Category: London, 2016

Farewell to London

September 18
Though we do not leave until late afternoon, we have decided to laze around. It’s a Sunday, so things will not open early, and we need to leave quite a bit of time to get to and check in at Heathrow. Besides, we’ve run around a good deal, so resting does not sound bad.
Morning is consumed by breakfast at the Club, packing and reading. The thought of lugging everything to and through the tubes was more than I could bear, so I’ve booked an Uber (you can book one in advance here) which, God- and Uber-willing will get us to Heathrow. Cost, three times our combined tube fares, but less than half what a car booked by the Club would have been, seems well worth it (about $35).  Well, our Uber never showed and we wound up taking a (very) expensive taxi, but, what the hell, it’s vacation and money you spend on vacation is not real money, anyway.

Though I’ve mentioned The Sloane Club often, I’ve provided no look at the comfortable old English stodginess that we’ve enjoyed.  I love a bit of stodginess, particularly in England, which invented it.

We arrived at Heathrow very early, wandered through a few stores, but not looking seriously.  Have mixed feelings, mainly negative, about the “mallification” of all large airports.

So, a few reflections. As anticipated, the trip did not offer the kind of adventures our recent, exotic trips have held. But it was completely wonderful. Catching up with old friends is priceless, especially when the reconnections were seamless, as all of ours were, allowing us to pick up where we’d left off, hardly skipping a beat. These are the types of pleasures that it is difficult to capture in a blog. But seeing old friends, in its way, is as moving (or more so) than seeing the dunes of Namibia. Both have a certain grandeur, though the latter boasts considerably more sand.
Unlike my other blogs, I took no photographs, other than those taken with my iPad and iPhone. I took my camera and a couple lenses along, but never used it. Somewhat liberating, actually. And there was very little, if anything, that seemed to call for a traditional camera.
The trip was, in fact, somewhat exotic, though. After all, just think about the collection of human animals we encountered: a Hungarian/Australian/English solicitor, a Welsh painter, a U.K. Supreme Court Justice, my former US secretary, who grew up in New Zealand, a Misssissippi-born UK jeweler married to an Austalian solicitor/law professor, a London cabby, a former Tribunal Court Judge, a British children’s book editor, the daughter of Nigerian/American doctors and her husband whose wedding we had just attended in Santa Fe, the former Senior Partner of a prestigious London firm of solicitors, and a student of art history. Could one have encountered a more diverse or interesting group of species roaming the plains of Africa?

And, as if all of this personal contact were not enough, add several dashes of culture in the forms of a wonderful Hockney portraiture show at the Royal Academy, an amazing exhibit of newly-discovered Egyptian sunken cities at the British Museum and four plays (London plays having been an important part of our lives back in the 60s).

What a pleasure and privilege to be able to take a trip like this half a century after our first venture to England. London has worn well. And, everything considered, so have we.
Thanks for following, and stand by for a more traditionally exotic trip next May.

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