Getting Lost is the Best, OR Questionable Statements That Honestly Only Apply in Certain Cases

It’s getting cold(er) here. As I come from a scorchingly hot state in the American south, I’m always delighted to be in a place where a peacoat, scarf, and boots are going-out necessities.

My home university gets about this chilly (55 degrees Fahrenheit in the day, 45 degrees at night) towards the end of October, but here it’s already happening.

I love it.

Last night I was walking home in the cold from dinner and some light grocery shopping (extremely light, to be honest…I only bought wine gums and jelly babies), and for a little while in the dark, I confused Malet Street with Gower Street and was disoriented for a while. Malet Street is a smaller road that parallels Gower Street, and since I’d lost track of how many streets I had to cross before I met Gower, I stumbled upon this unfamiliar view and wondered where the major road and university buildings had gone:

Malet Street at night, Bloomsbury.

And it was lovely. It was cold and completely silent and lovely. Suddenly I was home.

– – – – –

Tower of London.

Last Friday I was at the Tower of London with a friend who came down to Oxford for a short stay. To my dismay, the Tower didn’t photograph well. But this did:

Tower Bridge.

And so did this, which looked moody and gorgeous in the rain:

Palace of Westminster.

View of the Old War Office from the Horse Guards Parade.

Taking pictures of/with guards at major London landmarks will forever be an awkward and bewildering pursuit. My friend — who had one of those super-stunning, professional-grade Canon cameras — wanted a photo of one of the guards here, and he gave his permission with a slight nod before making some kind of “come here” gesture with a gloved hand. But it also looked like a “please tip me” gesture. We thought about this at length before deciding we’d never know what he actually meant, especially because the guards aren’t actually allowed to, you know, speak to anyone.

We ended the day with coffee.

Cappuccinos at Costa Coffee. The charming hearts on top are made of cocoa powder sprinkled through a stencil.

– – – – –

Saturday night’s touristy pursuits consisted of a showing of Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information at a theatre in Sloane Square, Chelsea. As an attempted writer, sometimes I get pangs of frustration when I see a film or play or read a novel that is in exactly the kind of spirit I’ve been trying to get across for a while. Love and Information is a minimally-staged, rapid-fire piece that shuttles through what feels like hundreds of characters and scenarios in the space of about two hours. It plays with themes of knowing/not knowing, memory/forgetting, human connections…all the lovely little things I like to think I pay attention to in my own writing. And — most brilliantly — it does away with the need for context. Each scene drops the audience in a random situation with nameless characters in a nameless place and still delivers, without backstory and complications, pure emotional truth sans embellishments. All this time I’ve been trying to figure out a way to piece together context-less fragments into a cohesive fictional whole, and here, Churchill has done it. In a play — considerably more difficult to execute than a novella or series of poems.

Royal Court Theatre, Chelsea.

– – – – –

After the show, my English professor took us — our seminar class, that is — out for drinks. Everyone else awkwardly had water, coke, or lemonade, making me the only one besides the professor to take anything alcoholic. Oh, my life. That one wasn’t even on my bucket list.

– – – – –

In other, irrelevant news, I really want something made of Scottish tweed. Maybe something from one of the charming shops on Museum Street in Bloomsbury.

– – – – –

Foraging:

I’ve discovered Nando’s — specifically the one at Brunswick Centre. God bless it. It’s like a Chick-fil-a, but with more attitude and less homophobia.

I also stumbled upon the Thai Garden Cafe on Museum Street this past weekend, which is slightly pricey considering its fare, but I was just so glad to see a Thai restaurant in London that I let it go just this once.

– – – – –

On heavy rotation: “Summertime Sadness” by Lana del Rey.

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2 thoughts on “Getting Lost is the Best, OR Questionable Statements That Honestly Only Apply in Certain Cases

    • Not yet, I haven’t! I was just there last week and it never occurred to me to look for anything besides sweets there (because I was just so dazzled by the candy room). I’ll give it a go next time!

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