The slower way

I am, after all, here to work. That’s what I thought to myself yesterday with two days of working, not poking around London ahead of me. I had to remind myself, because I might be rather taken with this business of wandering the city, and although I failed in my mission to go to a pub last night (the jetlag got me. I made one pathetic attempt to find Laura when I came in around seven- discovered her already out, and then promptly knit two rows on my shawl and fell asleep. Party animal.) I had decided yesterday, should it not rain, that I might be ready for a coffee in a cafe alone. (I’m a work in progress.) Instead, I found myself sighing over my breakfast, reminding myself that I am here to work, and resolving to be cheerful about it. Turns out I should have been way more positive, because my day was really, really great – despite the work. (Is it possible that everything is fun if you’re in London? I think so.)

First up, meet the London publicist in the lobby for tea and go over the plan. I have many interviews scheduled this day (along with one the day of arrival, and I can’t even remember what I said on that one.) There are knitting magazines, then a lunch with the UK distributor and publisher, and then three back-to-back BBC interviews (one of them Live, how terrifying.) First though, we will troupe over to the hall where I’ll be speaking, find Gerard and Craig from iknit, and do sound check and get the lay of the land. The day, Claire-the-UK-publicist assures me… will be fun and easy. Somehow, it turns out that she is right – though mostly about the fun, rather than the easy. First up…this is the space I’ll be speaking in today. Lindley Hall. I don’t mind telling you that when I saw it, some element of me said “Well. I won’t be doing that.”


I broke it to Gerard and Craig. I don’t think they believed me.


From there it was lunch (gone to lunch in a London cab, very neat. Four seats facing each other.) right next to the opera house, and then off to the interviews, all of which were charming, if harrowing. (I admit a special fondness for the interview with Laura from Let’s Knit. She’s a knitter, and I always get on better with knitters. I held her sock. We understood each other.) After all of the interviews, I found myself in St. Marylebone (assuring Claire that I would be entirely fine if she left me there) within striking distance of The Button Queen – but after 5, when they close. (A thousand curses. My last chance to have buttons for Hey Teach for today… thwarted.) I was briefly sad – and then made the most of it by walking back to my hotel in near Vincent Square, rather than grabbing a cab. It was definitely the slower way, but by far the better one. With my map clutched in my hands, I went down Regent Street, across Oxford… past hundreds of fancy shops.


I took a turn down Swallow Street, really no more than an alley, but filled with restaurants with real furniture out to sit on, chesterfields, chairs.


At the bottom of the street, starting onto Piccadilly, the promised rain appeared. First what Joe would call a drizzle.. just dampness hanging in the air. Then a light rain, and then the heavens opened and it poured with a violent wet sincerity. Everyone in London pulled an umbrella out of nowhere (where are they keeping them?) and their mushroom tops in all colours were everywhere, marching along. Me, I had my raincoat, but nothing more, so I ducked into a doorway to wait for the worst to pass, sharing my map (and terrible french) with a clutch of Parisian teenagers who had the same thought as I did. “Le Palais?” they asked me, gesturing in the general direction. “Oui” I said, and showed them the road to Buckingham Palace on my little map. They laughed then, and said “Vous êtes Canadien!”

“Oui” I said again… “how can you tell? Comment pouvez…” (my french failed me entirely there.) and they burst out laughing again. “Le bruit d’un canard” I think they said then, but for sure I caught the word “Canard”…. for duck. Sigh. All I said was “oui” and they pegged my nationality. They fled, giggling and waving into the rain, and I stood there then in a doorway for Lloyds of London, and peered around at everything. I looked across the way and saw a grand building. Beautiful, with statues and carry on all over it, and big words inscribed metres tall across the top. Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours.


And that’s just what London is like. I wish I could take a picture of a feeling, because I can’t convey to you what it’s like for every moment to be like this, it isn’t a good thing found here and there, long walks between sights…


It is a constant wonder and awe. You can tell the difference between me and Londoners because they aren’t falling over cracks in the sidewalks as they read the tops of buildings and take pictures of everything they see. I wonder how long it takes to build immunity?


I kept on down the street, turning south (?) onto Queens Walk (?) and took the path along the backs of grand buildings, headed for St. James park, I thought.


I took breaks to peer down lanes and examine the architecture of grand houses, letting my curiosity have free rein.


I read the inscriptions on sculptures…. read signs…


At the end of the walk I looked around, and suddenly realized where I was.


Buckingham Palace, looking toward the big statue of Queen Victoria and the statues of Victory, Constancy and Courage.


Surrounding this are three gates, the gates of the Dominions- Australia, Africa and Canada. Naturally, I went to the Canada Gate. (I happen to think it is the best one, and I’m confident that I’m properly objective there.)


It inspires something in me, though I’m not sure what. Something that goes beyond knowing all the words to God Save the Queen, seeing her on our money and noting the presence of our Governor General. Seeing the Canada Gates invokes all the history of my fine country, and how much of it – our history, system of government, money and tradition all stem largely from this place.


I dodged traffic then, crossing to the front of the Palace, and peered up at the windows. My grandfather, Lt. Col. James Alexander McPhee, was the Queen’s Press Agent in Canada, and he walked in this place, dined with the Queen, was knocked over by corgis. The flag was flying, so I know the Queen was home, but I didn’t see her, but I stood there in the rain, thinking about all the times he reminded me of my manners, saying “Careful now, or you’ll never be invited to the palace” and I remembered how as a little girl, I thought that was an entirely possible thing.


The rain reverted to a drizzle, and I walked along Buckingham Gate road,


taking pictures,


eavesdropping on conversations in at least 4 European languages – wondering if the £2 I had in my pocket was enough for a pint, and gradually making my way back to the hotel – thinking this all the way.


Every time I see something beautiful here, I think “Oh look. I’ve found the most charming thing in London”, and then I take another step and find something more. This city is like a jewel box. It may only hold charms, and you might never see all of them.


I love it here.

Off now to speak at iknit. Nervous as all get out.

242 thoughts on “The slower way

  1. You didn’t HAVE lunch in that cab, did you?
    I totally agree about London. I hope you get to see The Tate. I had lunch in the cafe there, and remember being charmed that the sugar cubes were wrapped in paper that said Tate & Lyle – and mused to myself – is that Tate -the Tate of The Tate? And of course it is. An Art Gallery made of sugar. How neat is that!

  2. Where on the bbc will we be able to hear/see you? Were interviews for radio or tv? London looks good, last time I was there I was only 10. Hampton Court was the highlight for me then. V&A could do it now I think.

  3. Stephanie, I am loving your blog, London is so delicious. You are right, every bit is more delightful than the last.

  4. Thank goodness you’ve crawled around in your front garden all these years perfecting your photographic skills so they’d be able to cash the check your writing wrote. As it were.

  5. How charming it is to think of you in London, and to see the pictures of things that struck you, not literally but visually. It almost made me want to go and see myself, in spite of my genetic antipathy for things British. Scottish Great-Great Grandaddy pressed into the British Navy during the Revolution….jumped ship in Machias harbor and fled inland for the duration fighting for no one. Not that we’re pacifists, we just don’t take direction well.
    Keep us posted on how London receives you. I find myself fascinated.

  6. I’ve been to London twice, and it’s the best city I’ve visited by far! Reading your blog and seeing your pictures brings back very fond memories. Thank you.

  7. Someone might have already written this, or someone you meet may tell you, but be warned that YOU CANNOT TAKE KNITTING NEEDLES THROUGH SECURITY IN UK OR IRELAND AIRPORTS. I don’t know why, when you’re getting on a flight to North America, and you’re allowed to carry them through No Am security, unless it is that “over there” more people are hip to the dangers posed by knitters.

  8. My mom took me to England 2 years ago. I understand the numbness of jetlag. Finding the tomb of Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey (our first stop after getting off the plane at 8 AM)was almost an emotionally overwhelming experience. The juxtaposition of ancient buildings right next to new buildings was surreal. If you get a chance, not matter what your religious beliefs, attend a service in a very old church. There’s something very humbling about church service in a buildings that’s 800 years old, built over the remnants of something even older.

