Sunday, November 8, 2009

the London Invasion

I received a few comments on my questionnaire when I responded that 'London' was one place I could return to over and over again. I thought I'd explain my reasons for such a personal connection to it. I grew up believing 'The Beatles' were the greatest band ever, and then there was the invasion of all the other British bands I enjoyed...I shared with my grandmother a fascination with English history, the past Queens of England in particular...while growing up, in general, it seemed a swinging, with-it destination.

When I met Excy he had just finished remodeling a town house on Sloane Square in London for a client from Texas, and had lots of fun stories about his trips to oversee construction. He became friends with H., and when she learned of our impending marriage she offered the flat to us for our honeymoon. We decided to take a delayed honeymoon in January (we were married in June '91) because of our work schedules. By the time we went, I was freelancing, having quit the magazine, and a lucrative book contract came up three weeks before the departure date I could not afford to turn down. So we went, taking about an extra 30 lbs of paper and notes, and I edited a book for several hours each day we were there. But the weather was splendid, we hit all the museums, theater, shopping, sites, and I satisfied my love for all the 'high tea' (yes I know that's not right) that we could ever want, generally having a blast. The very last day we were socked in by fog at Heathrow and the eventual drama of getting out the next day and the commute was a nightmare and pretty funny looking back on it, but it didn't taint the experience at all -- it was all I had hoped for.

When H. heard I had had to work while there she insisted we return the next January for another week. By this time we had moved to AR (or as Excy thinks of it, Hooterville) so I could take a position with Winrock International, then located on Petit Jean Mountain. And now, as Excy likes to interject in the story: She asked her parents to come with us! In my defense, every couple had their own floor, and we shared the bottom level where the kitchen, dining room and living area were located.

Also, we had been together for three years by then, so we could master self-control. Plus, I didn't know how many years my parents would be able to or want to travel such a long distance for a vacation. Excy's pet peeve is really that my parents and I never mastered jet lag and we all slept in -- but I hasten to add here that two weeks after our return I was diagnosed with my second brain tumor, so I had a damn good excuse for sleeping a lot.

We still had great fun and I have the pictures to prove it, regardless of what he says...!

10 comments:

Eva Gallant said...

Wow! You've had a lot going on in your life. I'm a new follower, so I need to browse through some old posts to get up to snuff.

strokeofliving said...

I think London never needs an explanation. walking around Chelsea alone would make the most clever cynic a believer. Or maybe I'm bias because my first experience in London was staying on the third floor of a fantastic townhouse in Chelsea right off Kings Road. I have nothing like your story of finding love and suddenly illness.

Cheers!

ReformingGeek said...

London is definitely a special place. How wonderful that you have spent so much time there!

Secretia said...

People who visit there always rave about it. We will travel there next year I hope.

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

I really loved your story.
I love London. English style decoration as well.
Every time I visit London I am reborn.

e said...

One day, I will tell you about my experience in London as a teen...I would love to go back...Thanks for posting this!

Sandy said...

My first trip to Europe was to London. I was just a kid and love Picadilly. Couldn't get enough of it. And you are so right about the British bands....still my favorites.

PaperbackWriter said...

Never explain London! If anyone needs that one explained, they need a hole in their head, or a lemon sherbert in their gobs!

Tricia McWhorter said...

London's pretty fine alright. But I think I'm even more in love with Edinburgh.

Kathryn said...

I've never traveled anywhere but Canada. But i live in England in my mind! Granted, England of another day where they still had high tea. Most of my favorite authors are English. It has always been my dream to live a few years in England, either Yorkshire or Devon. Or both!

My husband, sadly, is not enamored by all things English.