Where are the Punkers? London and Windsor
Over the next two days, our darling girl had classes, a mixture of online and field trips around the fashion world of London; exploring fabric shops in London sounds so romantic.
We walked along Regent Street, up from Piccadilly, and down memory lane. Both of us having visited in our ‘80s youth. Gone are the Anarchists and English Punk, who made London vibrant. Yes, as a twelve-year-old, the Punkers were scary and authentic — they were a heartbeat who made the whole world a bigger heart.
|Queen Victoria at Windsor
Hard Rock Cafe!
Inside Hard Rock, the hordes of energetic Americans are missing, the encased costumes are of current performers we hardly recognize. The burgers are still terrible. And, it made me nostalgic for our cultural individuality.
|St. Pauls Cathedral
Where are the anarchy-punkers?
We found London homogenized. There is a Starbucks, or Five Guys, on every corner; Adidas, Nike, and Lululemon on every chest. It used to be Londoners could tell Americans by their clothes, and Americans needn’t hear an accent to know an Englander. The commercialization has made London as normal as New York, L.A., or Denver. Just remember to look the opposite direction when crossing the street.
We decided instead of doing the big tourist stuff, we would look for some hidden gems. They embed many gems in the London Silver Vaults. This purposed built 1885 building for the Chancery Lane Safe Deposit Co. has been transformed into a silver exchange mall. Vendors safely store all sorts of silver bric-à-brac for sale, mostly aimed to catch the eye of interior designers for the rich and famous.
We continued to the rose gardens of Christchurch Newgate. Once a Franciscan monastery, built and expanded on in the mid- to late-1300s, it has had many fates and suffered many plagues. Now, a bombed out WWII rubble pile, only the bell tower remains. Londoners created a public garden within its staggered brick walls, making rose tea out of roses. Across the Thames river is an ornate gate — St. Christopher Wren’s Temple Bar. The gateway demarcated the limits of London for 200 years. All these lovely hidden sites were free for the sensory enjoyment.
We travelled out of the big city noise and trained to Windsor. Not having planned our trip very well, we came to find out that Windsor is closed on Wednesdays — our day there. They suffer the same fate as the US — staff shortages and decreased fall travel. We walked along the river. All was quiet and the Royal Swans were sunning themselves. We stumbled onto a family boat-leasing company. Something John has always wanted to do, since his mom read him “The Adventures of Frog and Toad,” was to go punting on the Thames. This is actually the best view of Windsor Castle; getting a full horizon of the 1066 William the Conqueror behemoth.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
With a little time left, we shopped in Eton — the finishing school for all the Royals and wealthy English children, named Eton College. A flock of boys came out in their uniform, pinstripe slacks, black coat and tails, and a cheeky boy exuberance. It was quite an endearing sight — history is still alive outside of the Ton.
London has many cultures in one community, many more than the US can boast. Taste-buds flip on the delicacies; thanks to the sun never setting on Victoria (the wrongness of colonization aside), the spice trade has not died. For our first dinner in town, we went to the oldest Punjab restaurant in London. Yes, we have dined here before. And, for our last night, we found ALEXANDER the Greats in Soho. A friendly place with wonderful food. It’s very authentic, and the young man serving us might not mind if Evie returned (so winks Wingmom) it is nestled in the heart of the young peoples Camden, London.
We toasted our last evening at a Speakeasy. It’s an odd London fad right now. These are “secret” bars that require reservations; hidden behind bookcased stairwells leading down into the bowels of the London basements. Which is rather silly, considering England never had Depression-era Prohibition — another homogenization of London, I suppose. The bartender had more shots than we had booze in our glasses, but cie la vie.
The experience brought back ideas of real London architecture, 400-year-old red brick walls and arched alcoves. I imagined how many different worlds must have occupied this cellar. The stories the mortar could tell, the wars that it had survived. I miss the intrigue of London, but maybe it was all just idyllic girlhood wonder.
|Windsor Town Park
|Windsor Castle Gates
|Windsor Castle by the Thames