The most frequently asked questions upon my return from London were:
- Did you go to an English pub?
- Did you see the Changing of the Guard?
- Did you see any celebrities?
Answer to Question No. 1. Je regrette that the answer is No. Technically I did not visit an English pub. At the Dickens Museum, I may have seen a jolly illustration by Phiz of a fat man drinking ale. The character may have been Mr. Pickwick, but I have not read The Pickwick Papers, so I cannot say for sure. I do know that it was not Oliver Twist holding up his bowl for more porridge. (“Please, sir, I want some more.”) Technically, an orphanage is not a pub though some may call it a Porridgery. I did eat fish and chips across the street from what may have been an English pub.
Answer to Question No. 2. Je regrette that the answer is No. You must get up early in the morning to see the Changing of the Guard. I believe the ceremony is at 11 or 11:30 a.m., and I do need my sleep after drinking tea and staying up till the wee hours to finish my book. No, I prefer to skip the ceremony and visit the used bookstores when they open at 11:30 or noon.
Answer to Question No. 3. Je regrette that the answer is No. The prime minster, mayor, actors, actresses, writers, owners of famous restaurants, musicians, intellectuals, and columnists were all at the English Pub. I nearly met a quasi-celebrity when I admired the “puffy coats” in a painting and was told the artist was “hanging around somewhere.” He was probably at the English Pub. The only people who looked like celebrities were shopping at Daunt Books. Well, Mayfair is very glam, and what is more glam than glam readers? Perhaps they were on the way to the English pub?
Maybe next time!