Thursday, September 20, 2012

A London Sketchbook

In honor of British Month, I pulled off my shelf a "London Sketchbook" which I bought after my mother and I spent ten days in England in 2002. The book features watercolour paintings and pencil sketches by Graham Byfield. It is a wonderful armchair tour of the many buildings, parks, streets, and monuments in that vibrant city of over eight million people.

The paintings are accompanied by notes handwritten by the artist (and are sometimes a bit difficult to read). I have set it out on a table open to the page showing a painting of Tower Bridge. Tomorrow I will change it to another page and another scene. I don't know why I didn't think to do this at the beginning of the month.

In the front of the book I found a day-to-day account of our trip that I wrote for a friend who was going to visit the city and wanted suggestions on what to see and what to do. I was instantly transported to London, a city I described as "a town full of cell phones, shoe shops, and old stones." Here is what Mom and I were doing ten years ago today:

20 September 2002

Bus trip to Stonehenge and Bath. This takes all day. Stonehenge is eerie. A lot of big stones on a big wind-blown plain. The day was overcast which added to its mystery. The best thing about Bath was that I got to purchase a box of note cards at the Jane Austen Museum which I had seen featured on the museum's web site. Famous women writer note cards: Woolf, Eliot, Austen, and Bronte. We ate a Cornwall pastie for lunch. Cheese and onion stuffed into a flaky turnover that sat like a stone in my stomach.

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