"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Non-traditional Thanksgiving

In the years of my marriage, we have rarely spent Thanksgiving at home or even in the United States, last year being a rare-exception. More typically we've spent it in Bristol or London.

It has been a week of reunions, with longtime friends and newer ones. The day after our arrival, we hopped a train to Bath with our Friends From the North Country, aka the Newlyweds aka the Honeymooners, for a lunch party with the Chap's retired business partner. I'm not certain how to describe them...they used to be our Friends in Clifton, then they were our Friends in France, and now they will reside in both France and Britain, having purchased a new property in Bristol environs.

We had booked a table at Cafe du Globe, a wonderful Moroccan restaurant in the North Parade, for a protracted and festive lunch. We remained in town the rest of the day with the Honeymooners, who had never been there, giving them our version of The Tour.

We started at Bath Abbey.

And ended at the Royal Crescent.

And of course made sure they saw my favourite buildings!

They picked up some Christmas pressies for family before we hopped the train and returned to London, dining at my favourite pub.

In the dining room is a portrait with a dog who reminds me of Jewel.

And every time I visit the Wallace Collection, I gawp at this little dog, who reminds me of Ruth. Who likes to cuddle.

Yesterday the Honeymooners had a list of Things They Wanted to Do and Places They Needed to See. So I guided them around. We began at King's Cross Rail Station, and the famous Platform 9 & 3/4, where Harry Potter and his mates catch the Hogwarts Express. We went over to the British Library nearby, where I spend so many hours in research, to explore the treasures in the permanent exhibition. Some of which include the Codex Sinaiticus, Jane Austen manuscripts and her writing desk, the first draft and the libretto of Handel's Messiah, handwritten lyrics by the Beatles, the Magna Carta, Lindisfarne Gospels, Sherburne Missal, and so much more.

After a quick lunch we met the Chap back at St. James's, Piccadilly, for a midday concert by a remarkable and truly gifted soprano. It's a very familiar place, we've sometimes attended Sunday services there, and the acoustics are amazing. Here is the organ loft.

The Chap had bought me a new UK mobile phone. That might explain why I'm smiling as I pose here in St. James's Square. Or it could be because it's a place so closely associated with characters in several of my novels.

One of the Honeymooners wanted to purchase some cd's at HMV (check), the other wanted to see the French Impressionists at the National Gallery (check), and I wanted them to see Cecil Court (check). And then we met the Chap a the Wallace Collection for a quick view. And then on to yet another favourite drinking establishment, for a pint and a catch-up before dinner.

On our way to the restaurant I paused and posed for a necessary photo.

We had the best Indian meal ever in London, I think. We had high hopes, knowing the place well, and they were exceeded. The restaurant had moved premises and re-hired their former chef, and we couldn't have been more pleased!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone Stateside. We are mindful of our blessings, and oh, so grateful. And I like remembering that Ruth & Jewel will be eating roast turkey today even though we won't be!

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