England in the Footsteps of Its Literary Giants
Copyright Louise Hathaway 2014
Since first watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan when I was eleven years old, I’ve always had a fascination with England. Not only did I want to buy all of the albums by the “British Invasion” bands, but I also wanted to have my hair cut like Twiggy’s and buy Yardley Cosmetics so I could look like the famous English model of the 1960’s, Jean Shrimpton. My husband and I took a Literature class “just for fun” one summer, and I liked it so much that I ended up getting a Master’s Degree in English Literature several years later. After I graduated from college, I had a grand aspiration: I wanted to visit as many literary landmarks in England as possible. My husband was interested in literature too (lucky me!), so he was the perfect traveling companion on my quest.
First stop—“London Calling”—as one of my favorite British “New Wave” bands declared. “Paradise,” I thought—“the land of Dickens and Oscar Wilde”. Upon arriving at our hotel, the first things I noticed from my room’s window were the rooftops of London: they looked just like the ones I’d seen as a child watching “Mary Poppins”. I could almost see Dick Van Dyke dancing next to the Victorian chimney tops singing “Chim-Chim-Cher-ee”. Our hotel room had a wonderful sitting room—complete with a welcoming and toasty coal fire. We imagined living there permanently as we relaxed every afternoon, munching on shortbread “biscuits” and sipping our tea out of Villeroy and Boch china. Although we had planned each day with a busy itinerary, we made time each afternoon to come back to our room to spend an hour or two of quiet reading.