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thinking about jane

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library." -- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

The good thing about winter is that it makes fine weather for staying indoors, sipping hot chocolate and snuggling under the afghan for a spot of delicious reading. Jane Austen has been on my brain. It started the other week after viewing "The Jane Austen Book Club." I realized that I had read Emma and Pride and Prejudice, but the not the rest. This oversight must be corrected! 

While in London, I was staying in Highgate near Highgate Cemetery and Hampstead Heath. The heath offers grand sweeping views of the city, especially from Kenwood House, a small museum featuring the work of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Constable, and other notable British and Dutch painters. It's free too, donated to the country by the first Earl of Iveagh whose great grandfather had founded the Guinness brewery in 1759. (Just another reason to like Guinness.) Walking back to Highgate Village, you can swing by the cemetery to see the graves of George Eliot, Karl Marx and Jane Austen's cousin, Eliza Austen. 

Romantic comedies to be sure, Austen's novels are also a scathing critique of the times, especially of the limited roles for women and their dependence on men. A feminist with a bonnet. I love her descriptive details. Sink into your chair and escape for a few hours. 

 So with Jane Austen in mind, I am starting my own version of a Jane Austen Book Club. You can join me through Good Reads where I am registered as Enjolive. In the meantime, enjoy these lovely romantic creations found on Etsy.

London Calling

 ©2006 Lindsay Obermeyer London

“You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”  -- Dr. Samuel Johnson

Some places get under your skin.  For me, it's London.  It is where the person I am now originally calcified.  

I first visited London at the age of 14.  I walked mile after mile of its streets taking in everything from Brick Lane to Big Ben.  I returned at 16 to study art history at Harlaxton College just outside Grantham.  It was then I made the decision to leave behind the world of economics and concentrate my energies on art.  For the next 10 years i returned to England to study twice more, finally ending up with a freelance artist work visa.  

Emily and I had returned to the motherland 3 years ago, my first visit in 5 years and her very first.  She hated it.  She hated the weather, the food, the crowds, everything.  She couldn't understand why I wanted to go back.  But this was my choice of vacation and i wanted to go to London to visit friends, see familiar sights, and drink loads of tea.  Begrudgingly she went and funnily enough, this time she didn't want to come back.  

London has worked her magic once again.

I debated during this trip whether I should finally close out my British bank account.  Was I ever really going to move back?  I discussed the pros and cons with my branch manager and came to the conclusion that I don't know what the future holds, so I had better keep that account.  Certainly there was some nudging by my daughter who wants to return to cooking school, this time in London.  There were the fellas who own Dean and Hudson, a lovely new cafe on Archway Road, encouraging me to open a shop.   With the steady development of Enjolive, I really could live anywhere.  Oh, who knows.  Vacations are like that, they give you time and space to relax and think.  Sure this was partially a working vacation, but still the time and space to consider new possibilities.   

London is calling.