Emily and I

Emily and I

On the train yet again. I don’t mind it, I think trains are wonderful.

Dian and I leave London, to make our way to Edinburgh. I have to say I knew I would be right, right that while Emily didn’t love London, I would, I did.

London 1900In the chapters that she writes about London in Growing Pains she wrote pretty much misery. The people, the dirt, the streets, the history, all of it was so horrid she chose to write about little else. I understand at the time that she herself had visited it had been a different London. Quite different, though ironically I think how wonderful it would be to step back in time and see London in 1899-1900. Regardless, I understand that for a woman to be on her own in a huge city in the Victorian era, the expectations and life would have been very different.

“So I looked at London from different sides, mostly hating it; cities did not sit on me comfortably. There were a few little tag ends I loved, insignificant things that most Londoners scorned, but the oldness and history of it made little appeal to me.”

“History always had bored me. Little Arthur’s History of England in its smug red cover-ugh, the memory of it! And now here before me was the smugness of it ossified, monumented, spotted with dates thick as an attack of measles. The English had heads twisted round onto their backs like drowsy ducks afloat, their eyes on what they had passed, not on what they were coming to.”

British MuseumThis is what Emily writes in Growing Pains, and I couldn’t have wanted to argue with her more. On some things I think Emily and I would have gotten along, and I still say that I would love to have her over for dinner and talk to her one on one.

But not liking London ‘cause it was old and not new, makes me wonder if the new we have now, the present is something that she would have cared much about?

Like Emily I ,too, went to The National Gallery but loved the old masters, and the beauty and stories their paintings tell. I love that admission is free and so there are no barriers to enter or return save your own time constraints, and that I love when looking at my watch realizing I have some time to spare, that my going into a gallery or museum can be a choice, to just be surrounded by beautiful art, even if it’s just for a short time.

I walked the streets with more confidence and direction, still knowing I have a long way to go before I figure out the city in its completeness but feeling much better than when I stepped off the plane over a month ago now.

The old is what draws me to these European towns. It is what I love.Sherlock

Emily came for her art, wherever she went, it was for her art. I come for something different, what that is just yet I have an idea but don’t’ fully know, but I do know that for now, I am sure enjoying my time  in London more than Emily ever did. A shame really.