5 things I love about London

Only three days until I fly across the pond to attempt to settle in Washington, DC. I feel like this two-month stay in London just flew by! I’ve grown quite fond of this city and feel very privileged to have been able to experience a slice of British life.

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As a special hommage, here are 5 things I particularly enjoyed about London (I am not counting obvious things such as Kensington Garden, shortbread biscuits, free museums etc…) With a little help from the talented photographers on Flickr:

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Dans trois jours on quitte Londres et on s’installe à Washington, DC. Voici 5 choses qui me manqueront particulièrement (bon, je ne compte pas Kensington Garden, les shortbreads, les musées GRATUITS, le charme des petites rues so british et tout et tout…) Jolies photos trouvées sur Flickr.

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#5:

Disappearing London (3), by Gervaulx

"Disappearing London (3)," by Gervaulx

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The courteous and sympathetic British police officers who found my wallet (including my GREEN CARD! *That* was a scare.) just a couple of days after it was stolen by a pickpocket. I was amazed at how nice and thorough they were, even for such a “minor” crime. Thank you!!!

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Eh oui! Les gentils policiers qui ont été super gentils et pros quand on m’a volé mon portefeuille, et me l’ont retrouvé en 2 jours!! (il y avait tous mes papiers dedans, y compris ma carte verte… ça aurait été une galère sans nom de repartir aux US sans…) Bon faut dire que quand on vit aux US, on apprécie les policiers gentils et polis…

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#4:

David Suchet / Poirot by Holypug

David Suchet / Poirot by Holypug

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The fact that EVERYDAY on British TV there are Agatha Christie adaptations starring the great David Suchet as Hercule Poirot. My love for the little Belgian (“NOT French”) detective started many, many years ago.

In fact, my mother finally “weaned” me off bedtime stories at the ripe old age of 8 by reading me half of an Agatha Christie novel, which I then had to finish by myself if I wanted to know “whoddunit.”

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Quand on a, comme moi, grandi avec Hercule Poirot, on est vraiment, mais alors super contente quand ils passent des adaptations de romans d’Agatha Christie en boucle à la télé!!!

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#3:

Mystery Yellow Woman at Spitalfield by Pit Van Meeffe

Mystery Yellow Woman at Spitalfield by Pit Van Meeffe

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The quirky yet classic elegance of many Londoners. Love the tailored coats, feminine shoes, cardigans over liberty dresses, crazy colors.

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L’élégance décalée de beaucoup de Londonien(ne)s. Le savant mélange entre le côté classique intemporel et les couleurs/accessoires totallement inattendus.

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#2:

Cardinal Humes Charity Shop by Canis Major

Cardinal Hume's Charity Shop by Canis Major

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Charity Shops: in a city as expensive as London, there’s got to be a trick to getting cool stuff for less. In the case of charity shops, MUCH less. They are everywhere, and the prices are usually really reasonable.

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Heureusement qu’ils sont là, ces charity shops, parce que dans une ville aussi chère que Londres, où est-ce qu’on trouverait des supers fringues et babioles pour presque rien?

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#1:

Liberty Stack by Ravenhill Designs

Liberty Stack by Ravenhill Designs

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Libertyyyyyyyyy!!!!

Thanks to the web, I discovered where one should buy one’s supply of Liberty while in London. For about half of the usual price (actually, much less if you only need bits).

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Grâce à quelques petites recherches sur internet, j’ai maintenant de nouveaux fournisseurs de Liberty à moitié prix (ou moins si on se satisfait de petits coupons)

Haberdashery galore

Even though my budget is very limited while I’m in London (no job! London crazy prices!), I do a lot of window shopping and everything here is a feast for the eyes.

In particular, London is just full of cute little shops that have been around forever and that are insanely specialized, like this one, The Button Queen, in which a very proper middle-aged British gentleman will assist you with all your buttony needs… In fact, I really had to refrain myself not to give in to these needs.

The Button Queen

How cute is this little guy?

How cute is this little guy? Come on, click on the picture!

On my way there, I walked by this beautiful display of wallpapers… Aren’t these cool?

A bit further still, there is a wondrous, candy-store-like establishment, called VV Rouleaux, which has every conceivable ribbon, bias tape and other colorful trimmings…

VV Rouleaux

VV Rouleaux

Close-up of VV Rouleaux's window

Close-up of VV Rouleaux's window

More VV Rouleaux yumminess

More VV Rouleaux yumminess

South of Oxford Street, I found the venerable MacCulloch and Wallis in a quiet alley away from the bustle:

Everyone is very serious and every so slightly stiff in there, but it’s the real deal. Fabrics are on the ground floor, and you make your way up grimy stairs to a cramped room full of notions, buttons and picky old British ladies. A narrow staircase leads to the top floor, which houses a few sewing machines and pattern books.

Nearby is Liberty of course — The thing about Liberty, though, is that I really wouldn’t buy anything there, everything is so ridiculously overpriced… I mean, $40/yard for Liberty fabric? Pretty much anywhere else is cheaper. However, the building is absolutely breathtaking so it’s totally worth it to go there and just gape at all the beauty and opulence. In particular, I love the little flower shop in front of the side entrance. Here is a beautiful photo by Maki, which I found on flickr:

Liberty of London flower display, photo by Maki

Liberty of London flower display, photo by Maki

On the Road

Just a quick post from our motel room in Tulsa, Oklahoma…

We are at the midpoint in our road trip to Cape Cod. So far, it’s been eventful: stopped by the police TWICE… looking for our motel in the middle of a storm and a town-wide power outage in Tucumcari, New Mexico… Beautiful vistas, too, of course.

I’m getting a bit sick of eating fried food and ribs but other than that, we are having a blast. I haven’t knit a single stitch on the road so far, but it might still happen!