Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Not-So-Literary London

This is Ben Reeson. He's Australian, hence the troubled expression, and he possesses a strangely encyclopaedic knowledge of London architecture. Last year, I took him on a less-than-worthy tour of Singapore's grand marina, and on my recent trip to London, he showed me the highlights in a brisk caper through Buckingham, Whitehall, Southbank, and Trafalgar Square.

The little house that didn't fit 

In some parts of the world, Ben is known as "Cheekbones" Reeson. 

A pair of brothers eyed me disdainfully from the wall.  

And finally, at the end of the day, a view from Primrose Hill

Dyrham Park

Technically I've had four housemates this year, two of which rarely occupy their rooms. While Rachel has been a constant, Yaya has been in London and Emily in Birmingham and beyond. On a rare occasion where (most of) our paths crossed, we decided on a picnic outing at Dyrham Park.

Dyrham Park was partly closed due to renovations. Instead, special tours along the rooftop had been organized to allow visitors a glimpse of the work in progress. I'd recommend this experience. 

The grounds are magnificent

and the tea garden ain't too shabby either. 

Literary London

My friends, so many things have happened in the past few months. I have been everywhere from Durham to Wales, and have been visited by three ghosts a retinue of friends from Sweden and Singapore. Here. Look at my pictures.

I went to London with my Londonian friend Katie. We stayed at her parents' house in Lewisham. 

She comes from a very literary family and loves books with all her heart, Charles Dickens in particular. To her name, she has three first editions: Little Dorrit, Dombey and Son, and Nicholas Nickleby. Her family owns Our Mutual Friend

We would begin our days with tea and honey toast in the bright kitchen.  

Her mother and father both enjoy gardening, but her father is the one to tend the roses. He once went around London with a bag of hollyhock seeds and planted them wherever he saw fit. His wife calls it "guerilla gardening." 

For our first day out on our literary tour of London, I dressed appropriately. 

In the Dickens Museum 

Trying on Victorian hats and dresses 

We had tea and cake in the museum garden.

London requires lots of traveling by the underground. After the Dickens Museum, we managed a trip to the Museum of London before our feet gave out. I would highly recommend it just for the Victorian walkthhrough and World War II display. I almost bought a top hat in the souvenir shop, but settled for a quill pen.

We visited Borough Market the next morning, the oldest and largest food market in London.

The buildings were built in 1851, but the market itself dates back several hundred years.

  After Borough Market, we walked along the Thames to Covent Garden. 

We met all sorts of people along the way.

I suppose no trip to Covent Garden is complete without a stop at the Moomin Shop.

This cashier and I had a nice chat.  
"Who's your favourite character?" he asks.
"Snufkin," I say without hesitation. 
He rolls up his sleeve. "Me too."