London Walks: Hyde Park

The first time self read The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michael Faber, was over a decade ago. She hadn’t much experience of London. Now, however, she knows London, knows its general geography, and enjoys passages like the following:

  • Since moving to the West End, Sugar has taken to crossing Hyde Park, over the Serpentine into Knightsbridge, and paying frequent visits to the two Georgian houses in Trevor Square, which may look like high-class brothels, but are in fact a public library.

The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 35

  • Follow Sugar now into the great open space, the grandiose vacancy of Regent Street — admire those overtowering honeycombs of palatial buildings stretching into the fog of artificial infinity, those thousands of identically shaped windows tier upon tier; the glassy expanse of roadway swept clear of snow; all of it is a statement of intent: a declaration that in the bright future to come, places like St. Giles and Soho, with their narrow labyrinths and tilting hovels and clammy, crumbling nooks infested with human flotsam, will be swept away, to be replaced by a new London that looks entirely like Regent Street, airy, regular and clean.

The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 43

Her last trip to London was at the tail-end of October 2017. She dropped by Hyde Park and saw:

1) the Serpentine

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2) a fabulous Pavilion

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The 2017 Serpentine Pavilion designed by architect Francis Kéré

and 3) the Prince Albert Memorial:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Recommended Reading: The New Yorker, “Battle Scars,” by Benjamin Wallace-Wells (4 December 2017)

Self hangs on to New Yorker issues she intends to re-read. Today, she’s re-reading Benjamin Wallace-Wells’ piece on Confederate monuments in Virginia.

This article is about crucial history:

  • In 1890, the city of Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy, installed a sixty-two-foot statue of Lee, the first of five statues that anchor Monument Avenue. When the statue of Lee was delivered, more than ten thousand citizens lined the streets to help pull it into place.

And also has this harrowing sentence:

  • In June, 2015, Dylann Roof, a twenty-one-year-old who had immersed himself in white-supremacist ideology, joined a Bible-study group in the basement of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina and, in the midst of the discussion, rose from his chair and massacred nine black congregants.

And this about General Lee:

  • In 1866, a man named Wesley Norris had described Lee’s reaction to an attempted escape: “Not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, Gen. Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine.”

And all this bitter history culminates in Charlottesville:

  • The liberal faction that had coalesced at the hearings of the monuments commission had, in a sense, been proved right: it had said that the monuments were symbols of white supremacy, and now white supremacists were coming to town to defend them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

9/11: Chelsea District, New York City

This city holds a special place in self’s memories:

  • Dearest Mum began her piano career here, at Carnegie Hall.
  • Self worked here for a year, before entering the Stanford Creative Writing Program.
  • Her sister was married here, 1982.
  • Her sister gave birth to three children here, one of whom was married here, two days ago.
  • Her sister died here, December 19, 1991.

Because self is at the moment staying in Chelsea, here’s a view of this amazing city, on 9/11:

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New York City: 9/11/2017

Here are pictures of the children who were, respectively, six, five and six months old when self’s sister passed away:

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William and Christopher Blackett, 9 September 2017

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Georgina Isabella: 9 September 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

SYMBOL: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is SYMBOL.

As The Daily Post states: “Symbolism is uniquely human. We use symbols to represent intangible things like our beliefs and emotions, and to convert the abstract into something understandable.”

Here are a couple of symbols:

June 17, 2015, Action for Addressing Climate Change, South Bank, London: Groups from all over England came to speak to their MPs. Self was with Joan McGavin, from Southampton. Was lovely to see this red heart instead of the usual placards:

London, South Bank, Wednesday June 17, 2015

London, South Bank, Wednesday June 17, 2015

Next: On a pilgrimage to find Shadowhaunter haunts around London (You haven’t been following this blog very long if you don’t understand “Shadowhunters” LOL), self lands on Fleet Street, the street where all the English papers used to have their main offices:

Fleet Street, the Street of Journalists (Just steps away is St. Bride's, where there's a moving tribute to Foreign Correspondent Marie Colvin, killed in Hom, Syria, 2012)

Fleet Street, the Street of Journalists (Just steps away is St. Bride’s, where there’s a moving tribute to Foreign Correspondent Marie Colvin, killed in Hom, Syria, 2012)

Inside the Church of St. Bride’s, the walls are lined with photographs representing the Stations of the Cross:

Station of the Cross, St. Bride's Church, off Fleet Street, London

Station of the Cross, St. Bride’s Church, off Fleet Street, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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