Closing this chapter

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 7:09 PM


Maybe, just maybe, I might have put off blogging the last installment of my London trip because then it will really, truly be over. The trip is in the past, and when I finish this post (if indeed I ever do finish it) then even the recap will be over. A few more weeks will go by, and I will almost forget that I had the chance to do this.

(You won't let me forget, will you? Remind me, now and again, that I went to London, even as mom with three young children. I did it once, and I could do it again - and so can you!)

On New Year's Day, the day before we came home, my sister and her husband were "in charge", and they chose yet another walking tour - this time focusing on Beatles sites in London. We met at the Marylebone tube station (say it MAR-lee-bone, in case you were wondering - I sure did).

Some of the beginning scenes of the movie Hard Day's Night were filmed here. Apparently one of the Beatles runs away from some fans down this very side street, right next to the station:

Two of the Fab Four were married at this courthouse, but I can't remember which! Richard (our guide, not pictured - which is very much your loss. He was quite the looker...if you like a prominent snaggletooth, frizzy hair, and general asymmetry) would be so disappointed that I have forgotten so much!

This apartment was a residence of, at separate times, John, Ringo, and Jimi Hendrix. Apparently the neighbors had a problem with the noise level...imagine that! Some patient soul still lives there. I guess she just keeps the curtains drawn.

This is the doorstep of the home where Paul lived for awhile with his girlfriend's family. He was living in this building when he got a melody in his head and couldn't think where he'sd heard it. He drove his friends crazy humming it and asking everyone if they had heard it, and when no one ever recognized it he came to the conclusion that he had made it up.

It turned out to be a little tune called "Yesterday". Perhaps you've heard it?

This next building wasn't on the tour, we just walked by it on the way to Abbey Road - it was just another example of a site that would have been the coolest thing in all of Phoenix, but wasn't even a blip on the radar in London. The site of a former residence of Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

On the walk, I saw this "citizen's arrest" parking ticket and just had to take a picture. It's homemade, carefully protected in a baggie so the recipient won't miss out on the reprimand due to inclement weather. I can't quite read the very fine print anymore, but as I remember it was a rather disparaging remark about the likely ratio of the size of the car to the size of one of the owner's body parts.

Of course, no Beatles expedition would be complete without a pilgrimage to Abbey Road studios. This was so cool for me to see because a lot of my favorite (non-Beatles) albums were recorded here: most of Pink Floyd's music in the 60's and 70's and Radiohead's OK Computer, to name a few.

There is a wall in front of the studio where it is traditional to write a message for the band and/or the universe. It is painted over several times a year. I wrote a message for one special person. She knows who she is.

Well, that was fun! On to the next activity.

(Just kidding. You didn't think we'd get all the way to Abbey Road and not do the zebra crossing thing, did you?)

This pose was very carefully constructed to be as faithful as possible to the original cover: Emily is George, in blue, David is barefoot Paul, I took one for the team and portrayed Ringo, and Jacob in the white shirt stood in for John.

It was awesome.

David and I got up early that morning so we could sneak in some sights before the walk that were only relevant to me: Fleet Street. As in, Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of.

(Can I just take a moment and clarify that my adoration is for the Sondheim musical, not the more recent movie adaptation, which I consider to be a not-entirely-unfortunate blip on the radar. I love Johnny Depp, but my loyalty to Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury is eternal and undying!)

Historical basis for Sweeney Todd is murky at best, but IF he existed, it is believed that his barber shop was located at 186 Fleet Street. Nowadays all that is there is a shipping and mailing business, but it still made my heart skip a beat!

Next to the barber shop was St. Dunstan's Church, which still stands. It is now a Romanian Orthodox church and the bells were tolling for a service while we were taking these pictures:

Legend has it that there was a tunnel running under the church from Sweeney's barber shop to Mrs. Lovett's pie shop in Bell Yard - where there is, incidentally, still a pie shop. I *so* wanted to eat there.

Fleet Street signage, and the closest I got to Harrod's on this trip:

And an unrelated beautiful pub building across the street from the alleged demonic barber shop. It is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the area, which was heavily damaged in the great London fire of 1666. The wooden window frame was so thickly painted at the time of the fire that the paint burned away but the windows underneath were unharmed.

And now, I will round out the trip with a few random photos of things that made me smile.

One of the many views that inspired my sister and I to repeatedly sing Chim Chim Cheree ("on the rooftops of London - cor, what a sight!")

The darling iconic red phone booths. Surely no one uses them anymore, what with these newfangled gadgets they call "cellular telephones", but if they ever get rid of them I'm sure we would all raise holy hell.

Two mamas with babies on their backs at Heathrow on the way home. Can you spot them?:

And finally, the one and only time on the entire trip that I needed sunglasses.

Traveling isn't frivolous, it is GLORIOUS and life-changing and enriching, and I'm so very grateful to my parents for taking David and I on this trip, and to Granny and Gramps for taking such good care of my three sweet babies that I didn't worry about them for a single moment.

(P.S. Have you entered my giveaway yet? You really should. Just leave me a comment and I'll put your name in the proverbial hat!)

Comments (4)

I have loved reading about the London Days. I would have loved every minute as you did. the stories keep coming out each time I read your blog or talk to Jacob and Emily. What a thrill, and now it appears that you will be cruising as well. Well la-ti-da for you cute girl. Enjoy it all!

I know exactly what you mean about it being over. I love reliving my trips and holidays when I blog about them. Perhaps that's why I haven't started yet . . .

Wasn't this amazing? I still can't believe we got the chance to go. And I could NOT agree more about traveling and how worthwhile it is. Jacob called this trip life-changing and it's completely true. To me, it says something about where my priorities should be. If there's something you want to do or see before you die, do or see it as soon as you can! You won't regret it!

I know who she is! What a cool post and a cool thing to do for a friend.

Can't get over how cool that was. Thanks again.

I love the attention to detail on that shot of you guys crossing at Abbey Road. Adorable.

And I agree a million times over that traveling is just something we should all move to the top of our list of things to do.