A blog about my photos, my artwork, quotations, ideas, collections, passions, England, authors, handwork of all kinds, rusty bits, buffalo, and architectural detail...for starters. And the occasional rant.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mixed blessings

One always hopes that holidays will be filled with fun and adventure, new experiences, new friends and a wealth of photo ops. I can honestly say that today had all those things and I look forward to sharing many of them. Today also had a personally horrifying accident, a mortifying incident, rain, another mortifying incident, a camera issue, an enormous disappointment, and some pain. I do NOT intend to share any of these - don't ask. At some point, in a couple of months, I will find it all very amusing, then we'll talk about it.

Although the camera issue will prevent me from posting any photos today or tomorrow (everything but restaurants are closed on Sundays), it is fixable and recoverable.

We had sunshine this morning and after a good solid night's sleep we got an early start. We were at the nearby Starbuck's five minutes before it opened and sat out front in the sunshine gazing one short block to the Thames. It was one of those moments where I turn to my daughter with an enormous grin and say "We're in London. That's the Thames. I am one happy camper." We had a nice chat with a Englishman who lives in New York, and got to know a lovely barrista named Megan. We will be seeing quite a bit more of her I suspect.

Our first stop of the day was Cecil Court, a small pedestrian alley off the infamous Charing Cross Road loaded with old bookstores and other ephemera and print shops. The storefronts were all Victorian and there was a blue plaque indicating that the 8 yr old Mozart had lived there in 1764. It is also believed to be the inspiration for Harry Potter's Diazon Alley. It was heaven for this book-lover. In particular, the Children's book shop that specialized in first editions and noted illustrators made a strong attempt on my spending money. Since any one of the books would have effectively demolished my spending money, I was able to resist. The antique shop was just chock full of wonderful small and very expensive items. I did find a lovely small handpainted enamel of the Tower Bridge which I couldn't resist. It will go in my guest bathroom. Why, you ask, would I want to put something like that in my bathroom?

This should answer that question
We moved on to Leicester Square expecting to spend a good hour sitting there soaking up the ambiance and taking pictures of the new Charlie Chaplin/Little Tramp statue and the big Shakespeare statue in the center of the square. What we found was the staging area for a parade celebrating the 2557th anniversary of Buddha. We happily followed the parade into Chinatown (in the middle of London's Soho area) which is where we were heading anyway. The best part of the rather uninspiring parade was the two dozen adorable little Asian girls in their best dresses carrying small spring bouquets and the one adorable little blonde.

London's Chinatown is neither old nor very big. What it is, is full of restaurants. Every variant of Asian cooking is to be found there and we found one that served some terrific dim sum.

Our day ended with the FA Cup game. I won't bore those of you who are not remotely interested in football (that's soccer to you back home) with any details except to say the game is the culmination of countless games between teams at many levels. I am delighted to say that the underdog, the team with a small budget, relatively unknown players, a good guy owner, and a popular manager - a team teetering on the brink of relegation - thrilled us all in the 90th minute and made football history by vanquishing a team currently in second place in the top league with a virtually unlimited budget, world renowned and extremely well paid players, and a coach with a short fuse. It was brilliant!

As we were leaving Chinatown we passed a betting shop showing Wigan at 15 - 2 odds. We joked about placing a bet on Wigan, just for the fun of it, knowing we would be throwing our money away.  It would have been a very good idea.

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