Wednesday, 11 August 2010

I've always thought that Dr Johnson would make a great dinner guest. And if I could sit between him and Sam Pepys ... please, hold the foie gras, turn down those heavenly trumpets ... I'm trying to listen!
I'm sure I'd get on well with Dr J because I so agree with his opinion that 'when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.' I can't imagine living anywhere but London. (Although I don't suppose I'd ever get tired of New York or Paris, either.)
He also said, 'No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.' And I heartily agree with that. (So what am I doing writing a blog ...?)
When I found myself on Fleet Street this afternoon, I remembered that in all the years I worked there I had never once visited Dr Johnson's house. (It wouldn't have been the done thing when the pubs were open.)
It's a house where you can imagine talk and chinking glasses and loud contradictions, hot gossip and hot punch, and the smell of newsprint - and I could so easily imagine Dr Johnson's heavy tread on the creaking stairs. I was surprised by the number of visitors. But then, he always loved company ...


Joan Hunter Dunn said...

The longer I live in London the more I love it and agree with Dr J's comment.

The Coffee Lady said...

I remember opening his dictionary in a private room in the university library. It was as if time stopped.

Darlene said...

I'm adding this house to my list of things to do on my next trip across the pond. It never fails to amaze me that I don't really like hustle and bustle but I LOVE London! The gorgeous architecture and wealth of history seem to make the building cranes and rushing people melt away.

mary said...

Darlene and Joan: Even though I've lived here for years, I'm still discovering hidden corners (in fact, there's great swathes of London that I hardly know at all!) Or sometimes I just get a new slant on a place I've been hundreds of times before. Outside the National Gallery the other day, I overheard a tourist guide say that this is where people queued for tickets for the Titanic ... something that had never occurred to me before. I'd love to see your list, Darlene!

Coffee Lady: that must have been thrilling, was it the copy that he actually owned?

Darlene said...

This is what's on it so far:
Postcard Teas
Keats House
Highgate Cemetary with a stop at the Ginger & White cafe
Maida Vale
Dickens House
Ham House
Primrose Hill..I like getting the feel of a neighbourhood so when I read about it, it's real to me.

mary said...

I haven't been to Highgate Cemetery for years, Darlene- I keep meaning to, and never get around to it. My first London flat was only down the road.

Rachel (Book Snob) said...

Oooh I have been meaning to go there for years. Oh well, there will be places for me to look forward to visiting when I get kicked out of New York by US Immigration and have to come back to London in a year's time! ;)

mary said...

But think of all the places in NY, Rachel - I've never stayed there for longer than a week.