london is a victoria the size of L.A.

(By the way, folks, I don’t have access to LJ. The internet service
here at the hostel blocks it for some obscure reason. I cannot read
ANY blogs until I get off my lazy ass and take my laptop to go jack
someone’s wifi. And it’s one thing to do that with my Vonage phone,
as I have been – but another to do it with a whole laptop in London
rain)

This is my third day in London. Today, I walked from Westminster
through St James Park, and then a bit into Hyde before coming back to
catch the tube and return to the British Museum for a second go. But
when I walked into St. James Park, I actually spontaneously started
crying. Because it looks so much like Beacon Hill, back in Victoria,
and I’m always, somewhere, at the back of my mind, homesick for
Victoria.

Even in London. Because here, there is the Britishness I grew up with
– but not the feeling of being on the edge of the world that made
Victoria so special. London looks very different than Victoria, and
yet I catch, in a sense, the underlying themes and currents that the
homesick colonials built onto the Island. Maybe it’s the northern
latitude light, maybe it’s the buildings (the originals that my
hometown has knocked off), maybe it’s just being someplace where the
Queen’s face is on the money. This is the original that Victoria takes
inspiration from, and this feels a bit like a Victoria the size of
L.A.

And really, it just makes me long to go stand on the edge of the
Island and look out across the Straits. It makes me long, more than
ever, for the Pacific Northwest, where I can walk out from amongst the
neat brick buildings and old stone buildings, and look out at the
mountains and ocean. I wish I had time to go out to Cornwall or
Wales, or up to Cumbria where my father grew up. Those would be
places that, I think, would satisfy that longing.

But today, as I said, I walked a lot. And then I went to the BM
again. AND THE ROMAN BRITAIN EXHIBIT WAS CLOSED.

(**nerd alert**)

British history is one of my hobby areas of study. Others are the
American West, Settlement Of and Los Angeles, City Of. But I have a
running fascination with Early Britain, or, Everything Up To Elizabeth
I (who is one of my historical heroes, and I can’t wait for the HBO
series). I’m especially fascinated by the history that actually
makes up my DNA My father’s family have been in Carlisle
forever, up in Cumbria, and there’s a fairly decent chance that
they have been there since they were known as the tribe of Britons.

So I REALLY wanted to see the exhibits on Roman Britain, particularly
the Mildenhall Treasure. I read a Roald Dahl nonfiction short story
of how that treasure was found, seventy years ago, and was enthralled.
But it was not available. I still had lots to fascinate myself with
though. There was lots of early medieval art and household items,
things which tell us how people lived two thousand years ago. And
there was the entire Sutton Hoo burial mound exhibit, burial mounds
that contained household items up to and including an entire ship. I
was transfixed staring at artifact after artifact, imagining these
tribes and civilizations of the early British Isles, that have since
been overshadowed in our historic consciousness by the Romans who
conquered them.

I also am fascinated by the era immediately following Rome’s fall –
the idea of Angles and Saxons building in the ruined villages. It’s a
startling image, the fall of a civilization, and the rise of the next.

(** end nerd alert ** )

Tonight, I was actually out at ElectroFest, in Camden. Yes, I am in
Camden a lot. It is the Silverlake of London. But that’s a whole
separate writeup, because I saw a couple of my favorite synthpop
artists, and some seriously solid industrial, and thoroughly enjoyed
myself so much that I forgot I was there on my own.

Oh, and dufresne is here now to keep me company! But he’s
out, and I’m not, and now I think it’s time to go wipe the eyeliner
off with Boots brand face wipes, and catch some sleep. Tomorrow is my
last day of exploring historical Londinium.

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