London Calling

category Jane Austen, Karen M Cox, Life | 0
Part 3 of a 3-post blog series on my trip to England last month. Did you miss the other posts? Well, here they are:

Part 1      Part 2

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The last week of my trip to England was spent in London. This was the fast paced,”I’m in the big city, how many things can I do in a week?” section of the trip. And we managed to do quite a lot: a trip to Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral and a drive by the White Cliffs of Dover looking across the English Channel. A trip to Greenwich, to see the Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian line. A boat ride on the Thames, a ride around the London Eye, and many trips on the Tube, London’s underground system, to various locations. We visited several museums: Victoria and Albert, the British Gallery, the Portrait Gallery, the British Library, the British Museum, the Churchill War Rooms. We went to Harrod’s, Selfridge’s, walked by 221B Baker Street and up Bond Street. We toured Westminster and the Tower of London, and saw the Crown Jewels.

Before I left home, a colleague who was born and raised in England told me that unlike our part of America, where things are big and spread out, England seems close and small. London was where I felt that the most; crowds were everywhere. Of course, we do have crowds in the US, and I’ve experienced them in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, but I can see what my friend meant. London had a different vibe than the American cities I’ve visited. Perhaps one might call it ‘cozy’. The closest analogy would be to New Orleans (although there’s no place in the world like the Big Easy), or maybe Boston?

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Clockwise from top center: standing on the Prime Meridian, High tea at Selfridges, Rosetta Stone, Going home, Me and my pal Caesar, Up in the London Eye, sleeping on the Thames, London

 

One of the highlights of London was the face-to-face meetings with Austenesque authors LL Diamond, Jenetta James, and JaneV. Leslie, an American currently living in England, was fun and easy to talk to. Jenetta, another Meryton Press author, met us for coffee one morning, and I greatly enjoyed getting to know her as well. I also was grateful to meet Jane, who has beta read each of my novels and some unpublished work as well. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to talk with her in person—what a gift!

The group picture was a challenge, but we managed…

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I saw so much, it’s still a bit of a blur, with memories triggered by photos, or by odd snippets of conversation. Several people have asked me if my trip inspired me writing-wise, and the answer is: not yet. I think the experience will have to settle a bit first, before pieces of my time in England drift back through my mind and thus, inform the elusive muse.

The Muse (Auguste Rodin) V&A Museum
The Muse (Auguste Rodin) V&A Museum

 

All in all, England was a joy. It’s a place full of dichotomies: wealth and working class, country and city, history and present-day, continuity and change. I’d love to go back someday. Maybe fly to Manchester and tour around the north, up into Scotland, and over to Ireland. I know I could make a dozen trips and never see everything that interests me, but such is the irony of being a traveler—the more you see, the more possibilities you want to explore.