Just a quick hi and some London trip highlights, ladies, because I need to catch up on my DVRd “Real Housewives” before I crash from jet-lag.
When I got on the plane last Thursday, I was emotionally wrung out after a couple weeks of serious work stuff and continuing family hardships. I needed this vacation more than any other I’ve taken. Fortunately, my friends really came through for me.
In London, I stayed at a mews house on a cobblestone street near Hyde Park. My friends who live there were out of town and their adorable tortoiseshell cat needed a servant. The kitty expected to be fed at 5 AM and amused herself by ambushing me as I came around corners, but it was a small price to pay.
I also made it out of the big city for a couple days in Kent, where I stayed in another friend’s country house. There were horses, pheasants, foxes, rabbits, ducks and the gardens were in full bloom. Here’s a photo of the back of the house, where we took our meals in a little walled courtyard:
I also made a side trip with friends to Whitstable, which is famous for its seafood, and ate at the famous Wheeler’s Oyster Bar. I can’t ever go to Whitstable without thinking of Sarah Waters’s delicious, sexy Victorian novel Tipping the Velvet—the heroine’s family runs an oyster house there.
Everything in Whitstable is charming and oyster-related.
Except for this sign, which certainly gets the point across.
Back in London, I channelled my inner history geek and went to Sunday morning services at the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula. St. Peter is the parish church of the Tower of London, and is the burial place of Anne Boleyn, Jane Grey, Katherine Howard, the Catholic saints Thomas Moore and John Fisher, and pretty much everyone else who pissed off the Tudors. I’d wanted to go for years, but the chapel is closed except for services. So off I went.
The Chapel is very small inside—all the eminent dead must be squished in tightly. But there is a giant pipe organ that has excellent acoustics.
The best part about going to the services was that they let me in at 9 AM, before the Tower opens. I was able to walk around in the Tower all by myself, except for the occasional croaking raven and Yeoman Warder. It was gray and misty and eerily quiet. Here’s the view of Tower Bridge from the walls of the Tower.
If that wasn’t macabre enough, I went to Shakespeare’s Globe to see this season’s “Macbeth.” A sign on the gate outside the theater read THIS IS A GRUESOME PRODUCTION OF A BRUTAL PLAY. And was it ever. (Special bonus points for the gloriously muscular, shirtless Elliot Cowan as the Thane). I love all Shakespeare, but “Macbeth” is probably my favorite and this was without a doubt the most unforgettable staging I’ve ever seen. If you’re in London, go see it! But don’t buy groundling tickets…trust me.
Even better than all the meals and culture and beautiful scenery was getting to meet some London Jezebels and Harpies in person! Many, many thanks and leg hugz to Gherkinfiend for being the hostess with the mostess—she not only organized a drinks evening so I could meet a crowd of beautiful, badass boner-killers, she also picked out an amazing Sichuan restaurant another evening so we could napalm our tastebuds. It was great to meet each and every one of you—thank you SO much for hanging out with me!