  9. You’re making want to make my second trip to Europe. London sounds fabulous and I can totally see myself staring at things and looking around, pointing. I still do that in NYC and I live so close to it, so I think I’m a perpetual tourist. Don’t even ask me how I behaved on my trip to France. Sigh….

  10. Oh I did the same thing around the Picadilly Arcade! Wow, did I ever get completely lost trying to go from Picadilly to Oxford Road. So many streets and turns and even when you think you’re going straight you’re actually going off way somewhere else.
    You might find some buttons at John Lewis or Liberty. They’re department stores and have knitting sections too.
    Have a great talk!

  11. I fully intend to return to London someday when I actually have time to stay and see things (though the little East Midlands villages were awfully lovely).
    Tried to see if I could find your interview(s) on the BBC website but no dice. Guess I’ll have to check again later.

  12. Ma’am, it’s so good to read someone so eminent echoing feelings I had (and my sister shares). I visited London last year and am hoping to do so again in a few weeks. It was an amazing feeling to just walk and see so many familiar names and places. I know exactly the feeling you are talking about.
    So much from history and literature, or just plain mushy paperbacks…I was thrilled to stumble across Scotland Yard and see Harley Street. Walking on the streets of London is something I want to keep doing for a long time.
    Yours in fellow colonial feeling,
    In complete sympathy.

  13. Our hero! Not only boldly striding (well, maybe sometimes stumbling) your way through a new place, but also bravely admitting to your qualms & wonderments here. You’re a great role model–& not just for knitting, either. Because of your passings through St. James’s Park, I am visualizing you in the hotel I stayed in there, about 2 blocks from Victoria Station.

  14. surely you may walk the same hallways
    my this trip is a large event
    and launch for the new book

  15. Oh, thank you for the reminder of how wonderful London is! Hopefully we’re going next summer (partner’s conference – yay), and I’m sure I’ll wander around with my girls just absorbing all the history and charm of this wonderful, ancient city. That living history aspect is part of the reason I lived in Boston for so long. Enjoy the rest of your stay!

  16. So nice to go to bed on this side of the ocean and read one post, and wake up the next morning with your next day already narrated. Thanks for sharing it with us. I can’t even imagine how many knitters at your lecture will bring you buttons. Please post some of the best for us to see, of course.

  17. I don’t know how much time you have. One of my favorite museums is the Victoria and Albert and the London Museum. I’ve been to London twice now and it’s just an amazing city. Five more visits won’t show me everything.
    I tripped and fell twice on the sidewalks. Be careful!

  18. Totally enjoying your trip. It brings back so many wonderful memories!
    Westminster Abbey is amazing, so try to go there! I was in awe! All the famous artists, poets, and people buried there gave me goose bumps!

  19. I’m entirely certain that I’ll never have the chance to visit Europe and all its wonder, so please keep posting. If you wind up loading all of your pictures to a place like Flickr or Photobucket…tell me? So I can see more?? 🙂 Thanks.

  20. I am so sad I shall miss the iKnit London day – or Harlot Day as I have been calling it. I have fallen ill and cannot leave home. Your blog is making me wish all the more I did not have flu. I hope you have a great day with Craig and Gerard – they are lovely.

  21. Wow! What breathtaking pictures!
    I think that I would drown in the rain because my mouth would be wide open, jaw to the ground, at the sight of that amazing architecture.
    What a tough assignment you have this go-round.
    BTW, I sure do hope you eventually get to that button store.

  22. I lived there for seven years and never built up immunity. Maybe Londoners born and bred manage it? Thank you for all the pictures. It’s making me homesick (in a good way). And go to Liberty! I grew up and came of age as a knitter there. For years I thought Rowan and Jaeger were the only yarns.

  23. You know, I lived in Germany for 7 years. I think all of Europe is like a jewelry box with all sorts of wonders and delights to amaze you at every corner. Sure, that’s London but it could also be Idar-Oberstein or Munich.
    And now I’m homesick.

  24. Dear Harlot,
    Your entries about London so remind me of my trip to that city and PARIS (don’t get me started on PARIS) five years ago. I grew up in a BIG and fabulous city (New York) but there is something about the sense & reality of thousands of years of existence/history that just SMACKS us natives of the new lands right in the face when we visit the motherlands.
    No digital camera in hand for me five years ago, so I can’t share them with you all, but the same kind of images are burned in my brain. Not just the famous ones, Buckingham Palace, Picadilly, etc. For me the standout moments came shopping in a local supermarket, buying clementines from Spain for half the price of home AND knowing that they hadn’t travelled half way round the globe… was it a coincdence that they tasted sweeter than the ones back home? Another was travelling the Tube, hearing the correct pronounciation of Leicester Square. Look down at the platform and seeing “MIND THE GAP”.
    My only question is why didn’t your publicist, incorporate more time for you to adjust to the wicked time difference? On the other hand, maybe the punch drunk feeling of jet lag is like whipped cream on a sundae, just enhancing the out of body experience that is a trip to London.
    If you ever need to go to Paris, let me know. I’ll drop everything, pack my bamboo needles and keep you company. NO ONE in Paris ever guessed that I was American, after all French is a romance language just like my native espanol is.

  25. Break a leg with your talk. I’m sure you’ll do fine. Your pictures are fabulous and I’m enjoying your trip vicariously.

  26. I totally get it about Lindley Hall. Looks a little rectilinear for our Harlot! When are you coming to *Fort Worth*? Or that other big city to the east of us?

  27. Hope it’s all going well! I am loving seeing London through your eyes. I would have popped into Liberty when you were on Regents St and grabbed some buttons, but I have a sneaking suspicion that *everybody* who comes to your gig today will bring you handfuls, and all you will have to do is choose!
    (I’m sure you found out, but £2 is no longer enough for a pint – in fact, in London it might not even get you a half! Shocking but true.)

  28. The only time I ever thought I would love to see London was when I was a teenager and the Beatles had entered my life…after taking this trip with you I think my love has been rekindled. Thanks for taking us along. Good luck with the talk..just visualize knitted underware!!!

  29. Good luck for tomorrow- I am sure it will be wonderful and even more people will find you as amazing as the rest of us do-but I can’t believe you were within spitting distance of Liberty’s yesterday and after so many of us have said go there- please- please-make sure you visit!

  30. You’ve seen more of London than I did, and told me more about some that I saw (Canada’s gate). But I did know where you were on several occasions, and it pleased me.
    ’twas wonderful, yet poignant, to see the sock on the gate.

  31. Your pictorial tour of London is so wonderful-makes a Yank wish we hadn’t had that little revolution !!!!!!!!!!!
    Hope you get to the button store while it is open before the end of your adventure.
    Again,you can tell all those muggles at the parties that while you may “only” write knitting books-but that “little” enterprise has taken you to wonderful places all over North America and now to England and soon the sky is the limit!! And you pack ’em in everywhere!

  32. Have you ever heard of Harrods? They sell buttons there, you know. (That is if you don’t mind knowing who owns the place and whose pocket your pennies will eventually end up in, but, a quick trip there to have a looksee is what a tourist should do.)

  33. Liberty of London sell great buttons!
    As I recall, they had quite a large space devoted to buttons, as they sell beautiful fabric at their London store.

  34. London looks absolutely gorgeous. I am so jealous.
    On another note, why is your new book temporarily unavailable to order new on the chapters website? kind of a retorical question, one that you probably have no control over. But for some reason or another I forgot about your book coming out. The other day when I remembered, 5 days after its release, I imediately tried to rectify the situation only to be thwarted at every turn.
    Really I am so desperate that I have almost resorted to Amazon, but last time I ordered a book through them, it got lost in the mail, which is very very furstrating. Anyways if there are any LYS out there who mail out books to Norhtern Ontario please e-mail me. I would much rather support you over the big retailers, seeing as how they suck curently. (I am a wee bit frustrated, sorry if you are a big retailer).

