Sometimes you just really need a night with the girls who’ve known you since you had wire braces and a violin case and 4 shifts a week at the local carvery… Also, Leeds got pretty fancy while I wasn’t looking…
If March was the reset button, then April has been…err…how do I do this again? It’s been remembering what little things worked for me, trying to put the blocks back together in some semblance of a house.
A few things I’ve figured out about my own habits this month:
Contentment is a happy, heavy feeling. It’s a down duvet, moulding itself to your limbs. It’s a slow, deep breath that radiates softly at the edges.
We’re home from honeymoon in Sri Lanka; it was joyous and long and short and tiring and relaxing all at once; what a treat it was! We’ve never had a holiday like it.
Today I’m happy (content) to be home, listening to two of my favourite podcasts, pottering about the kitchen and considering a binge of Brooklyn 99 with the roast dinner later, which is my new favourite show thanks to the random series 3 episodes on the plane (on another note, why do airlines do that? They can’t just have the first five episodes of the first series or something?). Also lovely: walking to the shop to get milk and it being not so humid that you feel like you just stepped out of a shower. Spring time is here!
I have never before felt hungover/vaguely seasick while reading a novel. I mean, I’m a fairly visceral person, and if I read something it’s like a physical re-enactment of it, but…oof. The Girl on the Train had me feeling pretty darn queasy.
After a week of fighting, a young man in a red coat stands on a parapet
We lower our guns as he frantically waves a white handkerchief
And just like that, it’s over. We tend to our wounded, we count our dead
Black and white soldiers wonder alike if this really means freedom
Anyone who has been around me in the last month or so knows I’ve been obsessively listening to the Hamilton soundtrack. I probably know it backwards at this point. We did try to get tickets before we left but the theatre gods weren’t with me on that one (well, we could have thrown $400 a piece at resale tickets but I think even my new husband doesn’t love me that much…)
Instead we returned to the Saratoga Inn where we he had whisked me off to after proposing. It’s all gorgeous turret rooms and real fires and oh my god, where do they get those bed sheets because they feel like heaven on a stick. (It’s called Union Gables, should anyone be in Upstate New York at any point and feel the urge to stay there. The breakfast is also delicious, by the way).
So instead of immersing ourselves in the greatest rap musical ever made about a key figure in US History…we immersed ourselves in the land it talks about instead.
The battlefield trees were on fire with colour. The air was crisp, the day sunny. Perhaps it had been this pleasant when British soldiers were being forced ever backwards by a fierce US Revolutionary militia. There is little, if anything, left to demarcate lines of bloodshed any more… but poles hve been placed and fake firepits to show where the soldiers would have camped on farmland and fields. There is still an old wooden farmhouse to build impressions of tents and mud and horses around.
Occasionally a sign with an audio story will actually work, and that makes all the difference in helping you imagine the way the battle was waged…in fact, the visitor’s centre has a really great LED visualisation of the way armies surged and retreated across this vast swathe of land. Which is pleasant enough now, driving down the tourist track in our rental car…but then?
Pause, and you might hear a twig snap underfoot of a blue-coated soldier as he reconnoitres the land. It could also be a squirrel, but when you’re lucky enough to be as alone in a National park as we were, anything is possible…right?
Our relaxing post-wedding 36 hours in Saratoga also took us to the Monument, which stands at the site where British soldiers, their wives and children retreated and camped, and finally surrendered. Not as famous as the battle of Yorktown, this however was the turning point of the US revolutionary war – France and Spain sent ships and aid, and the US ‘experiment’ gathered momentum. It also took us into a winery (oops, hic) and past General Schuyler’s house, which was sadly closed, but we did do a bit of peeking around the outside…
The world burned and turn’d upside down then, but there is nothing but crickets and silence now.
Have you heard of the Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie Talkie? I had no idea it even existed until the fiance spotted an IanVisits blog post about it, and grabbed us two tickets. Amused because, we thought it would be like NYC’s Highline, but it’s more “highline for the 1%” as Sean put it…
Less sky ‘garden’, more ‘sky cafe and bar with a pleasant bit of foliage’. But the views are amazing, and the tickets are free, so, why not!?
I’ll tell you what though, it’s freaky to stand in front of the Shard at the left hand side of the viewing platform, walk to the right and see, directly in front of you…the Shard. How does that even work? The science of perspective is not my strong point.
Afterwards we wandered around Bank/St Pauls area, revelling in the quietness and the fact that we found an insane tiny Tesco chock full of American treats, a hot sandwich bar and a ton of Snapple and Arizona soda. (Nearly £3 a bottle, like). It was the first weekend since 2014 that we’d spent some time out in central London, enjoying the crazy good things the city has to offer – and for free.
2015: more tourist days in our own city. Yes please.