Monday, February 15, 2016

A Week in London

I just returned from a week in London, and despite jet-lag, sore feet, and blustery weather, it was fun. The temperatures were relatively mild, with spring flowers in the parks, but the gray skies and strong wind made it hard to spend time outdoors. The sun peeked out a few times, but quickly hid behind the clouds. I guess there's a reason it takes so few frequent-flyer miles to get to London in January. 

Fortunately, the museums are indoors. My favorite exhibits are in the Victoria and Albert, but I can't resist the Natural History Museum, with its warm stone arches and the giant dinosaur in the entrance hall. And of course there's the British Museum. Touring it properly could take weeks. We saw movies and a play, toured a clipper ship, saw how Beefeater Gin is made, and of course we ate. Full English breakfasts, cream teas with scones, chicken tandori, fish and chips, pasta - I don't know why the British get such a bad rap about their food. Yum.

Having always lived in relatively young areas, I'm struck by the history of London. In the center of the city, historic buildings abound, but London isn't a historical time capsule. It's a modern, bustling city. Everywhere you look is a juxtaposition of modern and ancient, traditional and cutting-edge.
-A Victorian humming-bird collection in the V&A, as compared to a new shock absorbing wheelchair wheel in the Design Museum. 

-Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London, backed by (right to left) "the Egg, the Cheese Grater, and the Walky-talky." 

-Modern energy-efficient City Hall and Dragons

The present is built upon the past. That's true of people, too. When writers create characters in our minds, they come with a history. Most of that history doesn't make it into the story, but it's in our minds. That's how we know how the character would act, what she might say, how he walks. The more we know about the character's history, the more real that character is to us, and eventually, the more real he feels to the reader. 

Collectively and individually, who we are is built on who we were, and helps determine who we will be.  

It's all about our history.


  1. Love love love your pictures and your post! Glad to have you back!

  2. I'm so glad you had a good visit. Love your photo of the London Bridge; with that modern city skyline behind, it really captures the old/new juxtaposition. Thanks for sharing all these pictures. And the food just sounds amazing!!

  3. The food was great. Actually, that's Tower Bridge. London Bridge is another mile or so downriver. At least the newest one is. The former London bridge is at Lake Havasu, Arizona. I'll have to go see it someday.

    1. Oops, that's what I get for typing before thinking ;) I didn't realize the London Bridge was moved... that's going on my to see someday list!

    2. Supposedly the man who bought it thought he was buying Tower Bridge, although I have a hard time believing he wouldn't have checked before spending that sort of money.

    3. Yeah, I can't imagine not knowing what you're purchasing when you're spending that much.