  35. You’re a great travel guide. I was last in London in 1985 and my experience was nothing like yours. I’d like to see it again as a proper adult. Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

  36. When you first said you were going to London, I was so jealous! But now I’m so glad you’re there. Take pictures. Write this stuff down. Post. You’re not just taking YOUR trip to London, you’re taking OURS too. Thank you.

  37. So did my Wisconsin eyes fill with tears reading about your stop at the Canadian gate? I have this wierd feeling it was because, ugly American that I am, I finally realized, you really are Canadian. It’s not a bad thing at all – but in my head, I guess I just think Canadians are just Americans with more sweaters required. And there you were, talking about your heritage and history, and it wasn’t really anything like our Tea Party, and the rockets red glare and all that. So, Stephanie, you are Canadian, and I am not. I’m not complaining, casting any dispersions in any directions whatsoever, but, huh, you’re from a different country than me. It’s not often I get knocked off my pins for a bit, but off I was. You’re right to be proud, and I love the story about your Grandpa McPhee, and how your posture was linked to visiting the palace, and your wanderings around London, and your fears and your interviews and your lovely photos. Good luck! You’ll be wonderful.

  38. It’s so delightful to see my capital through your eyes! It’s a beautiful, wonderful place. Many of our cities have these old, hidden treasures, but none so many as London.
    On Regent’s Street, you were a stone’s throw from Liberty’s. It’s a fantastic store. I hope you get a chance to go there. Even if it’s shut, the outside of the building is gorgeous.

  39. Don’t forget high tea at Brown’s hotel — it is beyond charming and delicious. And stroll through the Burlington Arcade on your way to Fortnum & Mason on Picadilly. I promise you won’t be sorry!!!! Plus, I’m sure that the beadle protecting the arcade would love to hold the sock.

  40. You’ll be great, as you always are.
    Ya know, I’ve never wanted to go to London– until now. You really ought to do a travel book, if you run out of ideas for knitting books.

  41. Yesterday I wanted to be your tour guide – but then I started thinking about the pleasure of travelling on your own and going where you will – you seem to be having a great trip!
    I’m not a Londoner, but I have dedicated whole daytrips to just ambling around the city. I love it. If there is a point at which you start to take the history, the detail, the sheer layers of sensation, for granted, I haven’t reached it yet – and thank goodness for that.
    I hope you continue having a fabulous trip. And I’m sure you’ll be great at iknit!

  42. Thank you for doing a fantastic job on the pictures. I am thrilled with you photo array. I had this weird thing happen as I read your blog about viewing your history, I got chills for you. I wish you a most excellent adventure and thank you for sharing it with us.

  43. Reading your thoughts on London REALLY makes me want to go back to the city that I really had no interest in before we were there. I had wanted to go this week to see your talk… but alas…
    Two years ago I walked through Westminster Abbey while my husband was at a meeting in the MOD. To walk on those stones that are so old and worn down they are so slippery and uneven is truly moving. One of the most moving areas is the hall for all people that died in WWII. To read the accounts of people dying in their garden or in their home is extremely heart wrenching.
    It was also heart wrenching when I could find no yarn in London. People would look at me like I was nuts. Obviously they were keeping it all a secret. I knew there must be wool because of all the sheep in the fields outside London.
    Keep exploring and enjoying!

  44. Sounds like you’re having a great time, rain and all. I’m glad you enjoyed your interview with Laura, Lets Knit is my fave UK mag, the girls who work on it are knitters! Yay!

  45. How amazing to see London through the eyes of a tourist. I live 12 miles away and hardly ever visit now except for work mtgs.The thought of struggling on the underground and the grubbiness puts me off – yet when I look at your pictures I can see the attraction. Guess I’m just a jaundiced Brit!

  46. Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventure and photos with all of us. Every morning I look forward to reading your blog and enjoying it with you.

  47. Oh, exactly. We spent our entire time in London (and other parts of England) with our mouths open. It is so hard to describe, how every time you turn around, there is another utterly charming, wonderful site to behold. I am reading and enjoying the photos and thinking – I remember that feeling! I want to go back! Just amazing. I’m so glad you are having a wonderful time. Will we be able to hear your interviews here – get to them on-line somehow? Enjoy, enjoy!

  48. Thank you for the lovely prose and photos of my favorite city in the World. Grew up in and around London(a British mother and U.S. father); lived there for 8 years. Your pure enjoyment of each moment is truly wonderful to read and a great reminder that we need not be so jaded by our daily lives that we can’t see beauty around us. One of the first things I do when I go to London is to walk, walk, walk…and your photos practically mirror the steps I have taken. Thanks again, for sharing your experience.

  49. I am really enjoying your travel adventures and I hope you inspire someone who has never traveled abroad, alone or with others, to do so. It can be quite daunting and I still kick myself for not doing more exploring during my semester abroad in Scotland more than 10 years ago. It doesn’t matter where you are from, it is still an amazing experience to expose yourself to another culture.

  50. I flew back from Heathrow a month ago and had two knitting prijects with me – one on bamboo dps and one on a bamboo circular. I had no problems at all and happily knitted all the way home.

  51. Steph,
    Your comments and pictures have brought on massive homesickness, as I lived in London for a year. I have never lost the wonder of being there. Hope you never become accustomed and blase, though I doubt that is possible, considering the enthusiasm you bring to all your blogs and adventures.

  52. that is exactly how i felt in Chicago the first time. so much UP compared to florida, espically here in Gainesville where on a couple of buildings are above the tree canopy. and NO vacant lots in Chicago…i felt as if i had walked into the mists of Avalon.

  53. I have to say that I feel you are traveling for me. I too am shy (although my friends & co-workers would differ) and have only recently tried doing things like restaurants, movies, etc. alone. I can no longer bring myself to fly, but once they build that bridge I shall find myself in London. Thanks for sharing your pictures and the commentary.

  54. I was in London back in June. Loved it! Can’t wait to go back.
    The hubby was there this week for work. He is on his way home now.

  55. It’s so strange seeing my home city through your eyes! Especially as everyone seems to think that coming to this damp island is somehow very special despite EVERYONE knowing that America and Canada are really the places to go :p
    I’m so glad you’re enjoying your stay despite the pouring rain and horrible early winter we seem to be having & I hope that the rest of your visit is just as nice.

  56. Glad you’ve taken your sock’s photo with the pigeons instead of the squirrels. Did you notice how huge the squirrels are there?? They would totally steal your sock. Hold on tight and don’t blink. The squirrels only look friendly.
    I’d love to go back and visit London some day.

  57. I’ve never been to London (or even Europe!) but you are making it so accessible and interesting I hope I will get there soon!
    My favorite part is your sentence about the rain pouring “with a violent, wet sincerity”! I even wrote it down! Perfect!

  58. What a wonderful post. I hope they give you more time to look around… and next time put more money in your pocket.
    When I’m in London, I feel like I’m in one of those movie scenes where everybody else is a blur and I’m the only one in focus because they’re moving so fast and I’m stuck in wonder. I imagine that’s how you feel right now, too.
    I spent a week in Italy last year and hardly slept more than an hour at a time because I didn’t want to miss one second of it… that, and the espresso.

  59. For the second morning in a row you’ve got me sitting here with tears in my eyes. I’ve been to London twice, and I want to go back so badly. I’ve seen all those places you’re talking about, and it’s all so fresh in my memory. I think you could explore for months, maybe years, and never learn all her secrets. Have so much fun, and enjoy your exploring.

  60. I have to say… for the Parisiens. It was the accent. Heh. French say “we” Canadians say “way.”

  61. Thank you for letting me see London through your eyes. I’ve not been there (yet!), and I’d like to think that when I get to visit, I will enjoy it as much and be as observant as you have been. Enjoy your trip, and thanks for sharing it.

  62. Thanks so much for sharing your London trip! I hope I can make a return trip there someday. It may just be my imagination, but it looks like the hall where you’re speaking holds about the same number as the auditorium where you spoke in Atlanta (it had a balcony, remember?). You’ll be great, as usual!

  63. Aww, you made me well up. Beautiful photos. I’m always too self-conscious to take pictures and, you know, really look at things. Hazard of growing up in a tourist town, I guess. I will have to change my ways.

