And I’m home, as well. Time goes too quickly these days, so I want to write a little about my recent trip to the UK (soon to be only a K?) before I forget everything. I traveled with my husband, who hasn’t felt like making a trip for a number of years now, and we spent our first week in Edinborough, partly to stay with very beloved friends, and partly so I could take part in the Edinborough Book Festival. I was on a panel with Tom Rob Smith, a young but very deep-thinking writer, best known for his book Child 44, (soon to be a major motion picture.) The ever-witty journalist Jackie McGlone moderated.
I love Edinborough and I love the Fringe. I walked in the Botanics, and while my husband played pool most afternoons, friends and I went to plays, concerts, one-woman shows, a Georgian production of Animal Farm. and a very strong production of David Mamet’s Race by a South African troupe.
Before coming home, we spent four days in London. Courtenay had a chance to meet with the son of one of the men who served with him on the Apollo during the Normandy Invasion. For some reason, the Royal Navy let Mr. Jackson take photos on board both the warship where he did most of his duty and during the Murmansk run, when Allied ships underwent great risks from both weather and German assault to keep the blockaded Russians in food and materiel. I have a picture of Courtenay and Peter Jackson going through some of those photos in the lobby of our hotel.
I also got to catch up with old friends in London whom I don’t often see. Liza Cody and I went to the National Portrait Gallery where there’s a special exhibit on about Virginia Woolf. I’m always intrigued by her, envious of the intellectual life she and her sister shared with their extraordinary circle of writers and artists, and troubled by her illness and death. No easy answers there.
I had breakfast with the fourteen-year-old daughter of another beloved friend. Like her mother, this young woman is a gifted reader, and treated me to formidable insights on fiction, television and film. Can’t wait to see what her journey will be like in adulthood.
We flew home on the 26th–8 1/2 hours to cover the 3000 miles from London to O’Hare, 1 1/2 hours to cover the 27 miles from O’Hare to our house. Today I walked to Lake Michigan, feel happy, lucky to live in such a beautiful city but am extraordinarily glad I got to be in Edinborough and London. It was Robert Louis Stevenson, an Edinborough writer, who wrote “Home is the sailor.” (Under the wide and starry sky/Dig a grave and let me lie/Gladly I lived, and gladly died/And I laid me down with a will. /This be the verse you ‘grave for me:/Here he lies where he longed to be/Home is the sailor, home from the sea/And the hunter, home from the hill.)