London in Love

Love is in the air.

Lately, I have been surrounded by the signs and symbols of true love as I traipse around London town.

In early September, we were blessed with a hot sunny weekend reminiscent of the Indian Summer days I love back in Connecticut.  I took full advantage of the weather and had my own little Sunday in the Park with Jackie (sorry George!).  We brought along her good friend, Martha, and strolled for hours through Hyde Park, basking in the sunshine and the scenery.  The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain was overflowing with children in love with fun, splashing in the water and frolicking in the grass.  Even Jackie and Martha got into the spirit as they shed their hard teenage shells and happily returned to their carefree inner child.

Just this past week, I roamed the city while perched atop a Fat Tire Bike on a tour through the parks and city center.  It was glorious clear and crisp azure-skied Fall day, and as we pedaled through Kensington Gardens, we stopped to admire the Albert Memorial.  A bereft Queen Victoria built this gargantuan gaudy and gilded monument to glorify her beloved husband after his untimely death.  It’s immense size and overdone decoration literally symbolize the bounty of her love.

On our loop around the city center, we noticed that every lamp post in Westminster is adorned with both a decorative script W and a curious double C symbol that has always reminded me of the famous Coco Chanel logo.  Indeed it is no coincidence.

                                  

 

 

Legend has it that the second Duke of Westminster, Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, was so love-struck by Mademoiselle ‘Coco’ Chanel back in the late Twenties, that he ordered all the lamp posts in Westminster to be adorned with her initials, alongside an ornate W of the Duke’s crest. Poor old Hugh was left heartbroken when, despite his extravagant gesture, Chanel turned down his proposal of marriage saying: “There have been several Duchesses of Westminster, but there is only one Chanel”.  She even spoke with style!  Though their liason did not last, Coco and the Duke are forever coupled on the lamp posts of Westminster.

Last night, I entered the famous Globe Theater to watch a production of Taming of the Shrew.  I couldn’t help but recall the movie,  Shakespeare in Love, which portrayed this type of theater with authenticity.  A pit in the center held a standing audience while three-tiered circular stadium seating surrounded the stage.  Within this setting, serenaded by minstrels in tights, and entertained by players in Elizabethan costume, I felt transported to another time.

 Of course, love was literally in the air as the the play revolves around this eternal theme.  Unlike Coco who let her man know who was boss, Katherine succumbs to Petruchio exclaiming near the play’s finale:

Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign….

Her soliloquy was a little much to bear in today’s age, but the jilted Duke of Westminster would have certainly applauded Shakespeare’s words.

I stepped outside during the interval and took in the sight of St. Paul’s dome shining in the moonlight along the Thames.

This beautiful view seemed to flirt with me, and I’ve developed quite a crush.

It’s hard not to fall in love with London!

 

 

 

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