Welcome. This is my blog, and you're my most coveted guest. If I seem a bit too intense, it's only because I have so much that I want to share with you, and I can see that you're eager to begin as well. So, please...make yourself at home, sip an East India cocktail (I blended the pomegranate juice myself), and sample some of my domestic and imported Arcana: useless, but fascinating information about Victoriana, Steampunk and other favoured topics; music which evokes that dark, lost Lenore sensibility; and other pleasant or, perhaps, unsettling non sequiters whispered in a darkened room. Linger long or short, leave a comment or refrain, but remember to come back soon to play a (shhhh) parlour game.
Velkommen. Dette er min blog, og du er min mest eftertragtedegæst. Hvis jeg synes en smule for intenst, det er kunfordi jeg har så meget at jeg vil dele med jer, og jeg kanse, at du er ivrig efter at begynde så godt. kan du ...føl dig hjemme, sip et East India cocktail (jeg blandetden granatæble juice mig selv), og prøve nogle af mine indenlandske o importerede Arcana: ubrugelig, menfascinerende oplysninger om Victoriana, Steampunkog andre begunstigede emner; musik der fremkalderdenne mørke, mistede Lenore sensibilitet, og andrebehagelige eller måske foruroligende, ikke sequitershviskede i et mørkelagt rum. Linger lang eller kort,efterlade en kommentar eller afstå, men husk at komme tilbage snart til at spille en (Shhhh) selskabsleg.


My photo

I love my grown children, miss all the dogs I ever had, and I cry at the drop of a hat, I believe in true love, destiny, fairness, and compassion. If I could be anywhere right now, it would be the ocean. My favorite city is New York, but I am always longing for London and craving more time in Copenhagen. I'm drawn to desolate places, deserted buildings, and unknown byways. I don't care how society perceives me as long as my gut tells me that what I'm doing is right. I am interested in paranormal things, spiritual things, historical things, and things that glow at night. I like to drink, I smoke when I write, I can't stand small talk, and despite my quick temper, I would rather kiss than fight. I'm selfish with my writing time, a spendthrift with my love. My heart has been broken so many times that it's held together with super glue and duct tape. The upside is that, next time, I won't be tempted to give away what I no longer have to give. But I will let you buy me a Pink Squirrel.


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Helvede's så Nocturne

Helvede's så Nocturne
The raw, aching sadness with which the following words were typed has been reformatted to fit your screen. No need to adjust it. All names have been expunged to protect the innocent and the willfully insane.

Nocturne in G Flat major

Chopin, darkness, light, sand and wind, starlight tread. Beethoven, love, fear, madness, redemption in the night. Liszt, waltzing widows, desperate bargains, pleasure's secret plight. Now, then, before, always, forever. Promises made on lonely beaches, celestial summer's perfect kiss, passions quenched in salty breezes, the lure of distant mist-draped heights. Bitter interlude. Final, private nocturne. Burned down like a candle. Doomed bleeding beauty. Fated sacrificial night.
To be continued...

Gentle Visitor

Gentle Visitor
And now, Gentle Visitor, won't you please lend an eye (we've worked so hard)...
We love all things dark and mysterious, macabre and obscure, odd and unfathomable. Nothing is too strange or bizarre for our little blog. And although we would never presume to offer definitive answers to the great questions of life, we shall do our best to enlighten, inform and delight our visitors with our whimsical potpurri of facts, anecdotes, trivia and informational outpourings. We strive not to offend, but to edify those who wish to reach beyond their comfort zone and touch the fabric of another time and place, and of distant, but genuine worlds and lives. As Victorian-themed blogs go, ours may not be the most austere, nor the most comprehensive, but we know what we like, and if our readers like it as well, then all is as it should be in this ramshackle corner of our own personal Victorian empire.

A Musical Note

A Musical Note: We feel that our blog is best viewed when accompanied by one or more of the following musical selections. Then again, we also feel that our blog is best viewed when accompanied by a glass of absinthe, a bite of lemon cake, and a foot massage (preferably by someone you know). So, to paraphrase the otherwise completely irrelevant-to-our-blog Mr. Aleister Crowley, "Do what thou wilt...but be open to Chopin."

