux.

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    1. Yes, this is what I find. reason only goes so far. But as soon as the French countryside stretched around me from the windows of the TGV, I felt a deep solace, somehow...

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  7. Hope you're both settled in Bordeaux with a glass (case?) of the local wine. Lovely to meet you in London & I'm so pleased that you enjoyed your stay.

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    1. We're doing our best with the wine, yes! Lovely to meet you as well . . . Will be following the book's progress with great interest.

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  8. Primrose Hill lives up to its namesake flower - a pretty place to stroll and eat. I hope you're finding Bordeaux sunny and bright.

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    1. It's been so warm(hot!) and sunny here. It did pour absolute buckets last night, pounding away on the sunlight, but that was all done before the sun came up. A perfect arrangement!

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  9. Thanks for the set London views. Last time I was on primrose hill was with a bunch of lab colleagues to watch a partial eclipse! Happy times :)

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    1. Oh, that sounds like even more fun than our day! I can imagine the excitement of a crowd gathered there to watch an eclipse...

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  10. Certainly brightened my day! Love London. Have a wonderful time.

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    1. Thanks, Givi, glad you enjoyed the post.

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  11. Oh dear, your pictures and posts from London stir up so many memories! The first metropolis I ever went to on my own, spending three months in a foreign country right after finishing school... I felt so safe with my little AtoZ, nothing could happen to me, never would I get lost. (I didn't, in fact.) Looking back, I admire my mother for letting me go without a word of protest. Going back later for research, and the last time with my son, doing all the children's stuff (the Tower, Lonodon Eye, the Cutty Sark...). I feel a great urge to go there again some time soon, on the other hand I find that nostalgia plays an ever bigger role in those going-back trips. Perhaps it would be better to head off to new places where I never was before?
    New or well known - I hope you enjoy all the places that are still waiting for you.

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    1. Nostalgia can certainly be dangerous, but I love the layering that certain places take on, the richness of previous visits colouring and directing the present...I think this was my 8th visit, and I'd love to write a bit about the palimpsest of memories that constitute the city for me now.
      Do you look back at that young woman with considerable admiration for her willingness and confidence and strength, at such a young age, to be so far from home for so long? What do your children think of that, do you think?

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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