Old Thing, I think I love you

Exactly a month from now, I will be wandering around London with my husband looking altogether too touristy. Hey now, those sneakers are comfy, don’t judge.

We will both likely be very jet-lagged and doing our damnedest to stay awake. My husband will be trying his hardest not to either beat me over the head or tease me as I stare and exclaim every time I see a building/monument/old thing that further cements the fact that I am, indeed, in Great Britain for the first time in my life and OMGlookit!!!! A stone wall that is really old!

People are going to think I’ve lost my nutter when I take pictures of ordinary, every day things. Why is that woman taking a picture of cobblestones? Or that wall? Or that tree? Or that random doorway? Is she insane? She doesn’t even have a fancy pro camera!

Because those things, if they could tell a story, would have so much to say. By taking that picture, I can revisit and wonder at just what it has seen in the centuries gone by. I can imagine the people, their history. I can wonder at the changes. It can fuel my belief that in noticing these small, seemingly mundane objects, we are truly appreciating the past. The culture, the people, the lives lived. Think about it…  I will be standing in a city that was a city before people even knew the continent I live on existed! A city with untold treasures under centuries of buildings, roads, and progress. I feel as if I could stretch my senses and listen to the peoples of 1500 years ago, who lived at the banks of the Thames. That I can look down at my feet and connect with the person who laid the tile on the floor of the cathedral. It is heady, exciting… And hard to explain exactly why I feel like this.

I know… I can hear the collective twirling of fingers around ears. Crazy woman, dramatizing and romanticizing old places. They’re just buildings and walls. Its just a tree. That’s just a Roman road.

Truthfully, I think about our history when I am downtown Ottawa too, sitting under the massive old trees in Major’s Hill Park. I wonder what they were witness to in the past 200 years; the secret conversations, the changing faces. I daydream standing behind the library at Parliament Hill, looking out over the river and imagining the logjams, or the workers building the Rideau Canal locks.

Perhaps I should have been an archaeologist or a historian, if my path had been different. *adds to list of Sliding Door plot ideas*. I tend to get a little exuberant about really old things. I think I might just be that kind of person on a dig who would get excited every time they unearthed a pottery shard, or old button. Right…

Being as this is our first time to visit the UK, I am absolutely beside myself. We are going to a wedding (of good friends we are so excited to see!) at a Norman keep. I get to go riding. In England (bucket list item)! We get to walk onto London Bridge, take a picture or a video, and send it to our kids. All because London Bridge is their favorite song, and they know all the verses. Yes, there are multiple verses. Do you know them? I didn’t, until my son educated me. Its a LONG freakin’ song when you add in all the verses, you know.

And yes, my son knows that the Tower Bridge is not London Bridge. He is quite adamant when you try to trick him. Although he thinks the Tower Bridge is pretty neat , and makes up songs about it, too.

We are planning, in our short visit, to try and take in some of the must-see places in London before we jet out to where our friends live, to explore Essex in all its early Spring wonder. We don’t have time to do a trip out to somewhere outside of London before the wedding weekend, so we compromised. The next time we go, we’ll be able to say we’ve “done London” and can visit further afield, like Stonehenge, or visit the 432 castles I have on my Castle Bucket List. Tintagel, here I come!

And let’s not get into the trip I want to take solely to hike the length of Hadrian’s Wall. This will happen, people. Who wants to do it with me?

So i am asking you, friends, what should we see? We’ve got the usual suspects, such as Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Westminster, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Kew Gardens…Fleet St., Picadilly Circus… It is a little silly all the places, right?  I could go on. So, let’s get down to brass tacks. What truly awesome bit of London should we explore? What old things should we love?

Help me find the stories.

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3 thoughts on “Old Thing, I think I love you

  1. In order of your suggestions:
    Tower of London. I have been two or three times now (I think two) and I absolutely loved every second of it. Love love love love. Read as much as you can about it before you go. Makes it so very thrilling.
    Buckingham Palace – meh. Walk by it. It’s okay.
    Hyde Park – hope for sunshine because it’s incredible. Wait until you see the bridle paths! Go to Harrods, walk the length of Hyde park to Buckingham palace and up the Mall to Trafalgar square. It’s a few miles, but man oh man, on a sunny day, pretty!
    Westminster – expensive to go in (16 pounds per person! or about 25 dollars) but they give you a radio thing to listen to and it was so pretty. No cameras allowed, you can buy an overpriced guide in the giftshop. But the royalty and literary giants buried there are worth the money. The history is awesome, and Andy had never been before we went with my mom and said he wished he had before.
    St.Paul’s I still haven’t been inside, can’t comment.
    Trafalgar square, see above!
    Kew Gardens – you need a good three or four days to get everything in! We went in March a couple of years ago and it was miserable weather. If the magnolia trees are blooming with the daffodils, worth a walk, but way out of the way tube wise. You can’t really “walk” to Kew, but the neighbourhood is quite quaint!
    Fleet st…meh
    Picadilly Circus. Except for the gift shops and people around, you’ll be completely underwhelmed.
    Plan one evening out in Covent Garden, we always have a lot of fun there, and you can stop in for a drink at the Maple Leaf…the Canadian Bar! (I know that you probably just want to do English, but it was always fun going here!) Regent street and subsequently Carnaby Street is a lot of fun to walk along and wish that you had lots of money ;)

    I wish you had more time. I absolutely freaked when I went to Bath it is so gorgeous and Jane Austen country. There are lots of little castles and things around here to see – we have lots of suggestions and ideas.

  2. Wow, I absolutely love your enthusiasm for the UK! As a resident returning from a long stint abroad, I am trying to rekindle a passion for these blustery isles, starting with a to-do list for the year. Yes, I want to see a castle! And thank you for the inspiration to add Hadrian’s wall to my list, I am from the north and live near by. It’s great when eyes are opened by a little inspiration.

    • I sound corny, but I like to put my hands out and touch the rock or other such thing and think about the person who put it there. What it must’ve been like for them. My husband laughs at my fervor, but it really is a wonderful thing to experience.

      Check out the Antonine wall too. It has some awesome history.

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