  64. Michele just beat me to this but I have to say it again nonetheless…the description of the rain particularly the phrase “with a violent, wet sincerity” just floored me. It is one of the most amazing descriptions I have ever read. When I first read it my jaw just dropped. And I re-read it. And re-read it. And read it aloud to my husband. Don’t know what it is about it but it is fantastic. You really do have a gift. Earlier in the comments someone mentioned a travel book. I believe I said the same thing to you after the posts you did about New Orleans. If you haven’t given this idea some serious consideration or discussed with your publisher, please do. You see the world around you in a way that few do and you are lucky enough to be able to translate what you see into words so that the rest of us can see it too.

  65. “Le bruit d’un canard” – exactly what a Quebecois tv show sounds like. I had to smile at that. When in Paris for 2 days with the girls rugby trip I had got to use my best school French accent. I was ever so happy to have been taught Paresien French lo those many decades ago. We were only in England for 10 days while the girls played their way through bloody games (and won!) but the momen I lit my candle in Canterbuy Cathedral I knew I would be back.
    Enjoy and thank you for sharing you trip with us.

  66. I’m such a hopeful, knitting, romantic…
    I thought for sure that as you set off in your travels you would find a hidden treasure of a button shop…
    I guess Buckingham Palace is a close second in the whole romantic travelling business…
    Thank-you, thank-you for all the wonderful pictures—I’ve never been so tempted before.

  67. Oh, it’s beautiful! It reminds me of how I felt in Paris: there was sooo much to look at, and it was all cool, and quaint and gorgeous. Good luck with the speech! I’m sure it’ll go well!

  68. So pleased that you like London, this is exactly how I feel about it! I live just over an hour away and your post makes me feel bad that I don’t make the journey in more often. Sadly I’ve spent my day travelling back from a holiday in Prague otherwise I would be at iknit too. I’m there in spirit!!

  69. I feel the same thing every time I go to a country filled with so much history there is no choice but to put contemporary things right next to it. Churches in Oxford that have hundreds of years of graffiti written on the walls. Signs on the buildings (again in Oxford) say important scientists made their discoveries right at this spot. The thing that shocks me most is that there are villages right at the bottom of the Acropolis. Can you imagine waking up every morning and seeing the Parthenon? I can’t.
    As for the speech… Remember: They’re all knitters too.

  70. Hi Steph, I’m a Londoner originally, now living in Essex. It really bought back to me the wonders of London seeing your pics. I was so used to just going along not looking at places. Good to see it through the eyes of a visitor.

  71. I am very curious about the “Le bruit du Canard” comment. If my French hasn’t completely failed me, that would mean “the sound of a duck”. Do Canadians quack when they speak French? :-p

  72. Thank you for coming to I Knit Day to talk to the big room full of knitters. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. I always enjoy reading your writing on the blog and in your books, but hearing you speak brought it all to life. Literally. Please come back soon, London and its knitters love you too! (I didn’t make it to the book signing, I had to come home with a migraine, but I hope the day went well).

  73. You’ll do fine! (Actually, given the time difference I suspect you’ve already done fine.) Wish I was there. Still so, so jealous. 🙂

  74. I spent 2 months in London when I was 8 years old and I still remember the same feelings that you are describing-it was a fairy tale city for a child. I kept looking for Mary Poppins and Peter Pan; I expect you could still find them!

  75. Me thinks you should have a show on the Travel Channel along the lines of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. You are an awesome travel guide. Really Stephanie I mean it! It’s a natural- spinning, knitting, travel!

  76. Harlotta,luv (well, I must get into the spirit) –
    Everywhere you travel you take pictures of things that I also find beautiful or interesting. I enjoy everywhere you go I think as much as you do!! Snap away and find the pint before the talk…it is at least 7:48pm there as I post so you may be all done by now!

  77. Your sense of delight and wonder comes across in every word. It sounds so lovely! I’m glad you’re having such a good time.

  78. At this point, my jealousy knows no bounds! I want to go to London in the worst way…..between knitting adventures, Doctor Who adventures, and Ravelry friends I want to meet, it is an irresistable location for me. And I’m totally convinced that my husband would love spending hours and hours at iKnit…..They sell beer there!

  79. A very dear friend of mine told me about your blog. I am now officially hooked on it (although I’m not a knitter).
    I am totally loving your London adventures. I am headed back to London for another visit come October and you are making me looking forward to it even more than I already was.
    Have you ventured to Leceister Square? I’ve found that is a wonderful place to people watch. There’s even a little park with benches that is perfect for it.
    Enjoy the rest of your stay in the city that is my home away from home.

  80. Thank you for taking us to London with you. There isn’t a travel book in print that can describe the essence of places and things the way you do because part of you is in every description. I feel the joy and awe as I read. I think you should be invited to the Palace, Stephanie.

  81. At a rough guess, I’d say they knew you were Canadian because you looked a lot like an American (to a European, we’re obvious), but spoke some French. When I was in England, they always knew I was either American or Canadian, but had a little trouble with which.
    I miss London! Wah!!!!!!!!!!!!

  82. Hello Stephanie it was so terrific to meet you today and I am so so embarrassed at how I was so thrilled to meet you I could only mumble about Big Ben and wikipedia and shove buttons at you. Thank you so much for coming to see us, it was such a treat to be the blog instead of just reading it! Many apologies from all of us for the dreadful weather …
    I loved what you said about trying to explain about today to non-knitter friends. Eventually they would get over the shock that I was spending Saturday going to see a knitting writer who was coming over from TORONTO to speak … then they would say, so she writes patterns?? I’d give up at that point.
    Also, I have lived in London all my life and I have not noticed the things you photographed at the top of buildings. So thank you for making me experience my own city in a new way.
    Please come back again!
    nina x

  83. I’d just like to say thank you for coming to talk at IKnit London Day, and for loving London as much as I do. I was brought up in easy reach of the city and still live fairly close. We had a great day and you were great, just as I imagined you sounding. It’ll easy to hear you as I read your blog now. Do, please, come again.

  84. Hey! I’ve lived in London for 20 years and seeing it through your eyes is making me fall in love with the place all over again!
    It was great to hear you and meet you today at I Knit London. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you.

  85. Right after I graduated from college I spent 5 months in London as part of a work exchange. I was lonely being so far from home but I loved everything about the city (and this is coming from someone who normally doesn’t like big cities). I haven’t been back, but I want to go eventually and reading this makes me want to even more!

  86. I love visiting London! Like you, we wander about and see the most wonderous things…but I don’t have any photos. I’m so in awe, I forget to haul it out and snap!!!

  87. Steph – I visit London quite a lot as my mum-in-law lives there. We only come down from Edinburgh but I don’t think I’ve ever heard the sense of wonder and discovery I have walking round London so well described. I am so glad you are enjoying it all.

  88. If you decide to change your writing focus from knitting to something else you need to be a travel writer. I’m reminded of an Englishman who repairs old sewing machines (yes, I used to read sewing machine listservs) who always wrote about the weather, the people, the songbirds, etc. He finally wrote two books about the South Downs, his home turf. They were wonderful.
    We’ve heard wonderful things about every place you’ve travelled, whether on tour, on vacation or becoming an international icon :-). The Newfoundland narrative was inspired. The London pictures and narrative are inspired. I want to go to London and see all those places you’ve revealed to us.

  89. Just got home from your talk. Last month I said a quiet hallo as I flew over Toronto on the way to San Francisco – today I got the chace to shout hello! Thanks a million, you were great.

  90. I’ve been living here 15 months so far and still no sign of the novelty wearing off. I get excited every time I go out the door!
    Hate to break it to you (although maybe someone already has – I haven’t read the other comments) but the Queen probably wasn’t home. If the Union Flag is flying she’s not there. If the Royal Standard is flying she’s there. Usually it’s the Union Flag as she spends most of her time between Balmoral and Windsor.
    Hey I thought your talk today was fab and I think I really had an experience later today of what you were saying about how knitting affects your brain and how you think (unfortunately not all of my day was as good as your talk). I wrote about it on my blog if you want to read!
    Thank you for coming to London!

