I just returned from a trip to England, and my hometown, London. I am reminded of the famous quote by Samuel Johnson that goes, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” By the way, in case you’re not familiar with Samuel Johnson, he was a famous doctor, essayist, and poet who lived in London in the 1700s.
Although I spent my childhood and early adult years in London, my family now all live in Surrey, a beautiful county, less than an hour away from the capital, filled with quaint villages, churches built hundreds of years ago, and charming pubs where you can often find a Labrador retriever sitting peacefully by its owner who just popped in for a quick pint (the dog owner, not the dog).
On the day of my arrival at my sister’s house, she had a party. I was struck by how many different generations were there and how everyone meshed beautifully. We danced all night to a variety of current music peppered with a few oldies including a couple of Elvis songs, some Stones, and a touching rendition of Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York,” with all in attendance crooning along nostalgically with Ol’ Blue Eyes (9/11 was a few days away, so that made it even more special).
My dear brother-in-law, Alan, asked me once why I was so proud of Great Britain. I had to think about it for a while and used as a reference the movie Love Actually, where Hugh Grant plays the Prime Minister (and some people don’t think the English have a sense of humor!). As PM, Hugh was forced to defend Great Britain against the naughty American President and highlighted the following as proof of Britain’s impressive attributes: Shakespeare, Churchill, The Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter, and David Beckham’s right foot (as well as his left one). There are many, many more. I personally love the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, James Bond, Charles Dickens, Downton Abbey, the BBC, The Royal Family, Jane Austen, and good old Richard Branson. As for Gordon Ramsay, well, we all know he’s a tyrant, but he’s our tyrant.
I’m sure there are many people reading this thinking that since I love it so much, I should go back there. The truth is, I love the U.S. equally (and can list exactly what it is I love about it in another blog if anyone cares to hear). Suffice it to say, I feel happy to call Houston my home. I have no plans to return to the land of my birth any time soon, but I can still admire with great affection a small island across the Atlantic Ocean that has accomplished so much.
I can’t wait for Val and Kit to go there, in an upcoming book. I’m a little nervous about what Kit will have to say; she’s very picky. But I’m confident Val is going to love it. As we say here in America, what’s not to love?
|Most famous clock in the world.|
|Roz's niece, Jennie, sleeping in Westminster Abbey.|