Monday, November 28, 2022
We are back home again, safe and sound. We got launched pretty early from our hotel yesterday and we did walk back to the Brighton train station, during a pause in the dreary autumnal rain. The station is less than a mile from the hotel so not that far or that hard.
The trip was uneventful except for a gaggle of loud, annoying kids jumping around in the train aisles. "Where are their parents?!" I asked Dave. I never would have been permitted to create so much chaos in a public place.
(Dave and I often joke about how we're becoming intolerant, grumpy old men like Statler & Waldorf on The Muppet Show.)
We spent the day organizing, unpacking and doing laundry. We were only away a few days so it's not like there was that much to do. In the afternoon I re-watched the movie "In Bruges," which I've been meaning to do since I went last spring (and it's scheduled to disappear from Netflix in two days). Despite the violence it's a good and darkly funny movie. Olga slept next to me the whole time, a dead weight, finally able to relax in a familiar environment.
I also caught up on my New Yorkers, including the one with the article about our neighbor Emma Thompson. Many people have mentioned it and I was glad to finally sit down and read it. It was surreal to read writer John Lahr (son of Bert, the Cowardly Lion) describing the street where we live. "Thompson...still lives on the West Hampstead street where she grew up," he wrote. "Her road in London is a sloping quarter mile of comfortable semi-detached houses, a football field away from the swankier dwellings across noisy Finchley Road. Among those currently residing there are Thompson's extended family...and a collection of A-team actors, most of whom she's worked with through the years -- Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter, Derek Jacobi, Jim Broadbent."
Lahr later refers to it as a "somnolent street" with "no distinguishing architectural features," but then he mentions the bathing beauty in the front yard of Thompson's mother, actress Phyllida Law. I've depicted the bathing beauty several times on this blog.
So, yes, that's our street -- the "Beverly Hills of West Hampstead," as some have jokingly called it. I was interested to read that Derek Jacobi also lives here, because I didn't know that, although I've seen him around a few times so I suspected it. I generally avoid using the names of our celebrity neighbors on the blog because I've wanted to respect their privacy, but since they're all mentioned in The New Yorker in this context I suppose it's OK. Lahr never specifically names the street, and neither will I, though if you've been reading a long time you may have figured it out by now, and if you know the area you can probably guess by his description.
You may be wondering how we can possibly afford to live in such a rarified environment, but Lahr isn't lying when he describes it as, essentially, a nondescript middle-class neighborhood. That's exactly what it is. (Plus, we rent here. Middle-class it may be, but I doubt we could afford to buy on this street, given London's insane housing market.)
Today, I have a medical appointment in the morning, and then it's back to work!
(Photo: A colorful wall in Brighton.)