  91. I adore the story about the French teenagers – as a French Lit major who grew up in upstate N.Y. 70 miles south of Montreal, I have been misidentified as Canadian every time I opened my mouth in France, each time with the ‘canard’ sobriquet attached. It’s a badge of honor. Honestly. Well, I think it is.

  92. It was super to meet you today! Your talk was absolutely brilliant and amused muggle pao and I no end 🙂 Hope you come back and see us again soon!

  93. There was no need to be nervous – you were GREAT! Apart from that dang microphone, it went off without a hitch. I was the star-struck one smiling at you aimlessly at various points throughout the day, but never actually managing to puck up the courage to talk to you… you’re not the only one who’s shy! Thanks for coming and I really hope you come again next year.

  94. We were in London in 2000. We stayed 2 weeks. That feeling you have about London? It never leaves.
    Have you found the cannon with the gorgeous dragons? They’re tucked away, behind a building, not too far from Trafalgar Square. Exquisite.

  95. Did you see the breastfeeding mom on the statue in front of Buckingham Palace? My favorite!! as a mom who nursed 3 kids and was, once upon a time a LLLL.
    Enjoy London!! It’s Brilliant!!

  96. Steph, your talk was fantastic, laugh-out-loud funny and really interesting. I both run and knit (usually not at the same time) and I really notice a similar state of mind when doing either. I totally share your sense of wonder walking round London. I had one of those surreal moments coming out of Westminster tube station this morning – looking from left to right I took in the London Eye, the Thames, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey in quick succession.
    Thanks so much for coming and enjoy the rest of your stay.

  97. Brilliant speech today – we were all spell-bound. You didn’t hypnotise us, honest!
    Hope you enjoy the beer.
    – Pam (PS: It was lovely to meet you)

  98. I loved your talk today. At various points after, we found ourselves chuckling at “EMERGENCY KNITTING KITS!”
    I did try to explain to colleagues that I was spending the day in London at a Knitting Thing© and it was met with “Aww, you’re going to a knitting convention”…

  99. Had a fab day at iKnit and loved hearing you today! My 10 year old daughter thought you were hilarious too. We both had to explain to our cab driver where we’d been and he was most enthusiastic about it all! Shock!

  100. You were great! My non-knitting spouse thought so too. I don’t think there’s any such thing as immunity to London. It’s magical.

  101. Just so you know, that’s how I feel about Toronto. I am loving your adventures in London! Glad you’re having a wonderful time.

  102. Loving your travelogue. It reminded me of all my trips to Europe but also New Orleans, Miami, Milwaukee, and New York City, where there’s great architecture to be found everywhere.

  103. Thanks for a great afternoon – glad you recognised my hastily knit washcloth (I finished it in the queue while waiting for you to sign my book… I’ve been taking lessons for a master of optimism…)

  104. Stephanie, thank you so much for leaving your family and coming to visit with us here in London. Your warmth and sense of humour shone through your talk and I loved your ideas for raising more money for Doctors Without Borders. Please come back again very soon.

  105. We get so much rain here that people actually spend time working on technology to make umbrellas fold up smaller. That’s how we seem to make them appear from nowhere.
    Glad you’re having a nice time 🙂

  106. It was such a lovely lovely day, thank you for coming!
    I’ve read what you have blogged about babies and noise at your talks, and to be fair Seth was so well behaved for the first hour of the talk, but then the charm ran out for him so my mother took him out (she’s not a knitter, but was babysitting for the day), I didn’t want you to think she left for any other reason. I think he made quite a few friends before that though!
    My mother was intrigued by all the knitters sitting and listening to you speak and knitting at the same time as laughing, and she took a little video clip of many hands knitting and wants to know if you want a copy?
    And after my worry about staying late for the signing , I managed to be first in the queue – a happy accident!
    Thank you, thank you, today has been the first thing I have done completely for ME since my baby was born and it was so worth it!

  107. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and photos – it allows us non-travelers to visit through your eyes a part of the world that we forget exists while we live our daily lives. Have a safe return!

  108. Thank you for the lovely pix of London. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially loved one of the last ones with all the flowers all over that HUGE building. Beautiful!

  109. It was great to meet you today- I tried to explain the brainwaves thing to my husband over the phone this evening, as I’ve recently been explaining to him that knitting is keeping me sane during a particularly tough time we are going through at the moment! I could sense him glazing over at the other end of the line…
    I love your delight in London – I’ve lived here for 20 years and still get so excited about all the really beautiful and exciting things about our amazing city. Thank you for coming to see us and I hope you come back again soon!

  110. Ahhh London. This very big city becomes quite small and accessible when on foot. Glad you have had the opportunity to see it the right way. Have a pint for me.

  111. It was wonderful to meet you today, after reading your blog for the best part of two years. I lived in London for five years in the last century after dreaming about since I was little. It still enchants me,even if economics and my marriage dictate that I live and work elsewhere.
    Please come back to us soon, and see a bit more of these islands. We’d make you very welcome in Cambridge (where the majority of knitters would never dream of leaving the house without emergency knitting!).
    Have a safe trip home.

  112. It was Green Park that you wandered through. Go back in Spring to see it flooded with daffodils. And as far as I know, any flag at Buck House is not an indication of whether the Queen is home or not. A post 9-11 decision. Glad you’re enjoying London!

  113. Beautiful post. You have taken us all on the most fantastic journey in the last month or so, from Newfoundland, to Massachussets(?), and now to London. Really awesome. And is that four more Monopoly squares you have been to? That is so fantastic!(We antipodeans apparently have the same Monopoly board as Canadians.) As lovely as the Canada gate is at Buckingham Palace, I suspect the Australia gate may be ever so slightly more charming…..
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  114. What a wonderful day I had! I travelled down on the train and explained to 2 bemused Yorkshiremen what I was coming to London for: to listen to a lady who’d come all the way from Canada to talk about knitting! I told them there might be a thousand of us there (have no idea whether that was anywhere right) and they just could not believe it. I showed them the sock I was knitting and they were in total awe! I felt I had almost inspired them to start knitting! Anyway you were wonderful, you did look nervous as you walked in, (I was in the front row right in front of you) but that soon disappeared, I could have listened to you all day and night. Oh please come back soon! I hope you enjoyed the day as much as we all did. Have a safe trip back, you should be alright with bamboo needles at Heathrow.

  115. Just to say thank you so much for talking to us at iknit today, you were fabulous, and if you were nervous it didn’t show. Come back soon 🙂

  116. I wonder, if you knocked politely and curtseyed properly at the door of Buckingham Palace, if the Queen might not have some buttons she’d share with you. After all, she has so many gowns…and her own seamstresses. I’m sure she could part with a few buttons out of her sewing box. Hey, maybe she’s even a knitter!

  117. Liberty’s opens 12-6pm tomorrow if you dare to brave buttons again.
    Thanks so much for today, you even exceeded my already high expectations. Had to change to knit a sock that would stay in my household, so whenever my daughter wears it I will associate it with the fun and laughter this afternoon. Do come back to England again soon…
    Enjoy your remaining time in London Steph and happy knitting on your way home.

  118. Stephanie. Thank you so much for coming to our show and making so many knitters so very happy. It was great to spend time with you and a pleasure to have you with us. Enjoy the rest of your short stay and come back soon. C&G

  119. Pip, pip. Stiff upper lip. Come now Stephanie, it’s high time you got yourself into the corner pub. You will deeply regret it if you don’t. Going by yourself, you have a wonderful opportunity to meet people and talk to the locals. Its not as if you are going into some sleazy tavern. Ask yourself, What would my Grandad do?

  120. It was great to meet you today, your presentation had me laughing as much as your books do, Thankyou. Please come back to London soon as it is fantastic to see our city through the lens of your camera with your amusing commentary.
    My “emergency knitting” was keeping me company all the way home.

