19 December, 2009

"I've been to London for Christmas . . . "

Greetings all,

For me, one of the most evocative opening lines in literature is from Out of Africa - "I had a farm in Africa." It feels like such a portentous statement. Those first six words let you know that the writer speaks of her time in Africa in the past tense. Something happened. Something changed.

Well, on a slightly smaller scale - I've been to London for Christmas. "been." Not "going," "been." Past tense. As in, not this year. I have several projects still in the 'thick of it' and don't feel comfortable being quite THAT far away for quite that long just at the moment. There was a crazed moment earlier in the week when went straight to Travelocity - grabbed a credit card - and thought "to hell with it - I'm going!" lol. But, after calming down - it's just not a good time to be away.

To say that I find London to be absolutely magical at Christmas is just a massive understatement. To be in a city filled with such rich history, such awe inspiring architecture, such beautiful music, and, well, such great shopping - jeez - I might run and grab my passport right now . . . .

Seeing this wonderful tree at the House of Parliament while on the way to Westminster Abbey for the Lessons and Carols service on Christmas Eve afternoon. Actually, it's usually still light as a pass by this tree - I tend to get to the service frightfully early so that I have a god place in line - and thus get a great seat.

Spending an afternoon at the National Gallery poking around at an amazing collection of artwork. And my other favourite The National Portrait Gallery is right around the corner.

Shopping at Covent Garden. The Paul Smith store is about 18 steps away from this little cafe and the first Neal's Yard Remedies shop is just down an alley, right around the corner.

Some years - it's been about more than just London. Riding on the Great North Eastern Railway, you an be in Scotland after a 4 or 5 hour trip up the coast . . . Passing through tiny villages. Seeing the rocking eastern coast of England.

with maybe a stop in Yorkshire - and another trip to Castle Howard.

Or maybe - Just straight through to Edinburgh - with its castle perched high on the rocky outcropping overlooking the city.

But, this year I'm here. In San Francisco. With great friends. Amazing music. A great business. And frankly, if yesterday is any sign, some wonderful weather.

And I wonder who might be sitting out there - wishing they were here . . .

with wander lust,

images all from google.


Lize said...

It is a universal truth...
(as quoted from another famous opening line of a famous writer!)
that Christmas spent at home are much nicer! Especially since yours looks so inviting!

Michael Mattison said...

Scot -- You may be way far away in SF, but you've got the very best Christmas feature on London in blogland. European cities like London and Paris really are magical in the pre-Christmas season. And at least in Paris you can stroll right into any museum; never a line. London, too, I can imagine.
Greetings from low-20's, freezing-cold Germany. :-)

margot said...

Love the post and to be honest I was actually wishing I were going to San Fran for Christmas. Have warned my brother-in-law (who lives in Dublin, Cal) that we may just invite ourselves there next year!

Jim Mullett said...

Remembering a lovely Christmas Eve service at the Abbey, and a fun Holiday dinner with you five (?) years ago... I wish I were going this year, too!!
Love the post, and all your others!!
Have a great Christmas filled with friends and good music!!

tartanscot said...


So good to hear from you - yes! that was a great holiday we spent together.

(I met Jim and his friends waiting in live all afternoon for the Lessons and Carols Service - and ended up joining in with a pile of Americans in London that year for a proper English feast on Christmas Day.)

It was one of my favourite trips!

Happy Christmas to you and yours!

La Petite Gallery said...

That was a magnificent post.
The photo's are fantastic.
You transported me to London.
Saved a ticket.
Enjoyed it.
Merry Christmas and have a fun time. Life is short.

Gwen Driscoll said...

It's kind of like the song says, "Love the one your with." I know you will have a great holiday in San Francisco though London looks amazing. Maybe one day I will get there at Christmas time. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. I always love all your posts.

Ragland Hill Social

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I loved this tour of my favourite places at Christmastime. My husband and I keep thinking about spending a Christmas in London.... could there be anything nicer???.... but cannot bring ourselves to leave the dogs over the festive season!

Kathy said...

Now Scot you are just making me plain old homesick!, but San Francisco is a really special place to spend Christmas too and I happen to have a little bit of London arrived today (my son) so I really do have the best of both worlds. your images are really beautiful and your home right here is stunning and London will wait for you :-) happy Christmas, Kathy.

GrannySmithGreen said...

OMG! I'm just going to email you a comment!

Transformations Home Stylists said...

I spent Christmas in London many years ago and it was indeed magical- bought my Butler silver plate (which I adore to this day) at the big sale at Harrods, visited the White Cliffs of Dover, bought my black patent Doc Martens on The Kings Road (which i brought out again this year), and met Sean Connery in his restaurant Langham's Brasserie (he invited me to join him and his brother at their table)- What a city! Your post captured the magic- Thanks for the ride! Robin

le banc moussu said...

Quite nice pictures about London at Christmas.I can imagine you love it at that time of the year.
Happy christmas

Ideezine said...

You've shared a great gift with us for Christmas thanks!



melissa said...

Ahh...wanderlust. Lovely post, Scot. We usually spend Christmas in London but work has trapped us here this year. Next year it's London and Copenhagen. Want to join us?

sophie dahy designs said...

What beautiful photos! I went to school in London but was never there for Christmas. Maybe someday...

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