>As always, London was brilliant. I am sadder than ever that Husband's potential job in London fell through last summer. I so adore it.

My flight landed a bit early on Thursday night, customs was empty, and the tube came almost right away, so I arrived at my friend Mara's doorstep around 9 pm. We hung out with another friend of hers, then went out to meet a crowd of randy Brits for drinks. (I even had a Pimm's, which horrified the experienced drinkers, as they informed me, "Pimm's is a summer drink." However, they were even more horrified to discover that otherwise I rarely, if ever, imbibe.)

Friday, Mara and I hung around her neighborhood until the afternoon. Then we had fish and chips at The Golden Hind in Marylebone (which is the neighborhood Husband and I planned to move to before the deal fell through). On the way, we walked through a festively decorated passage:After eating, we decided to eat more, and went to Borough Market, where I saw pheasants for the first time:I also ate many samples of cheese and the most delicious custard tart ever ingested.We then wandered around a bit, then called it a day and had dinner at her flat. (Mara is an amazing cook.)

On Saturday, we headed out early to try and eat breakfast at Gordon's Wine Bar, which is thought to be the oldest wine bar in London, and literally is partly in a cave. However, it didn't open until 11, and we were planned to take a walking tour at 10:30, so we dived into a little cafe instead.

The walking tour was excellent. I learned about the installation of London's sewer system after the summer of "The Great Stink," when the Thames was so rancid that members of Parliament could not open their windows. I also learned that the Waterloo Bridge was built by an all-women crew, since the men went off to WWII. Shockingly, it still stands today:I mean, who'd've thunk that women could do construction 'n' shit? Sigh...

I also got a brilliant shot of the original Scotland Yard from the 5th floor terrace of Royal Festival Hall, which is a great public building in and of itself:
(It's the reddish brink one.)

Next, we went through an area revitalized and operated by the Coin Street Community Corporation, a community development group. The organization does affordable housing, social services, and commercial space. I have no idea what all this carved wood was about, but I loved it:The whole thing once again made me sad that a) I didn't move there, as I would love to work for an organization like that; and b) that I won't work in community development directly with my new job. Oh well.

Finally on the walking tour, I loved this collection of M. Potato Heads in someone's arched doorway:Mara had to work on Sunday, but Husband came into town for work, so I spent the day with him. We headed east to see an exhibit of works by Sophie Calle (totally brilliant) at the Whitechapel Gallery, then beigels with salt beef (aka corned beef) at my favourite bagel place in the world, Brick Lane Beigel Bake. On the way to the gallery, we passed the smartest store awning ever: Husband loved that the banner above it advertised a weight loss clinic. Down the street, we saw:Full (from beigels, not Tubby Isaacs jellied eels), we headed back to the fancy area near our hotel, stopping at Selfriges Department Store's Really Really Great Garage Sale, which took place in the car park. I am honestly not sure what the hell it was - lots of random junk on tables, and some women kept trying to get me to buy a word process for 5 GPB - but it did have, uh, reindeer:
And that was my whirlwind weekend in London. Yes, I cried on the tube as I headed toward the airport on Sunday night. The good news is that Steph is coming to stay with me this weekend, so that will be fun. It's always easier to come back from a trip when there are other good things to look forward to.

*For the most part...