  121. I don’t know, Stephanie, I am from Louisiana and the Parisians always figure that out too when I begin speaking French. They compliment me, but with the air that they’re speaking to a slightly above proficient schoolchild. I guess I get an A for Effort (I get the same attitude from the denizens of Quebec, but with significantly less patronization, heh).
    If it helps – but don’t hold me to this – I have noticed that most often the French, or at least Parisians, pronounce oui more like “way” instead of “wee.” I suppose it is their equivalent of “yeah?” Haven’t a clue but I go with it.

  122. Just wanted to add my thanks for the talk today. It was excellently done, and even better than I was expecting! And it feels rather good to be reading on the blog about something I’ve actually been present at. Don’t know when you have to leave but I hope the rest of your stay is enjoyable.
    Thank you again.

  123. I was at your talk today too (I asked the silly question about men!) and have to say how much I enjoyed your humour.
    I am sorry you didn’t get to Button Queen when they were open….it really is a wonderful shop.
    Just got back to the Isle of Wight….a long day…but worth it! Thanks!

  124. Thank you, Even I, who avoid London and other big cities like the plague, was impressed by your descriptions. My problem is that I slow down so much and get so distracted looking at all the fascinating elements, that I actually get dizzy and completely discombobulated in such places. So thanks, for showing us around!

  125. One commenter says Canadians say “way”, one says Parisans say “way”. I don’t understand why either would say ‘way’…is it more on where you accent it? I’ve always said “wee”.
    I love old cities, but way too often they are also big and scary cities, LOL. Thanks for the lovely pictures!

  126. We never build up an immunity. We might not show it when we rush past you, heads down, brollies up, but we love it. Really. There’s always something new to see, or an old familiar thing appears in a new light.
    Today I had to work, and as my bus crossed Waterloo Bridge at 8.30am, I looked up the river and I was overwhelmed by the beauty. So, I got off at the next stop and walked back over the bridge, in completely the wrong direction for work. But the moment, just then, was breathtaking. The light was fresh and crisp and the river was still, and you could see from Westminster to Tower Bridge, and there was everything, the whole of London in one place. It just blew me away. I realised why Wordsworth wrote his poem there, because if I was poet, I would have written a poem there and then as well. And I was glad, so glad, that this is my city, and I can do this, be here, every day.
    I’m so pleased you are enjoying it too. Oh, and keep up the walking and looking up, not enough people do that around here.

  127. Of course, I’m a bit of an idiot, cause Wordsworth wrote his poem on Westminster Bridge (it’s the w’s that throw me). But still, he was on the river, and I understand that.

  128. Stephanie, I have to say – THANK YOU, for being such an entertaining “speaker”, I could’ve listened to you for hours. :0) I hope you enjoyed the “Magic Lagyr” (magic lager – welsh beer) – I would’ve talked for longer (about my Cassidy cardi especially) but was so overwhelmed that I was actually speaking to the “Yarn Harlot” (who commented on MY sweater) that I csme over all “unecessary”. *LOL* Seriously – I was shaking dude!! ;0)

  129. I love the way you manage to bring all of us along with you when you travel. I may never get to London, but at least I’ve seen some of it through your eyes. The positive attitude you seem to have about everything is fantastic. Hope you continue to have a great time in London & a safe trip home. (And good for you, being adventurous & going out in search of buttons. 🙂

  130. You’re positively killing me with all the London photos and comments!!! I withstood it for 2 days, but the 3rd….I miss it so much. I have spent 4 months there and I never became immune to tripping over cracks in the sidewalk.
    Must book a trip. It’s been too long since I’ve been abroad.

  131. My photos from the two trips I have taken (Southern England once and Scotland and northern England, both with my church choir) are largely collections of little thises and thats (and you are right, they are everywhere!), photos of the British ways of signage (things like “Mind the step” instead of “Caution”) and photos of clever pub signs. My favorite one being “The Slug and Lettuce”, which I think was in York.
    By the way, in case you haven’t dredged it from your memory banks yet, “bruit” is French for “noise”. Do you supposed they were trying to say you had an accent?

  132. My parents lived in London in the 90s (CAF) and I remember that same sense of “Isn’t it lovely?” at every turn when I visited them. Thanks for the reminders.

  133. I could tell you were not American without the Canadian reference. I love traveling & feel all countries have something valuable to give & to learn from. I am an American & my viewpoint is not shared with many of the people around me. Knitters are a special type of traveler. One of their best qualities is to keep an open mind & to open to any opportunity,lesson,viewpoint they come across. Thanks for your joy in discovering a very special place.

  134. If you have any extra time you really need to see West Minster Abbey. It is AMAZING, and the guides LOVE Canadians. Absolutely the best time I spent in London.

  135. London = best city in the world. I love it. It’s like home. You’re pictures have brought tears to my eyes.
    Glad to see you made it to Hyde Park! (At least I’m pretty sure it’s Hyde Park. Regents park is farther north, near Camden and Islington).
    good luck with the speech and the work!

  136. “Le bruit d’un canard” LOL I know this one! If you say “oui” in Canadian/Quebecoise French it will likely sound like “whey” whereas Parisian French it sounds like “we”. The “whey” sound of our “oui” is much like that of a duck! So that’s why many French people make fun of Quebecoise and Canadians’ accents.
    I hope you get to find some buttons!

  137. Aw, man! You’re just making me miss London now, and I wasn’t even all that in love with it last time! Perhaps if I’d been a knitter when I was there, eh?
    Try to find some time to hit at least ONE pub…after all, they’re not open that late over there.

  138. My first trip to London I walked all over the place, practically falling on my face looking at the beautiful historic buildings. I finally took a bus tour so I could find out what all those gorgeous places were. (Turns out some of them were things like insurance agencies!) I’ve loved your London blogs; they bring it all back as if it were yesterday, and that was many years ago.
    I understand your speech mentioned TSF; it’s been ages since the total was updated. I know you’ve been hugely busy but as a longtime supporter of MSF I’d love to know how much we TSFers have contributed.

  139. HI Stephanie
    Oh how I wish I could warm one of those seats and travel around with you and see London for the first time as well!!
    Have you ever made Washington DC ? Have a son there perhaps we could arrange a date and time…!! 🙂
    One thing tho if you ever make it down here no way will you have to travel around alone… I would willing volunteer to bring my sock to meet yours for coffee and touring.
    Have fun I am sure you will crack them up.
    Cheers and knit on >^..^<

  140. It’s like looking back in time. I’m wistful and remembering the time I was there. Yes, there’s St. Jame’s Park, where I met a sweet Nanny and two little boys that played ‘football’ with then 5yo TJ. We saw the changing of the guard there at the palace. I’ve walked past many of those quaint buildings..
    So long ago.. 5 1/2 years and nearly 3 children ago.

  141. I hope your talk went swimmingly. I’m sure you were terribly funny, and only when you wanted to be.
    You MUST get some guards to hold the sock. I wonder if they would. They seem pretty stoic. Maybe you shouldn’t get a guard to hold a sock, you might get him fired.

  142. :sigh: I heart London. I would love to live there. And the fact that it’s sweater weather practically all year round? Just icing on the cake.

  143. Dear Harlot, you are stirring up the memories of my youth! And today, you walked on Buckingham Gate and you took pictures of the same things I took pictures of in the summer of 1979!!! That ship is one of my favourite things ever! My best friend and I joined the “student work abroad program” for university students, so instead of getting summer jobs in Brampton, yes, that Brampton, we worked in London at the St. James Hotel (now I think the Crowne Plaza St. James) which is all spiffed up and renovated since we were there. I’m pretty sure it’s the hotel steps of your picture. (It has a to-die-for terra cotta frieze of characters from Shakespeare in the inner courtyard.) We used to hang out in St. James Park, read Canadian newspapers in Canada House, watch Morris dancing at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday nights, pay our respects to Richard III in the National Portrait Gallery.
    Oh, the memories of wandering London are still vivid after all these years! I’m so glad you have had the opportunity to do exactly what you’ve done! It’s the very best way to see beautiful London!

