In the two years that the Barefoot Blogger has lived in France, I’ve returned to the US at the holiday time to visit with family and friends. The first trip back I experienced Paris with its festive lights and Santa’s village strewn along the Champs-Élysées. This year it was London.
The infatuation with seeing London at Christmas was tied to my earnest belief that Charles Dickens characters would be on every street corner. I was so certain the city would be overrun with Tiny Tims and Bob Cratchits that I didn’t sign up for Dickens Tours or stage plays of “A Christmas Carol.” It would be a waste of time and money.
Yes, there was “Marylebone” Station.
Borough Market had a Scrooge lookalike …
A “sort of” Dickensian figure was at South Bank — a street musician with a fire-breathing tuba.
Friends Hilda and Ian even joined in the search and gave it more that a jolly good try.
We looked in every inn, pub and wine bar we could find that hinted Dickens had been there.
Through the bars at Embankment we searched.
We even looked from the Shard’s 31st floor bar to get a bird’s-eye view.
Day Two was no better.
Although there was a giant Santa that could have passed for one of Scrooge’s nightmare apparitions.
If Yoda alongside him hadn’t spoiled the effect.
There was no little boy with a big fat goose in front of Buckingham Palace.
Not even Dickens ornaments at the Queen’s Gallery Shop.
Was I disappointed? Admittedly yes. That is, if a Dickens experience was all I was getting out of the London visit.
Yet the memories I will keep are the days with friends in a city that never disappoints.
A full English breakfast that took me back in time.
Roasting chestnuts over an open fire.
Even without Dickens, the holiday message in London rang loud and clear:
“God bless us every one.”