And now we begin

And now we begin
"One must strive to show decorum even when scrolling." Queen Victoria, Buckingham Palace Blog, August 11,1879

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Bizarro Bayswater

    Anniversaries. Don't you love them? We always did, too, until our husband tore out our heart, stomped on it, and then mashed it up and fed it to his girlfriend while we cried ourselves to sleep every night for months. But we do have an anniversary to celebrate this week. Namely, the trip we took to London and Berlin last year at this time, and which we never dreamed would include a wild fling, getting tossed out of a club in London's West End, an encounter with the London police, and a sketchy morning in Berlin during which we had no access to our stateside bank account. And it all started here...

    The church in the picture is Our Lady of Heaven on Queensway in Bayswater, London. We were in London with our younger son, TW who was enjoying an early graduation present before starting his senior year of high school. We were enjoying another visit to our second favorite city after a summer filled with painful interactions with the man who mashed up our heart for his new girlfriend's late middle age luncheon. It was our last night in town before catching a plane to Berlin at five the next morning, and TW wanted some time on his own to do a bit of filming (his passion) on the streets. In fact he insisted, reminding me that he was, after all, only a month shy of 18 and perfectly capable of taking care of himself in a city far less dangerous (at least statistically) than our own. So after a quick bite at a sushi joint in Oxford Circus, we said good-bye to our boy and took the train back to Bayswater, where we were staying and where we planned to spend a quiet evening collecting our thoughts and energies for the upcoming visit to Berlin.
    But guess what happened?
    We had arrived at the Bayswater station and were heading back down Queensway to our hotel when we passed Our Lady of Heaven, realized it was time for Saturday night Mass, and decided to attend the service. It seemed just the thing to soothe our ragged heart and so we went inside and took a seat in a back pew, sang the songs, recited the words, tossed a bunch of change into a roving basket, and listened to a sermon on the complexities of the relationship between fathers and sons. We don't remember much about the sermon, but we think it was probably very inspiring. We were one of only a handful of non-Asian or Black worshippers in the church, but we felt perfectly welcome and were only disappointed that we weren't given any wine when we received Communion. No one who received Communion was given any wine. There was body, but no blood. And on leaving the church after the service, we felt an almost primal desire for blood (i.e. red wine) before we returned to our hotel for the evening. So we stopped here.

Lord Alfred's Pub in Bayswater

  We were no stranger to Lord Alfred's Pub because, it being so close to our hotel, it would have been rude not to stop in at least once a day to say hello and show our support. So it made sense to seek help there now as we tried to quench our thirst for a glass of red wine. And of course the girls behind the counter were more than  happy to oblige. Within minutes, we were sitting at our favorite corner table by the window, drinking a glass of red wine and listening to some young Italian jerk at the next table badmouth Americans while admitting that he had never visited the country. He was just lucky that we were only a few minutes out of church. But don't get us started on self-righteous Europeans. We don't have all day, and young Italian men with more bravado than brains are not our main problem.
Inside Lord Alfred's Pub. We can still taste the wine, the bangers and  mash, and his lips.
   On that Saturday night last September, our problem was leaving London, which we never enjoy doing, and flying on to Berlin. Nothing against Berlin, which is a cool, arty, progressive city with a dark past, wonderful beer, the world's best meat and cabbage dishes, a well-maintained zoo with luminous spiders, and the most interesting looking men, but we are hopelessly besotted with London. And we had only been there for five days! But TW, though English by blood, has a fascination with Germany, speaks the language very well, and was primed for the trip. So we were thinking about that, and the sadness to which we would return to in the States, and were about to scarf down our second and (we thought) final glass of Cabernet Savigaun when someone who looked like this sat down at our table.
Three words: Gorgeous, classy, unavailable.

We wish! But, no, unfortunately, Carey Grant was still dead that night last September. The man who sat down at our table looked more like this....

....but a few pounds heavier and with a rounder face and he was wearing a striped dress shirt. He asked if we were on our own, but in a manner that made it clear he had been observing us and already knew the answer. We were so not in the same mode that we thought he wanted us to go sit at the bar so that he and his friends could use the table. But it turned out that he wanted to buy us a drink and chat us up because he thought we were "'luptuous" and "interesting-looking." It took a while for us to glean this information because Mark (as he subsequently identified himself) was a Northerner, which meant that he sounded like Paul McCartney talking on speed and ended every sentence with a question, as in "You're a good-lookin' woman, aren't ya?" or "I'm probably not clever enough for ya, am I?" and my favorite, "You look better than a woman yer age, don't ya?" We were a bit stand-offish at first because we had a plane to catch so early the next morning and weren't looking to make friends with cute, 40-year-old Northerners (we were 51) who approached us in pubs, but he was very charming and insistent and our battered little heart was surprisingly responsive to the straightforward way in which he outlined his hopes for the remainder of the evening. We made it clear that those hopes were not going to be realized, but we did...finally..agree to share a portion of our last night in London with him. So, after a few more drinks, an arm wrestling match (he won, but it was no cake walk) and a lot of banter about English and American stereotypes, we departed Lord Alfred's Pub for London's West End because, since our son was supposedly filming scenes like these...