  144. You have now made me utterly homesick for London, which I left 12 years ago after living in for 12 years. Your description was wonderful.
    My aunt lives in Toronto, so I may have to see if you are doing any signings/talks/whatever there and plan a visit.
    BTW, modern French people do pronounce “Oui” as “whey”, coinciding with an intake of breath, but it’s slangy. Despite my barely schoolgirl French even I can pick out French-Canadian accents (sorry, but they are, er … distinctive) and knowing how rude French teenagers can be I must congratulate you on clearly having a great aura to have had them laugh but be friendly. Well done!
    Hope some fans gave you buttons you like, but even if they did still go to Liberty’s if you can. It’s one of the shops I most miss from London.

  145. while in London, do go to Foyles bookstore on Tottenham Court road, down from Oxford circus….you will find every knitting book,( and other subjects) known to man…an absolutely fabulous store.

  146. How long to build up immunity to London? Don’t know but it’s more than 10 years. I lived there for a decade, have been back in Australia for 6 years and recently returned to London for a holiday and was still every bit as enchanted with the place as you are. When it the bug bites, it bites hard and if you are lucky you will never get over it!

  147. I have always been shy too, but I realized last year that it has been hurting me more than helping. I decided to make a change – taking baby steps at being more outgoing, meeting people, asking questions and getting out and doing things. So far so good! No one has been mean to me or made me feel stupid. I’m especially good with other knitters! This has only taken 47 years to come to this conclusion, but I am changing and it feels good.
    Wish I were in London with you – it looks lovely. Thank you for the wonderful photos. I wish you good luck with all your speaking engagements, although I’m confident you won’t need it. Everyone in the audience loves you.

  148. I know that the last thing you need is yet another comment, but I’m going to anyway. I’ve always wanted to travel, and have loved the thought of London . . . but now it’s an absolute must. What a perfectly lovely place; and I’ve got at least a decade to read up on it before I get there. :o)

  149. I am so glad that I don’t have your job, I wonder whether that hall was more intimidating full or empty? If you still have time I’d recommend St Paul’s Cathedral, go downstairs, find Nelson’s tomb and recognise the esteem in which he was held. If you are good with heights and wobbly steps you used to be able to go right up to the top but I remember it as very dicey and it now probably fails every risk assessment there is.

  150. So sad I missed it. I was so looking forward to seeing you at iKnit, but the rain caused all the the train lines in the north and middle to be shut – no one was going anywhere. *sigh* I got up mega early and on the train and everything, only to be turned around and abandoned at a station that wasn’t my home station. From the initial chat, it was fabulous. Please come back!
    Re: the Canadian thing, often people will be polite and ask someone w/ a North American accent if they are Canadian because Americans find this funny if it is incorrect while Canadians don’t seem to like being mistaken for being an American. I get asked all the time ‘Whereabouts in Canada are you from?’ and I have to let them in on the dirty secret that I’m not, I’m from California. That opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms…

  151. Hurray! The Harlot took more beautiful pictures to share. Your pictures are just wonderful. I really love the next to last picture, the brick building with those stunning flowers all over it. How wonderful! That building must make everyone who sees it smile.
    I was in London once, many years ago for one night. It wasn’t nearly enough LOL! While I didn’t too much of a problem with have jet lag going to Europe, it sure kicked my butt when I came home! Thanks for sharing all those amazing pictures. It makes me want to go on vacation. I’ll have to add London to my itinerary…….. after I go to Newfoundland of course!

  152. You were wonderful and inspiring at IKnit. I do hope you come back next year. I have told my partner that the time I spend knitting is good for my brain and may even stave off Alzheimers. Hope the interviews went o.k., will try and find some of the TV ones on the net.

  153. It was wonderful to hear your knitting wit for real. I was in the second row, soaking wet from the sudden downpour, and so entranced by your fun and humour I had to stuff my fiddlehead mittens away – I just couldn’t read the chart and giggle at the same time. Thanks for a lovely afternoon!

  154. I’m very much enjoying following your travels all over London, Stephanie. You take great photos and to me, it almost feels like I am there with you.
    I hope your talk went well yesterday, and that you get to find some buttons for Hey Teach before you head for home.
    I think I would be overwhelmed with the beauty and history of London (let alone the rest of Europe) if I visited as well.

  155. We loved you. Thanks SO much for coming. Sorry that the hall and vast numbers of us were so scary. Safe trip home.

  156. Thank you so much! I could tell you’re married to a sound engineer: that nifty trick to get the microphone to stop feeding back!
    And, had you fainted, I’d have been up their putting your feet up in the air to assist recuperation while everyone else took pictures. I’m nice like that.

  157. Thank you for your wonderful photos and humor. One can sense your pride both in Canada and the history of Britain…
    Will you have time to check out some of the history of knitting in the Isles?
    I am visiting London through your travels…thank you again.
    Yes, the Queen should invite you to tea!

  158. Steph, thank you so much for coming to see us. I really enjoyed hearing you speak. If I had been able to stay and have my book signed and say hello in person, I would have said: Come back soon.

  159. Can anyone identify the building in the next to last photo in this post, the one with the flowers on each floor ?
    Such wonderful photos ! London is such a wonderful city and how I would love to go back !

  160. I wonder if they had buttons in the Arcade? The British equivalent of a “strip mall” or a covered shopping center here in the colonies…

  161. Somebody out there, get this woman an invitation to meet the Queen!
    Surely she would agree to hold the sock…and have her picture taken…okay, well, maybe not. But I don’t think it’s impossible to think that our North American Knitting Ambassador might someday meet the Queen!

  162. The building with the flowers is The Albert pub, you can just see the sign on the tip top of the building. It’s on Buckingham Gate.

  163. “with a violent, wet sincerity” I first read this as ….with a velvet, wet sincerity. I was thinking more sheets of rain, I guess. The other posters are correct, a travel book with your photos would be a great read. Hope you get to stay longer than you planned and see lots more.

  164. Dear Stephanie,
    I was at I Knit yesterday, and just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your talk. I expected it to be entertaining, and it was, I expected to learn things that I’d not known before, and I did. But what will stay with me is that you could not knit after the death of a family member, and counted your grief by knitting.
    Three weeks ago we had a close family member die, suddenly and far too young due to cancer. I’m just beginning to knit again.
    Thank you for sharing this, I don’t feel so alone knowing someone else has handled grief like this.
    Love Susan

  165. Thank you very much for more of London – the pictures are stunning. I now need to go there. Your love of your country gives me tears. If anyone on this waterball can benefit from the life you lead, the opportunities you have created for yourself – it is you. Have a lovely rest of your trip.

  166. It’s lovely to see London through someone else’s eyes, it does look like a fun place to be. Hope you’ve had a fantastic visit. When I’ve been out and about with ‘foreign’ friends I’ve noticed that British people are much more outgoing and friendly. I hope you were welcomed with open arms.
    Great talk yesterday, thank you very much.

  167. I think North America is such a young place in terms of architecture/colonization, that going to a place in the world that has so much more history to it (and if you’re connected to that history) has just got to be the most wonderful experience if you’re open to it. Enjoy yourself, I live in envy for the moment

  168. This entry brought back such wonderful memories for me! I lived in London while I was in middle school and high school — graduated from the American School in London (you haven’t wandered around that neighborhood yet but given your wanderings it is only a matter of time!!) — and did an article on the Button Queen for my journalism class. In the mid-80s. So happy to see it is still there! I still love and miss London and I am glad to see that you are enjoying it so thoroughly.

  169. I’m amazed you haven’t received more comments after your talk yesterday…..I put that down to the British reserve (I live amongst them…)However despite being British by residence if not birth, I’d like to say your talk was great, everyone seemed to be enjoying it, and thank you for coming over and entertaining us :0)
    Oh, and reminding me why it is such a shame I no longer live in London….

  170. I really enjoyed your talk yesterday at Iknit, hope you enjoyed the bottles of lager that you were given.
    Maybe next time you can come to Wales to visit and talk at WonderWool Wales.

