Before we start, I have to confess something. I am not in London today. I am sitting outside, in a small village close to Saint Tropez. The sun is shining; the light is so intense that I actually need sunglasses (In London, I put them on when I want to show off because there is a tiny bit of sunshine). But I miss London. Yesterday, I couldn’t find any coffee in my Mum’s house and had a terrible headache. Withdrawal syndrome. I am pathetic. Addicted to coffee. Where is my coffee shop at the corner of my street? The Internet connection is, at best, patchy, and Twitter seems only a dream from here. Fortunately, I had brought one of these old newspapers found in my attic. Just opening it felt nice. The smell of the old paper reminded me of London. I am a City girl. I miss the buzz. Something has gone badly wrong with me.
I will never know why I only have a few copies of “The Illustrated London News”. Who bought them? Why did they keep only a few copies? Anyway, we are Saturday, February the 10th, 1877, and for some unknown reason the “Illustrated London News” feels incredibly thin today. One of the illustrations shows a fight between two polar bears. “This fight took place, one day last year, in the Zoological Garden at Cologne. It is to be hoped that the attendant keepers were able to separate these infuriated enemies before either of them had suffered mortal injuries (Well said. But did they stop them or not?). The visitors to our own Zoological Society’s gardens in Regent Park (I miss London. Don’t talk to me about Regent Park) have often remarked the unsociable temper of the white bears, which seem never disposed to amicable play with each other or to entertain the friendly greetings of their human admirers. In this respect, they behave differently from the brown and black bears…”You may remember that we were all amazed with Knut the bear. Apparently, there is nothing new here. Zoo fights and gossips were of interest more than a century ago. Human nature doesn’t seem to have changed too: the colour of the fur seems to be of importance to determine how you behave…Men seem to love to generalize (I know, I am deep today. Must be the sun on my head).
In Italy, “The Chamber of Deputies has passed a bill abolishing imprisonment for debt.” I didn’t know. How civilized of Italy! Oh, and “The English cricketers played against the Auckland team on the 2nd inst., winning easily.” I thought that the Brits were into fair play. This comment is borderline arrogant, isn’t it? Clearly, I am still missing something. Cricket must run in the British blood. Maybe it awakes their inner white polar bear? Just speculating here.
There is also a full transcription of the opening of the Parliament by the Queen. Apparently, “The ceremonial was favoured with the proverbial Queen’s weather, the day proving to be as fine as an early English spring could be expected to produce.” I am not sure what it means. Probably that it wasn’t raining. The Queens mentions the hostilities between Turkey and Servia (yes, with a v). At the end of the ceremonial , “the brilliant assemblage immediately broke up, and the Royal procession drove amid the clanging of the bells, the salvoes of artillery in the park, and the loyal cheers of the populace.” Some things never change. I miss London.
Lots of adverts are for new songs and clearly, the mood seems to become more romantic:
“ Love Never Dies. New song. It is just the composition to take the popular ear, and to be a favourite with all who can sing and all who hear it.”
“My Laddie (yes, with two d’s) Far Away. A new and excellent song.”
“Only Love Can Tell. Peculiarly fresh and charming, and will prove a great acquisition to sopranos and mezzo sopranos”.
As you can see, all is well under the sun. See you next week!
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London