Reading London: A Chance Encounter Down Memory Lane, Literally

Don’t you love it when you’re reading a book and the character unexpectedly goes to a place you’ve been? It’s like you’re joining in the adventure, walking down the street with them. As an avid reader and traveler, that happens to me quite a bit – I seek books set in the cities I treasure and hope for these chance encounters down a literal memory lane.

51ljkfpffvl-_sx332_bo1204203200_My most recent travel-serendipity experience was this week as I was reading Sarah-Jane Stratford’s latest book, “Radio Girls”.  Set in 1920’s London, it highlights that pivotal time after WWI as British women won the right to vote, the Nazi movement began to rumble in Germany and the BBC was new and on its to becoming that bastion of news and information we know today. It was a wonderful read, and, having finished it this morning before dawn, I miss the plucky and smart main character already.  Here she is as she happened on a street from my most recent London trek:

“Maisie turned from them and held her breath, waiting for the entrance onto the Strand, this last mile of the marathon. So many magnificent buildings to pass on the way, the Royal Courts of Justice, the charming and appropriately antique Twinings tea shop, and then at last, the Savoy Hotel, an almost-palace on a street that once boasted palaces.”

How cool! I was just there earlier this month, walking down the Strand toward Picadilly, taking in the sights and sounds of that wonderful city I love with camera in hand. I felt just like Maisie: “so many magnificent buildings to pass on the way.” The Royal Courts of Justice are gorgeous, and my quick photos do not do justice…

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And here I am at the famous entrance to Twinings (the venerable tea shop), which was, as Maisie said, “charming and appropriately antique,” even when she fictionally strolled the Strand back in 1926.

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I haven’t made it to the Savoy yet, but it’s on the list. Maybe next time…

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

News on the Plane

Are you like me – your appetite and interest in hobbies and the world outpaces your capacity to devour them?  In my salad days (before parenthood, before Big Corporate Job), I used to read three newspapers every day:  the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Post and the Wall Street Journal.  I’m dating myself here:  the Post was bought by the Chronicle in 1995 and Houston became a one-big-daily town, with some really great weeklies, like the Houston Press.

It was a sad day in Houston when we lost that competition between the daily papers, but I digress.

Getting my news from several print sources along with the radio and TV news I consumed ensured that I got a well-rounded perspective of the world.  Local, regional, global – it was all at my fingertips.  Biased, perhaps, but overlaying a mosaic of different biases gives you a pretty accurate lens on the truth.

Reminisce with me, if you would.  It’s 6:30 a.m. on a weekday in the mid-90’s, and three fat, lovely papers have arrived on the doorstep.  The whole world is waiting for me to absorb it.  The routine is established:  make the coffee, feed the cats, fetch the papers, and get down to business.  By 8:00 a.m., I’m feeling like the most educated person in the world and ready to take on the day.  (I was a Realtor at the time, and nobody looks at houses until at least 10:00 a.m.)  You could count on me for interesting conversation at a dinner party.

Years later, the news finds me only on the iPad via a gaggle of news feeds – if I have time to click them – or on the radio courtesy of NPR’s Morning Edition or All Things Considered during my half-hour commute to my challenging and fun corporate job.  I’m no longer the most up-to-date person in the world and my dinner-party conversation will most likely be about this blog, my garden, my job or my fantastic kid (all of which are fascinating to me, you understand).

Except for when I travel – I become the well-informed gal of yesteryear.

Travel holds so much promise – new cultures, customs and cuisine.  And the news!   I start out with a land-grab of all of the papers in the United Club before the flight.  They usually have the local, USA Today, the WSJ and the Financial Times.  Rejoice!  A 2-hour flight – great!  I’ll have time to skim them all.  A 4-hour flight – even better!  I can read and absorb almost everything, enough for months worth of dinner parties and cocktail conversation.

You won’t find me complaining about business travel.  Bring on the dailies!

I love to grab all of the papers from the United Club and gorge on news on the plane; a guilty pleasure I don't have time for in my everyday life
I love to grab all of the papers from the United Club and gorge on news on the plane; a guilty pleasure I don’t have time for in my everyday life