I often walk past these mysterious semi-detached houses on my way to work. They're on a prominent corner in the heart of St. John's Wood, which is a very expensive and desirable neighborhood, right up the street from Abbey Road Studios -- and yet the place is kind of a wreck. There's been a pile of old furniture sitting outside for months now, and as you can see the building itself needs some work. The house on the right, behind that tree, is boarded up, and I thought the one on the left was vacant too -- but when I took this picture one of the windows was open, so who knows?
(This is the place with the beautiful stained glass window over the front door -- you can see it in this shot.)
It has a large and dramatic Echium in the back garden. I love those plants. We should get one. I think they only live a few years so it may not be a permanent fixture.
In any case, I am curious about this place and why it's been left in such disrepair, given that it's a multi-million-pound property in a very well-manicured area.
Thanks for your comments on my post yesterday about my DNA test results. I've done more reading about it, and apparently it's not unusual for white Americans with roots in the slavery-era South to have some African DNA, and for blacks with similar roots to have European DNA. (As commenter Claudia noted, "Rape was rampant in the slave system.") I've read that a ratio of one percent suggests that this DNA came into my family tree about seven generations back. We've done our family tree, so now I'm looking at those names and wondering what I don't know! (Of course it's quite a few people and we don't have all the names -- and if this was the result of an illicit extramarital coupling the name wouldn't even be there.)
Anyway, it's quite fascinating. It makes me ponder all the flawed thinking surrounding the concept of race. By Jim Crow standards -- the ridiculous "one drop" rule -- I suppose I'd be black!
Another thing I didn't realize about those tests is that they only reflect DNA from the past several hundred years. Because we get 50 percent of our DNA from each parent, half of their DNA doesn't get passed down to any given child, in which case it just falls by the wayside, as I understand it. DNA from more than a few hundred years ago would fall out of the system, so to speak. So I'm not sure about my theory that my Scandinavian DNA comes from the Vikings.
Work has been busy this week. I'm on my annual campaign to get overdue materials back before school ends in just less than a month -- with varying degrees of success. Also, for some reason my work computer has been blocking some blogs lately -- it's an automated function of the filters the school uses to screen inappropriate web sites, and has nothing to do with any given blog's content! It's been making it difficult for me to keep up with blog-reading, but I'm trying!