It’s a beautiful day in London. The perfect May day. I flew in on Monday morning and am here for a couple of weeks, then off to France for a couple of weeks before coming home.
I decided to write a little post about every day, which as the travellers among you will understand, internet connections mean a few days will end up rolled into one post.
I also decided it’s the perfect moment to let my alter ego out. Her name is also Amie and she’s finishing a PhD on the cultural side of wine in France and Australia. Sounds terribly serious, I know, but this trip is one of the lighter parts of the task – I’m here in London for the London Wine Fair and The Worlds in a Wine Glass conference. I plan to get distracted by a cocktail or two and the V&A museum, among other things.
Long haul flying is never pleasant, but a necessary evil for an Australian with a love of Europe. One day they’ll invent a transportation device that gets you there in the blink of an eye and when that happens I’ll miss the flight over central Australia. It’s such an incredible landscape and I was lucky enough to have a window seat and clear skies. I noticed the people in front of me looking out just as we passed Lake Eyre. The swirls of colour indicate where the water flows, but it’s hard to tell if the bright blue is actually water or a reflection in the salt. (Apparently there is some water in the lake, but not very much.) The forms and colours make me think a giant has been playing with water colour paints, pushing them around the canvas without restraint, just to see what happens.
Arriving in London was a trip down memory lane – I lived here for a year 15 years ago, and I recognise a lot. The streets and buildings trigger all kinds of little memories from that time and subsequent visits and I’m struck by how much my life has changed and how much has happened in a decade and a half.
Resisting the urge to sleep I walked and walked with a friend around Earl’s Court and Sloane Square. The beautiful suspended flowers in the window of London perfumer Penhaligon’s caught the eye. Once inside a tall, red-head wearing a white shirt (a cut that gave just a suggestion of a lab-coat) led us through the range. She had quite a memory for the different ingredients in each perfume, gently waving the scented card under our noses as she described each one. In a master stroke of public relations, at the conclusion we were each given a handkerchief scented with the new release.
My favourite was the Juniper Sling, like wearing a gin and tonic on your skin. Quite fresh to begin with, but over the course of the afternoon it mellowed into a subtle blend of fruit and spice. I may yet be temped to a acquire a bottle.