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london loves.

Oh, I have had just the best time in London – despite the fact that S____ is not here and I miss her – and it's all to do with something I enjoy and she does not: meeting people with whom I am acquainted via the Internet. (She's liked all of my LJ friends once she's met them, she just doesn't look forward to it like I do.)

On Friday I spent six hours at the PRO (Public Records Office, which has recently been renamed the National Archives, but it doesn't seem to have stuck) in the medieval maps and documents room. The purpose of my visit was to flesh out the connection between my mother's paternal ancestors (who will contribute their surname, moved up a notch, to a certain young gentleman who is expected shortly) in mid-16th through early-17th century London with their forebears in Buckinghamshire. It's an evident descent for many reasons, but I've always been curious about the details, so I looked at one Inquisition Post Mortem – they were a sort of follow-up to wills that were proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury – for the last Bucks ancestor and one tax list for Westminster in 1545 when his son should have been there. Useless! I am pretty good at reading "secretary hand" and I can remember enough Latin, but these documents were completely illegible. I had a long reference interview with a nice fellow who reassured me that my skills were not lacking and that, yes, the 16th century is where a lot of trails go cold. Thank goodness for monumental brasses and coats of arms, I guess. OK, enough snobbery & on with the fun parts.

After that I went back to my hotel, changed, and met up with Mr Neil Scott (neil_scott) at the White Swan in Highbury for drinks. (Hooray for Marc Bolan references, intentional or not.) We were joined by others and eventually went off to How Does It Feel? which was quite enjoyable, if a bit crowded. It could have been in Los Angeles with slightly more historically-precise haircuts and the balance shifted a bit more toward '80s music. A great time. I had a bit of an adventure getting back to Bayswater, but all was well in the end. Here is a drunken photo of Neil & myself at 1am after stepping off the nightbus to Trafalgar Square, taken by the lovely & smart Miss Laura (femme_letale). I should also add that Neil made me perhaps the best mix CD I've ever received. (I'm listening to it right now.) Thanks again!

On Saturday I slept in (MUCH NEEDED) and met up with Miss Anwen (puzzled_anwen) and her Most Delightful Child at Selfridges. We had lunch and walked around Oxford Street and Carnaby Street, which is much improved since I was last there. I bought some indulgences (well, the foot soothing lotion is quickly passing into the 'necessity' category) at Lush and we went to a fantastic department store called Liberty, which is a giant [mock-?] Tudor building with extremely expensive scarves but also the best fabric and 'notions' department I have ever seen in my life. Oh! But check out the spirits department of Selfridges Foodhall!

I also meant to visit this store when it was open, but alas I did not make it. I could have brought home an antique cricket bat. On second thought, perhaps it's best I didn't return.

Later I got in touch with Mr Dickon Edwards (dickon_edwards) with the intent of buying him a drink at his local in Highgate, but instead he invited me to meet him at a birthday party down the block, which I gladly did. He introduced me to his friends and we chatted for quite a while, and I found him exactly the handsome & charming dandy I expected him to be. At one point we were talking about the beautiful church buildings in this country and how they are not exactly filled up with worshippers these days. 'Oh really', I said. 'I was thinking of going to one tomorrow'. 'Please do!', entreated Dickon, clearly concerned for their disuse as Beautiful Objects.

So, never one to shrink from a mandate, this morning I went to the parish eucharist at the church where Siouxsie & Budgie got married. It's a small-ish English gothic church with a great spire and a nice churchyard, rather plain inside. The service was uneventful – except for the novelty of hearing familiar liturgical responses in an English accent – with a boring sermon on Jeremiah that managed to deliver the very subtle anti-Bush and pro-Palestine messages that are apparently de rigeur in churches these days. The nave was only about halfway filled (which is par for the course in August all over America) mostly with old people, middle-aged women, and a smattering of young men with natty haircuts and lovely shirts, so I'm happy to report that the building is not crumbling from neglect. I do wonder what Miss Ballion's and Mr Clarke's connection to St John's Notting Hill was. It's hard to picture her as a churchgoer, but I guess you never know. Anyway, here are two snapshots:

I have just now arrived in Vienna; I didn't want to leave London! (And neither did my plane; we sat on the tarmac for an hour past the time we were due to leave, resulting in a very hasty run through the construction zone that is the Frankfurt airport. Not exactly the best birtday ever.) I think when I get home I'll work on moving to London. Before I let go for the week, I must leave my readers with a lesson in useage, which I learned at the Highgate party due to my wearing the black, white & red garment I have on in my default user pic, and which I present here in tabular form.

vesttank top
tank topsweater vest


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 22nd, 2004 04:11 pm (UTC)
thank you for sharing your experiences here. this is great to read! : )
Aug. 22nd, 2004 10:27 pm (UTC)
You're welcome; it was great to experience!
Aug. 22nd, 2004 08:06 pm (UTC)
fantastic photos! How fun to visit the banshees bond church. Liberty of London is fantastic, I loved the upper levels with the balcony shopping...all that Morris & Co fabrics...sigh.
Aug. 22nd, 2004 10:32 pm (UTC)
Oh good, confirmation that it wasn't a mirage! I thought that store was amazing, if only because, in the midst of so much typical consumer splendour, here's this DIY sort of luxury department. The fabric shop attendant was funny – Oh, I don't go downstairs, I can run up a scarf like that in half an hour for under five quid. And the flower shop! They both make the store into more of a late-medieval royal bazaar or something.
Aug. 22nd, 2004 11:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, I loved her! The nice thing about Liberty is that for the most part the assistants aren't remotely snobby. She actually said that she often gets people looking at that lovely fluffy yarn I saw and saying they saw something similar downstairs... "I tell them to go downstairs and have a look at the price... they always come back up for the yarn!"
Aug. 23rd, 2004 04:13 am (UTC)
You know, I didn't even look at the yarn or fabric prices. Were they outrageous?

I had so much fun with you and The Child! Tell The Child I said hello. I have a couple of cute pictures as well that I will send your way when I get a chance.
Aug. 23rd, 2004 05:25 am (UTC)
Well, on one hand, they only had quite high-end brands of yarn, so there weren't exactly many bargains to be had, but on the other, the prices seemed fairly normal for those brands. Hoorah! I am so going back for the furry yarn, mmmm, furry scarf!
Aug. 23rd, 2004 08:33 am (UTC)
Best travel post evah!
I adore you for writing this all out, cause you know I'm living vicariously through you right now, right?

Aug. 23rd, 2004 03:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Best travel post evah!
Thanks for reading it all! I had so much fun, I just had to document it. I hope the picture of Dickon & me surfaces.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


cape & merc.
Love's True Bluish Light.

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