"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 22, 2007


I am extremely thankful for so many things. And I wish all Stateside blog visitors a most Happy Thanksgiving!

How appropriate that today I made a Pilgrim-age. Only it had nothing to do with American settlers and everything to do with an English duchess.

Actually, I made numerous small-p pilgrimages to the shops of London. I started from our digs and worked my way northwards to Oxford Street. I won't give a boring enumeration of every department store or boutique I visited. Though I tried on numerous items and left no sales table unexamined, by the time I entered the Bond Street Underground Station to head south again, I'd only bought two pairs of socks. From John Lewis.

I know. One of the world's great shopping cities.

But--I also bought some roasted chestnuts from a street vendor. For a quid.

Arriving back at Piccadilly, I made my way to St. James's Square. There I photographed the Duchess's birthplace.

It didn't look like that in her time, but it was the the corner house, then as now.

A short time after she was born, her father built (if I correctly recall) and moved into another house in the same square. It was on the site of this one:

In the 17th century, the square didn't have a green and grassy garden in the middle, but now it does, and it's one of my favourite spots to sit and have a lunchtime snack.

In the middle of the square is this equestrian statue of William III. (Whose Queen was fond of the Duchess.)

Part of the snack I enjoyed was my roasted chestnuts.

They should properly be purchased on a bitterly cold day, preferably after dark (i.e. 4:00 p.m.) but I'd rather have today's mild 50 degrees with sunny intervals.

Wended my way to Jermyn Street, where at Floris I made up for my Oxford Street thriftiness, and on to Piccadilly where I improved the bottom line at Hatchards book shop and Fortnum and Mason in rapid succession.

Back home in time for tea.

We're having a Spanish feast for our Thanksgiving meal. Must dash, and dress for dinner.

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