Mary Payson. Jaffrey, New Hampshire.
Rob Stephenson. Jaffrey, New Hampshire.
Krista Yasvin. Periac-sur-mer, France.
David Fogle. Annapolis, Maryland.
Mary and I set out from Jaffrey on Thursday 3 November. Flight from Logan to Heathrow and tube to Green Park, then by foot to the Lansdowne Club off Berkeley Square. About mid-day, we walked over to the Covent Garden Hotel to say hello to Joanna Heathcote who I hadn't seen for years. This is a "boutique" hotel she has as a client. That night we headed out to Dulwich for the AGM and dinner of the James Caird Society. The next morning Krista came to the club and we cabbed it to Paddington. And from there by train to Marden, a village not far from Devizes in Wiltshire. we were on our way to spend the weekend with Krista's friends Sue Collison and Mark Noble. We arrived in a bit more than an hour at the very nicely restored station at Pewsey. Mark picked us up and soon we were at The Millstream enjoying a beer. Sue arrived soon after. Not long after we were at Marden House Farm. Here's a bit of the house.
SOME INFO ON CLOTH FAIR (from the Landmark Trust Handbook): These plain Georgian houses over shops face the churchyard of St Bartholomew the Great, which almost alone among City churches escaped the Great Fire of 1666. They were sold to us by the late Paul Paget, who had rescued them many years before, with No. 41, the only remaining house in the City built before the Fire. Round the corner is Smithfield market with its robust architecture, sights and smells, facing the noble buildings of St Bartholomew's Hospital. Further along Cloth Fair are new houses, bringing domestic life to this part of the City.
There is here a lingering feel of how alive the whole City of London once was before it was destroyed by money, fire and war--a place where long-established institutions, trades, houses, markets and people of all kinds were mingled together. Each of our houses has a respectable staircase, pleasant rooms and nice old joinery. No. 43 was long the home of Sir John Betjeman.
From the logbook:
This house is a remarkable oasis in central London, particularly at the weekend.45 Cloth Fair. Our flat consists of the two floors above the shopfront on the left. You enter from the passage behind the bollard. Next door is Betjeman's, a restaurant that recently changed hands. We ate there twice, first for lunch on the day of arrival and then after our first "Garden Party" on Wednesday. Roland is the manager.
The whole ambience of the flat in this historic Part ofthe City of London was restful and pleasing to the eye, as well as having all the comfort of 'mod cons.'
History comes alive when you stay at Cloth Fair.
We had a wonderful stay here at Cloth Fair--a beautiful flat with its views of St Bartholomews. This is at least the 10th Landmark we have stayed at, and, as usual we found Cloth Fair as lovely as the others.
On our first night at Cloth Fair we went off to visit the Dennis Severs' House at 18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields. I had arranged this beforehand over the internet. I first learned of this from a New York Times article on March 21, 1991. Have had the article in my "must do on a future trip" file ever since.
We arrived at 6 and waited outside until called. Entered and paid our money (£12) and adjusted our eyes to the darkness. Started in the cellar and worked our way to the attic. It didn't take much more than half an hour. We all came to the same conclusion: bizarro world! There's an awful lot that is unauthentic, just piles and piles of stuff of indeterminant origin and age. Several "docents" standing around motionless and silent. Be sure to take a little flashlight with you as an awful lot can't be seen easily because of the darkness. They must go through a ton of candles a year. For more, see www.dennissevershouse.co.uk
Afterwards we went back to Cloth Fair and after a drink headed to the other side of Smithfield Market to Abbaye, a Belgian Brasserie and Beer & Mussel Bar. Naturally, we had beer and mussels and, of course, pommes frites. Excellent.
On Tuesday, the four of us took the tube to Leicester Square and we wondered to the National Portrait Gallery, then next door to the National Gallery. From there, walked to the Golden Lion in King Street opposite Christie's and had a good lunch. Later in the day I picked up my William Morris fabric from Harrods. This I ordered several months ago. Destined from slipcovers for two chairs. That evening, David hosted us at a fine dinner at the Reform Club. The Cloth Fairies plus Hermione Hobhouse, an old friend of David's, nad John Jeronomo, Daivd's successor at Kiplin Hall. A beautiful clubhouse. Had liver and bacon.
