Please welcome today’s guest blogger: Kelly.
Today was a very English day for me. It began with a full English breakfast (well, *almost* full — I don’t eat warm mushrooms at any time of day, in any country). But the rest was great. Who would think that baked beans and warm tomatoes would hit the spot first thing in the morning? I was in a “When in Rome …” mood, unlike when I eyed the Black Pudding in Scotland back in April. (Black Pudding is sausage; it’s black because blood somehow enters into the recipe.) [Ed. Note: Black Pudding is essentially congealed pig's blood in a length of intestine. Oh, yum.]
The Englishness continued. Courtney and I walked through overcast London with about 40 other people, Day Trippers for the Beatles “In My Life” tour of London. Our guide was great (how could this not be his dream job?). To entice you: about once every two years, members of the group actually bump into Paul McCartney. (Our guide said that Sir Paul also still rides the Underground.) We, however, had no Beatles sightings.
You can make a new friend. Our guide took us outside a flat that Ringo Starr rented and then subletted to Jimi Hendrix. It’s where John and Yoko took the picture for their controversial “Two Virgins” cover. (Non-Beatles fans: Think Adam and Eve.) The lady who lives there was sitting at her window (fully clothed), drinking coffee. During picture-taking time, she chatted with some members of the group.
Clearly, the kick of living in Ringo’s former home has not worn off.
We also saw the place where Paul wrote “Yesterday” (original lyrics: “Scrambled eggs … Baby, how I love your legs”); the road that the Fab Four ran down during the opening credits of “A Hard Day’s Night”; and of course, Abbey Road and Abbey Road Studios. Several tourists got their pictures taken as they walked across the street — often in groups of four, often barefoot. The Beatles may look cool on the cover, but that’s partly because the police stopped traffic for them. The members of our group didn’t look quite so at ease, making panicked dashes to avoid being flattened by crazed London
drivers. Their photos will be more appropriate for the cover of “Help!” than for “Abbey Road.”
We then moved back from Elizabeth II’s era to Victoria’s, heading to 221B Baker Street to have the great Sherlock Holmes help us (and Arthur) find a meerschaum pipe and deerstalker cap — our favorite bee wanted to look
Sherlockian. We were partly successful: Arthur can now smoke, but he cannot stalk deer.
More Englishness: Hamley’s department store and a BBC Shop under renovation. We also went to (California-born) Tower Records. We also saw the “Earth from the Air” photography exhibit, outside the Natural History Museum. (Or, as I had more poetically remembered it, “The way the earth looks from a helicopter.”) A lot of amazing pictures of the world, interspersed with comments about the need to preserve our resources. It really is an excellent exhibition. (Click here to learn more.)