  171. Thankyou for coming to see us! It was a great talk and we loved every word. It is hard to explain the flood of feelings, to actually be in one of those big rooms we have been seeing in your photos for a while now. Like Christmas and graduation all mixed up. I brought my daughter, because she knows who you are through your books, and Catriona was very excited to meet you, you were so sweet to her. I realised then, that although I love your knitting thoughts, and have learned many, many things through your blog, it is your advice and example of what it is to be a Mom/Mum that I really treasure. Please visit us again, and why not see Edinburgh and Cardiff as well, next time you are here? There are a tremendous number of knitters in the North, and a lot of sheep and fibre…can we tempt you?

  172. I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for coming to the UK and to iKnit yesterday. It made a very special day in London even more special!! The crazy queuing in the pouring rain to get into Lindley Hall and the sight of hundreds of knitters knitting away while listening to you and laughing out loud – it was a fantastic way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon in London!

  173. Stephanie –
    So glad you are enjoying London! Isn’t it grand!?!
    I’ve been looking at the pics and reading about your walks thinking “I’ve been there! I know exactly where she is. I’ve gotten lost there too.”
    I miss London and can’t wait to go back.
    Although – I’m not as brave when it comes to taking pictures in random spots. I only take pics in the touristy places. (Must be braver!)
    I love just walking around. When I first moved to Toronto my brother told me the only way to get over my nerves on the highway was to just drive and not worry about getting lost – because eventually you’ll stumble on something familiar. I used that advice the first time I went to London – I just start walking – I knew I’d find something eventually!

  174. The Knutsford Knitters would also like to thank you. I can’t remember when I have spent a more amusing and relaxing hour and a half, sitting and knitting with friends and listening to you talk. It felt almost surreal until you scared the pants off us by pulling faces through the window of the restaurant where we were eating. Come back soon – it was great to see you for real.

  175. stephanie, i am truly enjoying your visit to london through your eyes. england is just one place i would like to visit someday. your pictures are amazing.

  176. I agree, London is the greatest city in the world and your talk yesterday was the perfect excuse for me to pop over for the weekend to enjoy it! You were fab, it was a lovely afternoon and I hope you survived the three hours of book-signing. I only thought afterwards of inviting you today to go see the antique lace in the V and A, I hope you’ve been there before! And sorry, by the way, I only finished the Dutch dishcloth during your talk so didn’t get to block it. I still haven’t figured what you *need enough of them for three* of. Hmmm…

  177. I love your words. I feel like I have been pulled into London and have taken every step that you have taken. The photos are beautirul but even without them, I can picture the beauty of London through you. Thank you. I look forward to more.

  178. Stephanie- you are WAY better than a travel guide, because you write from the perspective of a regular person, who might be jet-lagged, not sure of her surroundings and a bit timid. I am thoroughly enjoying your travels about town and the thoughts you are having while doing so. Your blog has become the highlight of my day
    Mary E

  179. I’ve been twice and totally agree about the joy of wandering and finding. (I’m also glad I’m not the only tourist in the world who takes pictures of interesting signs and interesting bits of interesting buildings.)
    If you have another few free hours, check to see what’s being displayed in the Queen’s Gallery near the Buckingham Palace. The second time I was there (with US high school students), our tour guide told us about it and we lucked into a display of Faberge eggs and other items from the Queen’s collection. Glorious doesn’t even come close.

  180. I am so very much enjoying seeing London like a tiny mouse in your pocket. Thanks so much for sharing. When/if I make it there, it will probably be with others and less wandering time, and I am so enjoying your shy person’s adventuring (that would be me, too!)
    Mais, vous êtes canadienNE, bien sûr! Being most feminine! Even though a feminine canard, apparently….heaven only knows what Parisians would do with my high-school French accent these days (probably what they did 30 years ago — ignore me! The people I ran into in the South of France were very nice and patient, though I found their accent quite hard to understand….)

  181. oh dear, an exhausting time in spite of the novelty. Poor you. I traveled Edinborough solo and was entirely comfortable. Perhaps there next round in GB? Hmmm, somebody failed you, but I won’t point fingers.

  182. If I were poking around London for work, I’d be thinking, “This is international me…in London…working.”
    It’s nice to see you appreciating it.

  183. Stephanie: I have to send you a big thank you for this post. You taught me that people who go to a city with open hearts and wonder will probably have a better time than people who go in another way. They certainly take better pictures. All I’m sayin’ but thanks again.

  184. What fun to watch you wander London and see such a majestic city. Your pictures have been so enjoyable.
    I am hoping you will be able to get a picture of the sock riding the tube, because that would make it a “tube sock”.
    Sorry, couldn’t resist. ;>)

  185. What a lovely way to see London! So many are saying you should be a travel writer, but the point is that you are just really good. (although I’d love to see you do a travel show like Anthony Bourdain except knitting and with the eye of an artist) P.S. Having nerves gives you energy.

  186. As a Londonder, I was gutted not to be able to come and hear you talk. I’ve had it in my diary for months but was thwarted at the last minute.
    I’m glad you’re enjoying our city, although this made me laugh:
    >wondering if the £2 I had in my pocket was enough for a pint
    If you can find anywhere in this fair city that will sell you a pint for £2, please let me know!!!
    In the interests of cultural exchange, I’m a frequent visitor to Toronto as my sister lives tehre. I’m equally impressed with your stamping ground 🙂

  187. Oh Stephanie. You just made me so homesick I burst into tears.
    The best thing in Australia right now are my husband and my little Aussie sons. Boo-hoo.
    OH! Go to the British Museum!!!!

  188. Wow, you totally sell London. I want to go back now. I know it’s as beautiful as you say, but I clearly didn’t get out enough when I was there. (Honeymoons should be spent at home, travel later….)

  189. I just want to thank you for the awesome tour of London. I would love to go there and probably will never make it so these blogs are as if I were there. I thank you again. Keep up the wonderful work.

  190. Wonderful pictures! I always enjoy reading about your travel adventures, but I’m enjoying your London stories particularly because I leave for the UK (we’re traveling through northern England and Scotland, then finishing the trip in London) tomorrow! I’ve never been there before and have wanted to go since I was very young, so this trip is the dream of a lifetime come true for me. I’ve been emailing my husband every day, saying “look what the Harlot did in London today!” and can’t wait to get on that plane and do it all myself. Hurray for London!

  191. The photo of the empty hall made me giggle – I guess they learned from the posts bemoaning the lack of chairs in previous venues? It filled up though (!) and a fab time was had by all.

  192. Ohhh You are (comparatively) so close to me now… I am sad I could not come and be with you in London for a few minutes. I promise I would not giggle at your duck accent. I am proud to be a canadian too, even if it does not hear so, and I always have a weak spot when I hear this “music” of a talk. (You can laugh at my english if you wish.)
    Thank you for the great photos of details. I love details.
    I love London too.

  193. I was in London last year for the first time and know what you mean. We ended up just walking and walking looking at all the incredible architectural details etc. I almost got hit by a bus and I got whiplash from swiveling my head around to see the next great thing every 10 seconds. I must have taken 5,000 photos. Thanks for sharing yours it brings back good memories to look at them.

  194. Two things in case you wanted to know.
    1) You were on the way to St. James Park (in case you wanted to know, when you walk down Queen’s Walk Green Park is on your right, houses on your left, and St. James is directly opposite as you come out).
    2)£2.00 is DEFINITELY not enough for a pint.

  195. I’m jealous beyond words, beyond reason, beyond sanity.
    Thank you for showing me this place I’ve always wanted to vist through your eyes–someday I’ll go there too, and you will be part of it. FRICKIN’ AWESOME!

  196. As a resident of London for nearly 9 years (originally from YOrkshire) can I say how lovely it was to read that you think my adopted city is wonderful and you are so right about those of us who are lucky enough to live here forgetting that. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

  197. Oh my gosh, after a post like that, how much longer can I stay here and not grab a cheap fare to London? Do you know what kind of damage you are doing to my Travel account???
    I love how magical it all sounds… hope your interview went swimmingly. As far as you remember, anyway.

  198. I can’t tell you how delighted I am to have read how much you enjoyed London. It is such a pleasure to see it through the eyes of a visitor. And there is something to see everyday, even if you have lived here forever.

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