Friday, February 17, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Magpie Take a Trip

Portobello Road

I haven't told you the giddy news yet: Mr. Magpie and I are headed back to England for a week in March!  We are beside ourselves with delicious joy.

Crystal Globe Pendants at the V&A

Chihuly at the V&A

As some of you know, when Mr. Magpie is not busy fulfilling his duties as my better half on this blog, he is known as Dr. Todd Avery, Scholar of British Modernist Literature and Professor of English.  I need to finish sewing his superhero costume, which has a large, sparkly, Edwardian "B" on the front.  B for British and for Bloomsbury, as in the folks he writes about from the Bloomsbury Group. His brilliant books can be found here and here and here (pdf order form from Cecil Woolf Publishers) and here (beautiful exhibition catalog Todd wrote from a Bloomsbury Exhibition he curated at the Lilly Library in 1999 when he was still a graduate student.  The book is now a collectible and a must for Bloomsbury lovers.  Yes, I'm bragging.)  I don't use "brilliant" lightly.  My guy is a smarty pants, and because he is one, he spends a great deal of time doing the sorts of things that smarty pants do, like rummaging through archives and leafing through forgotten papers and books and recordings and even very old films.  Fortunately for me, this means he must travel as often as possible to libraries far and wide, which in turn means I often get to travel beside him.  Occasionally I even share in writing duties;  you can find an article Mr. Magpie and I co-wrote here.   He, being a singular bird, does not much like flying, so having a trusty traveling companion makes the whole business much less taxing.  Perhaps that sounds odd for a superhero, but not all superheroes love to fly.  Batman prefers his Batmobile.  Mr. Magpie prefers his desk chair and his mighty fountain pen.  They take him all the way around the world, thank you very much.

Needs no caption!  :)

Detail of horse from the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum--I visit them every trip!

On this trip, he must visit some film archives in London and a library or two in Cambridge.  Hooray for him!  Hooray for me!  London just happens to be my favorite city.  This time we will be staying outside of the city in Greenwich, one of the prettiest places I know, in a lovely B&B that I have heard is a gem.  We've stayed all over London, but we've never stayed overnight in Greenwich, and I LOVE the markets there, the museums and parks, and the food, so I will have much to report upon our return.

Arriving at Greenwich by riverboat on the Thames

After Greenwich, it will be off to Cambridge.  I've only ever spent a day and a night there, so I am thrilled!  We haven't found the perfect place to stay in Cambridge yet.  If any of you know a fabulous place that is not crazy expensive (we are traveling on an academic budget, which, despite what many conservative US politicians will tell you about lazy and greedy academics, is decidedly not a luxury budget!), please let me know.  We've asked around to some friends and colleagues, but have yet to hit upon the place that fits both our budget and our simple needs (clean, quiet, convenient for walking, ensuite bath, good breakfasts).  For me, when we're on this type of trip, a pretty room is a bonus.  Of course I'd like it, but, honestly, I'd rather spend the money on some good food and wonderful experiences than on a super luxury room.  Am I crazy?  I prefer to think I'm just a girl with a camera who sees her hotel room as a place to sleep between adventures like the one pictured below.

Portobello Road--delicious!

I know some of you live in or near London, so you know just why I am so excited to return.  For those of you who don't live there, I wish I could take you in my pocket, especially to my favorite markets, where we would have a ball together.  I promise to return with photos and new discoveries to share.

We won't be leaving for a few weeks yet, so if you see this any time before March and know of an inn/B&B in Cambridge, please feel free to drop me an email!

Roses at Saint Paul's Cathedral.  I've only climbed to the top once!  What a view!

Happy weekend, my friends, and welcome to new subscribers and followers!  I'm looking forward to making my blog rounds this weekend!  Can't wait to see what you're all up to.  x Gigi

P.S. All the photos above are from our last UK trip two years ago.  I've been missing it so!


  1. I am SO EXCITED for you! Your trip is so soon.

  2. Yes!!!! Don't you think you should skip school and come with me? I won't tell a soul!

  3. Yeah! I am so happy for you and your Mr! London is one of my fave places too, as you know and we will be making an appearance there this summer for a few days too! Can't wait to hear all about your trip! xxoo :)

  4. Oh! Oh my! OH MY!!

    How exciting!!!!

    We never did get to London last month, as planned. No. But it was not cancelled, only postponed until further notice.

    I wonder....

    *runs to consult Money Fairy*

  5. I love London and your pictures are fabulous too.

    Skip Hire London

  6. B for British and for Bloomsbury... be still my heart!!!! You KNOW how thrilled I am for you, Gigi! London is my most fave place on Earth! ;o) So excited to hear about your trip and your Todd's achievements. You are both the creative power-couple, you know. LOVE, love, love seeing these photos... I have been missing London too. We were there last July, but I miss it every day. I do. I think about your times in the UK, London especially, every single day. Happy days dreaming & making ready for your trip. Throw London a kiss from me when you see Her :o) ((LOVE & HUGS))

  7. Oh Gigi,
    How brilliant....a trip to London. It's so funny ( and lovely) to hear people wax lyrical about London. I am a Londoner and it is my favourite city in the world bar NONE !! I am biased, I know, but, we have travelled quite a bit and there are some beautiful cities around the world but, nothing touches London. Cambridge is only about 3/4 of an hour away from where i live and I go there a lot.I love Cambridge sister and brother-in-law lived there when they were first married while my brother-in-law was doing his Phd there. I shall have a look and see if I can find some reasonably priced B&B's for you.
    Lovely images and now there will be many more to add to your collection. XXXX

  8. Oh my goodness hardly have time to pack! So soon which makes it all the more fun. You will have the most wonderful time, you two sound like such a good fit! Happy weekend. XO

  9. How exciting for you and your husband! I also love London and was there last September. It may be my favorite city!
    What a delightful surprise to learn that your husband wrote the book on the exhibition at Indiana University "Close and Affectionate Friends" about Desmond and Molly MacCarthy. I ordered that book when I heard about it many years ago and it is one of my favorites on Bloomsbury. I took it out this morning after reading your blog and it really is a treasure. Wonderful photos and text. I visited Charleston for the second time when I was in England in September. Bloomsbury has been one of my passions for a long time and I have been collecting books on the subject forever. Your husband's book is a wonderful part of the story that all these books tell.

  10. How wonderful! Very happy for you!


  11. It does sound just wonderful, Gigi! Good for the two of you.

  12. I'm so happy for you - oh to be in England in the Spring.... I've only been a mental traveler to that country but someday hope to land there in person. Like you, I would rather spend my money on things other than accommodations... things like British editions of my favourite books by British authors, china, woolens, suitings and shirtings (I'm a textile junkie!)
    These next weeks will be full of delightful anticipation for and I look forward to hearing of your adventures...

  13. How very, very exciting! I have yet to explore the UK much, but am dreaming. I will look forward to your pictures and stories.

  14. Sounds like a wonderful trip. Enjoy!

  15. I was born and grew up in London and love it too. Have a great time!

  16. Gigi, what an amazing pair you two make! Your upcoming trip sounds incredible. Envy is ugly, I'm well aware of it, but I just can't help turning green! Xx


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