Archive for January 11th, 2013


TND – Christmas in January

January 11, 2013

London 2

There’s a comment that Helene Hanff makes in one of her letters in 84 Charing Cross Road about visitors to England that has always stuck with me.

A newspaper man I know, who was stationed in London during the war, says tourists go to England with preconceived notions, so they always find exactly what they go looking for.  I told him I’d go looking for the England of English literature, and he said:
“Then it’s there.”
(Helene Hanff – 84 Charing Cross Road – letter April 10, 1950)

My parents lived in London for nearly seven years when they were first married, and their London is a combination of half-forgotten trivia like what color the Bakerloo Line is on the London Tube Map, memories of places they used to go when they were young and fancy-free (as opposed to now when they are more mature and fancy-free), and surprise at how much London has changed in the last forty something years.

My London is an amalgamation of landscapes read about in Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, regency romance novels, Victorian murder mysteries, and urban fantasy novels, jumbled up with images gleaned from BBC police procedurals, Doctor Who (which admittedly is mostly actually Cardiff dressed up as London), and sweeping BBC historical dramas. Read the rest of this entry ?