When I win the Lottery, I can go to Italy on my own terms, and choose my own company.”–Margaret Drabble’s The Seven Sisters
Like Candida, I recently received a letter. I learned that my mother left me a tiny amount of money nobody knew about: it will pay for a trip to London!
I have never been so excited.
I come from a family of aerophobes. My mother never got on a plane. She seemed wistful about my travel experiences. (I am not an aerophobe.) Even a trip by car from Iowa City to Des Moines seemed long to her. Near the end of her life she’d say, “I’ve never flown.” She wished… And she knew that my living with another aerophobe had made it impossible to cross oceans on family trips.
And so I’m planning my own trip, without the aerophobes. Suggestions, anybody?
MY PLANS SO FAR.
1. Reread a lot of Dickens so I can be overprepared for a Dickens walking tour. Or should I just stick to the Dickens museum?
2. I love looking at art. Good art, bad art, old art, new art. So I’ll be spending time at museums. Do you have any favorites? Any off the beaten track?
4. Bookstores? Used bookstores especially? (And should I bring an extra suitcase, or mail the books home?)
4. Can’t-miss plays, concerts, etc. for 2014? Or theaters I should tour? Or whatever….
TEN FAVORITE BOOKS SET IN LONDON.
1. London Belongs to Me by Norman Collins
2. The Heart of London by Monica Dickens
3. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
4. The Needle’s Eye by Margaret Drabble
5. The Provincial Lady in London by E. M. Delafield
6. Lucia in London by E. F. Benson
7. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
8. Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell
9. The Portobello Road and Other Stories by Muriel Spark
10. The Four-Gated City by Doris Lessing