Camden Town 
View From Under The London Eye

....we thought it would be somewhat safe to try to actually enjoy ourselves in a place that looked a lot like this.

   And we did, despite our initial reluctance and discomfort over the fact that it had been 25 years since we had kissed a man other than our husband. Sorry. Ex-husband. We ordered drinks and danced to really, really, really loud music on a dance floor that was so crowded we could barely move. We were buzzed enough not to mind when Mark took the opportunity to kiss us on the way back to our table. In fact, we kissed him back and continued to kiss him at our table. The kissing was much more enjoyable than we had imagined it would be, and before we knew it, we were kissing and groping, and in a moment of wild abandon, we unbuttoned our shirt because we were sick of feeling sad and depressed and undesirable and we didn't want to waste another nano second regretting our seeming inability to have fun like a normal person who hadn't been tossed away after 25 years of marriage. And for a little while, we were free and in semi-synch with the other hedonists still writhing on the dance floor. Then the bouncer came and it was all over. We'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that there's a club in the West End of London in which this Anglophile and a Northerner with his own plastering business whose name is Mark are forbidden to ever show our faces...or anything else...again.

   Fast forward to the walk back to our hotel, during which we resisted Mark's attempts to convince us to accompany him to his flat. We parted ways without drama or sentiment (although we did let him give us his number) and hurried back to our hotel, knowing that we had been gone too long and expecting to pay for our crime with a few sarcastic comments from our son and no sleep before heading off to Heathrow. We were wrong. When we stepped through the door of our hotel....

We were greeted by two men who looked something like this...

...Germany is such a large country that the citizens don't necessarily learn English in school as do, say, the Danes. That includes city officials. So we had to rely on TW to interact with the locals on our behalf, which was difficult because he was a bit surly that first day in Berlin. Add to which that that for the better part of the morning, we had no money because our bank card was rejected by every cash machine within walking distance of our hotel due to it having been identified as stolen by the bank system. Mother and sons spent those hours walking around the Kreutzberg district, waiting for the bank to fix the error and talking, which, it turned out was a good thing for both of us. We asked TW why he was angry at us when he seemed perfectly accepting of his father's alliance with "the other woman." He told us that he was fine with what had happened, he had just been genuinely worried, which for some reason embarrassed and irritated him. By the time our bank card situation was resolved, the mother and son dynamic was working as well as it ever had since the advent of "the troubles." And thus ended our first day in Berlin...a Sunday, beautiful and warm and languid, a welcome respite from the frenzied pace of we sat here....

People actually smoke cigarettes at their tables
.....eating and drinking things like this....

....,,,almost losing our suitcases in a beirgarten here....
The Berlin Zoo
You have to pay extra to see the entire zebra
See full size image
They don't look real (kind of freaks us out)
Hate spiders, love the luminous

They're so graceful when they swim

...and shopping for TW's school clothes here.
 (We spent a lot of time at the H.M. in London, too, as well as Top Shop, TW's favorite at the time.)

And then, four and a half days after we had first arrived on that sleep-deprived Sunday morning, we left Berlin for Amsterdam and then flew home. TW started and completed his senior year of high school and has never mentioned that night in London again. Today he stepped onto his new campus for the first time as a full-fledged university student. We still have duct tape around our heart, but we don't cry every day anymore, and we didn't cry at all when we lost Mark's number. We really did like him, but he belongs to that night, and it's over. Even so, we're raising a glass of Peppermint Schnapps in his honor as we toast the anniversary of our bizarro fling in bizarro Bayswater on a Saturday night in September almost one year ago this week. Skol, Mark. Vi heller ikke glemmer dem.

Now we're ready for the next adventure.

1 comment:

Laura from Dial Doctors said...

How beautiful! I've always wanted to travel to places to the Germany so I can learn from other cultures. I love that the guy you saw looks like Chris Evans (Human Torch and Captain America). Maybe should have asked for an autograph?