|Making friends at Windsor castle.|
It's hard to believe on this wintry Northern California morning, but I was in London a couple months ago. It was all rather sudden and seems a bit like a dream now. Lana's husband, Rich, was working there for seven weeks. Lana took a leave from work and went for a month. I took a leave from work and went for a week. Lucy went the same week and worked with her colleagues in the London Facebook office. We missed Allie, who had just begun her new job at Sunshine Sachs in NY and couldn't get away. We had to soldier on without her.
I love London. Who wouldn't? It's such a sensible, yet sophisticated city. I feel a connection to that city. I always wonder whether it's because my immigrant ancestor on the Partridge side (who departed in 1650 for the wilds of Massachusetts) was from England. If he had stayed maybe I'd be living there and have a cute British accent and adorable window boxes.
Other than my stint in Hollywood, I seem to gravitate to upscale areas. This trip to London was no exception. Lana and Rich stayed in a gorgeous one-bedroom apartment in Knightsbridge and graciously allowed me to surf their high-end couch. A block from Brompton and two blocks from Harrods’s, the location was grand.
|Drinks in Marylebone.|
One of the best meals we had was when we met Lucy for lunch at Facebook. The food was incredible. It was fun to see that location. It's a great space and so different from the Menlo Park campus. We also had an excellent dinner at Bistro One Ninety, the restaurant at The Gore Hotel in Kensington.
The fall weather was crisp and festive. I love how beautifully people dress in London. Yes, we were in upscale neighborhoods, but there wasn't a sweatshirt or pair of yoga pants to be seen. Try that in Beverly Hills. We saw men pushing babies in carriages dressed to the "nines". I'm not sure what that means. I'll have to look it up. Anyway, they wore gorgeous coats, scarves and shoes. They really ruin the look by smoking cigarettes, though.
My favorite historical outing was the trip to Windsor Castle. We took the train to Windsor and ate lunch in a pub that is hundreds of years old. Then we toured the castle. The Queen’s flag was being lowered just as we arrived so she was on her way out. Darn. Just missed her! The gothic St George's Chapel is spectacular. It's not every day you can commune with the tomb of Henry VIII. The dollhouse is amazing, the dish display dazzling. The weapons room is extremely weapony. Kind of a guy place.
The woodwork is gorgeous and the views from the castle are positively baronial, but what truly charmed us was the wallpaper. Since you're not allowed to photograph inside the castle I'm starting to forget the patterns, but I remember pink and yellow flocked wallpaper. We ran from room to room admiring each one more than the one before. I just love that house!
In fact, I'd like to be invited back. Several times a year the Queen invites folks over for dinner and then they spend the night. They arrive in the late afternoon; have dinner in one of the dining areas followed by witty repartee and entertainment in the library. Guests then sleep over and depart after breakfast. The problem is, you need to BE somebody in order to get invited. Last year actors Daniel Craig and Helena Bonham Carter were "Dine and Sleep" guests.
|My bed and breakfast. In my dreams.|
I did digress from the tourism trade to do a strange thing. I got my nose pierced. Whatever possessed a 56-year-old woman to walk into the basement of Top Shop in Oxford Circus and get a pierce? I'm not really sure. I've always wanted a little post (not a ring) and after I saw a gorgeous woman and her adult daughters all with pierced noses I had to have it.
|The frightening creature who pierced my nose.|
We got to talking with the owner of the first shop and he was familiar with Mill Valley. He wanted to know if we knew the Saarman family. Did we know them? Claire, Emily, Isaac, Norah and their mother, Sarah?! Of course. Our kids all went to Park School at different times together.
In the second shop the proprietor also knew Mill Valley. His wife is from Kentfield, his in-laws live in Noe Valley. In fact, he told us they named their child "Noe" after the street in San Francisco. I'm not sure if it's a boy child or a girl child, but it's clearly an original choice for a name. We stopped talking to people after that. Who knows how many more connections we would have made. It IS a small world.
It all seems so long ago. Some details from the trip are drifting away, but I'll always have the pierced nose to remember it by. No, I won't. After a couple months I was over it. I took it out and let it close up. But I will always have my memories of Windsor Castle and the visions of Dine and Sleep that dance in my head.
|Memorial poppies at the Tower of London.|