Clutching my passport, wheeling recalcitrant suitcases, collecting misplaced paraphernalia, and searching for door C on level three, I barely had time for a goodbye hug with friend Heath before I was on my way home. The past twelve days of constant companionship had become telescoped into a quick slip of time. Thought and emotion became condensed into a whisp of smoke, and zip … I was on my own, on my way home.

In fact, I was on the road back to Connecticut, in a strange car, with a driver whose English was iffy, taking a shortcut through the gritty side streets of Newark. I’m pretty sure he told me we were headed to the Garden State Highway, but as we had left behind all signs of normalcy and anything like a major highway, I began to wonder if I was being taken for a ride. However, I was too tired to be worried, and numb to the idea that I might have gotten into the wrong car. So what? If I was going to be found chopped up into pieces with my dirty laundry spread out for the crime scene investigators to sneer at … at least I wouldn’t have to unpack.

However, in the end, the Garden State appeared, and like the baggage I packed haphazardly the night before, memories of London and the Cotswolds came home with me in an untidy jumble. Now, after a couple of weeks, I have become reacquainted with lovely memories of time spent with good friends, and the warm comradery that we shared. The trip was a wonderful compilation of design and artistic exploration, musical experiences, good eats, and good times.

We walked through neighborhoods and poked through boutiques, consignment shops and Marks and Sparks. We shopped for shoes and eyeglasses, socks and shirts. We strolled through a lovely mews imagining life lived in such cozy comfort within such a bustling city, and found ourselves on a street of shops all about designer children’s wear. We had morning coffee and pastry in London, and full English breakfasts in the country.  We had drinks in a posh gin bar in Knightsbridge.and at a classic old London Hotel in Mayfair, and afterward creaked up and down the stairs of the London Underground amidst the crush of rush hour traffic. The street wear being worn on the Underground was worth the trip. And the window shopping never got old.

We took the #22 bus the length of the Kings Road to Land’s End to check out the designer showrooms, and a few days later, walked the aisles of Decorex, the designer trade show. We were wowed by our trip to the newly opened RH showroom in the Cotswolds, and spent the day amidst the luxury of a really magnificent showcase of fine design. Kudos to Heath for suggesting the trip. If ever you have the opportunity …

We listened to the artistry of Chopin performed in the beautiful candlelight setting of Saint Martin in the Field, and were enthralled as a chamber orchestra surrounded us with musical perfection in the outstanding acoustics of Cadogan Hall. (With many thanks to Barbara for the treat.) We spent hours examining the fine craftsmanship of Coco Chanel at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and experienced the timelessness of Frans Hals at the Royal Academy. We visited the Wallace Collection and were once again overwhelmed by the riches there. We visited Anne’s daughter Alexa in her workplace, a radical art gallery cum jewelry showcase experience to be savored over time. We visited an auction house with contemporary art on view, dropped into a magnificent book store in Marylebone, and yet there was so much more to explore. Twelve days just didn’t seem long enough.

However, in the end it must be said that most of our time was spent catching up on the twenty something years since we had all been together last. And it seems that time really hadn’t passed except I was just that much slower up and down the stairs. And of course, I’m still unpacking … both luggage and memories.


  1. I imagine some of your wonderful art will come from this immersion in a different cultural and visual experience. I look forward to that.

  2. Until our next adventure the memories remain vivid. I am ever so grateful for our decades of friendship that all started with the Union Jack and design interest.

  3. Only you, dear Connie, could summarize your trip with such zest, wonder, and wise appreciation. I’m sure your traveling companions feel you “got it said.” I’m going to the UK next spring, and I hope I’ll feel so fulfilled. Welcome home.

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