Windsor CastleThe trip was all we'd hoped for. It was the perfect 25th anniversary celebration, with plenty of time to reconnect with our daughter studying abroad and see 'her' London. There were opportunities to meet with friends, old and new, see a show, and visit historic sites and museums. Sure, there was a little rain and the natives kept apologizing for the cold weather, but it was wonderful to see daffodils, crocus, forsythia and flowering trees!
Hampton Court PalaceFrom the moment we checked into our hotel room with its beautiful view of Kensington Gardens, to the final day touring Winsdor Castle and Hampton Court Palace, I loved every moment! A highlight was meeting the lovely Claire from Paperback Reader at Primrose Bakery for cupcakes and tea. We recognized each other immediately. She was so friendly and easy to talk to, and we're still laughing about the Swiss tourists who took our picture because we were such 'typically English people drinking tea'! Wish I'd remembered to take a picture of my own....
This meeting tempered the previous day's disappointment of missing Verity in Oxford. Our group tour took us to Warwick Castle, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and finally to Oxford where we had less than 15 minutes of free time. Our tour guide did hustle us past her library though...
"Are you in there, Verity?"
Naturally, I made the pilgrimage to Persephone Books. The shop was just as cozy and charming as expected, and I came out with a dovegrey tote filled with six books and matching bookmarks.
From the bottom:
The Priory by Dorothy Whipple
They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple
The Closed Door and Other Stories by Dorothy Whipple
Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries of Vera Hodgson 1940-45
Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
Good Evening, Mrs. Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes
We also visited Waterstones, where a few more treasures were collected.
From the bottom:
The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt (I really dislike the US paperback cover)
A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor
Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym
Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym
At this point, with mounting concern over luggage weight limits, my book browsing was curtailed. There was nearly one final purchase at Heathrow Airport.... I needed a copy of South Riding, but my husband, already toting a carry-on loaded with 10 books, put his foot down.
So, did I read on the trip?
I listened to The Color Purple on the flight over (outstanding audio read by the author), got through a stack of New Yorker magazines, then finished Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller as our return flight landed.
Ten exciting new books to choose from, but the last month of the TBR Dare and a post- Hampton Court "Tudor mood" lead me to start Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. As many bloggers have noted, unclear usage of the pronoun 'he' is annoying, but I'm quickly becoming engrossed in the story.
On audio, The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner has captured my imagination. Stegner's Crossing to Safety is an all-time favorite, and this 20 CD semi-autobiographical family saga has me totally hooked.
Have I missed anything important while away? Unfortunately, I had to press the 'mark all as read' button on my google reader. Let me know if there is something I should go back and read. It's good to be back...