Friday, April 25, 2008
what we did in london (part 2)
Tuesday, April 15th
My friend K. flew all the way from Holland to be with us! We were college room-mates almost twenty-four years ago and became close friends within minutes of meeting (I have very fond memories of being silly together and confiding in each other. She also went to great lengths to help me get over a broken heart. Our adventures included her taking me out on a sail boat so I could scream far away from human ears and to Vancouver, where we stayed at a seedy hotel and pretended we were all grown up).
We'd met up only three times since she graduated. She came to my home town for a few days that first summer and back to visit a couple of years later. Then we lost touch until 2005, when she came to Montreal for a conference and I took the train to meet her for dinner out and a pajama party. Every time we've re-connected, we've picked up the thread of our friendship as though it had never been dropped.
K. is a doctor now, with two beautiful daughters and a spouse who sounds like a great guy. We had a fantastic time together, talking, laughing and playing tourists in London.
That Tuesday morning, S. and I met K. at her hotel, which was just around the corner from ours. It was a beautiful day, so we decided to walk through Kensington Gardens towards Buckingham Palace, stopping for lunch on the way. We hung for a while outside the palace, went into the palace shop to get some souvenir baubles and then toured the Royal Mews. I have to admit that I would have skipped the mews if it weren't for K.'s suggestion that we go. And it really was fun. We saw the queen's horses,
and carriages (the most impressive of which was the one last used for the coronation in 1953).
I am not a monarchist but I was fascinated by the palace and its trappings. It's hard to imagine that these things and all that staff (most of whom actually live in flats on the palace grounds or in the mews themselves) actually belong to real people. How bizarre.
Once we were done with the palace, we crossed the street to buy a teapot. I know this is very cliche of me but this will be my third from this particular London store (the previous two were broken. I bought the first when I first went to London in 2000 and the second was a chemo present I ordered through the mail) and that use a particular kind of filter for loose tea. The three of us decided that I should spurn the more tasteful teapot for it's more garish counterpart.
Teapot in hand, we made our way back to the hotel, where we had curry, dessert and wine, courtesy of Marks and Spencer.