Wednesday was a lovely day so we thought, "why not try the London Eye?" None of us had done it before. So we tubed it to Westminster station and walked across Westminster Bridge. Surprisingly, tickets were available right of way and we waited all of ten minutes, if that. Here's Krista, David and Mary.
Later that day we were all back at Cloth Fair preparing for "Garden Party No 1." Of course, no garden at Cloth Fair, unlike our other Landmark Trust houses. But that's what we call them because one is not supposed to have parties in the houses. Among our guests that night were Judy Skelton, Michael O'Higgins and a friend of David's whose name escapes me. Afterwards, we all repaired to Betjeman's next door.
On Thursday, Krista, Mary and I left David to his own devices and headed to Greenwich aboard the Docklands Light Railway. Strolled to the National Maritime Museum which we spent perhaps an hour at, then traipsed up the hill to the Greenwich Observatory. Mary and Krista stand a day apart (?) from one another, straddling the prime meridian.
We thought lunch might be called for so dropped into The Yacht, a riverside pub. We all had fish and chips. Krista then headed for the Cutty Sark and Mary and I headed in the other direction to find Enderby House, where the Enderby Brothers carried out there Antarctic whaling enterprise. Finally found it but not without some backtracking. We remet Krista outside the Cutty Sark--she had just been interviewed by The Telegraph . . . something to do with apples--and headed by the DLR to Canary Wharf, where we got off and walked to the Thames to pick up the commuter boat. A nice trip on the boat to Embankment. Krista back to Cloth Fair and Mary and I made stops at Fortnums and Sotherans. Bought a book from Stuart there. Maldon salt at Tesco's for Mary, then back to Cloth Fair and some tidying up for "Garden Party No 2."
This time our guests included Juliet Evans, here talking with Mary, and Wendy Driver with David.
On arrival we got a cab to Warkworth House (see below), our hotel for the next three nights. We ended up with a "family suite," 3 beds and a bath at £85 per night. Excellent value for Cambridge and a much better hotel than we were expecting. After organizing our stuff, we headed off to central Cambridge but with a stop first at The Clarendon Arms for a relaxing lunch. Later in the day we went to Scott Polar Research Institute where I was due to give a talk the next day. With Bob Headland, set up my computer and the projector and fortunately, everything worked fine. That night we went to the Corpus Playroom, a student theatre near the Cambridge Arts Theatre. A very funny comdey called "Dead Funny." Afterwards, we had dinner at the New Gulshan Indian Restaurant in Regent Street.
Krista and Mary set out for the Fitzwilliam Museum and I headed back to the hotel to change and prepare for my talk at 5 pm.
The Scott Polar Research Institute with the Shackleton Library on the left.
After the reception, Mary, Krista, I and Mike Tarver walked to the Panton Arms for a beer, shortly to to be joined by Joe O'Farrell. Afterwards we (less Joe) had a pizza at Zizzi in Regent Street.
Our final stop was St. Bartholomew's Church in Groton. This tiny village was the birthplace of John Winthrop founder of the city of Boston, and first governor of Massachusetts. The church contains what is supposed to be his parents' tomb. Winthrop was the leader of the disillusioned puritans who fled England during the reign of Charles I. Mary, Charles and Krista at the entrance. And the Winthrop stained glass windows.
We ended the day with tea at Charles' house in Fulbourn, then back to Cambridge.
The next day--Monday--Krista left early, then Mary and I, after breakfast, walked to the bus station and left on the bus for the three-hour trip to Heathrow. Plenty of time, particularly since our flight was delayed two or so hours.
We made it back to Logan, then the bus to Framingham, met by Jeff and Jamie. Dinner at Joe's American Bar, back to their house, retrieved my car, and back in Jaffrey around midnight.
An enjoyable trip.