Tuesday, November 14, 2006

on my way to the isles

I haven’t set foot on English soil since…the previous century. It’s not on the way to anything. I know, poor excuse. Here’s another: It’s too expensive. And the weather – I have vivid memories of days when I put in precious shillings into space heaters in cheap hotels to bring out warmth there. I was newly married and life was a bubble, but in Great Britain, it was always a cold bubble. Another vivid memory: me, knitting a scarf for my new husband when I was a mere child (at 23 or so) in the cold rooms of the Scottish libraries where he was doing research. I should have been working on my own dissertation ideas then, but instead I was hell bent on knitting a scarf. (I have never completed a knitting project since.)

So England hasn’t been a destination for me. Not even a stop-over. But when I realized that I had a law school task there to attend to this month, I leaped.

And I have to admit, I’m tremendously looking forward to it. Perhaps it is a nostalgia run. All those memories of afternoons spent drinking cuploads of tea and munching on scones with cream and jam in years where it did not immediately matter (these days one such cream tea would make my wardrobe obsolete, of that I am sure).

More likely, it is that England again emerges as quaintly novel. I had to read up on how to get from the airport to the city because I did not know. I read with fascination articles about the emergent culinary scene in London. It hadn’t really emerged when I was there last. At least not in my price range.

I am about to board the plane and I am full of enthusiasm. For England no less. I would not have written that ten years ago. Puffins. It’s all about the puffins.*

* This is a reference to the fact that off the coast of Yorkshire, there are puffins. I am determined to spot some.

off to the land of clotted cream

Classes done, suitcase packed, liquids and gels poured into 100 ml containers and placed in a zip-locked bag, camera battery charged, bills paid, train schedules checked, restaurant table booked for tomorrow (yes, really -- I would do just that), and the next day (I attend to my stomach) and the next (I have no spontaneity) and the next (couldn't resist).

Unless Air France now serves WiFi along with the free champagne in its lounge, I will not be able to post until tomorrow, from London.

Tally ho and all that.