The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

2 Weeks in the UK

43 years ago I was born in Accrington, England and, as the story goes, I was lucky to be born alive.  When I emerged into the world I had my umbilical cord wrapped around my throat.  Not only that, it also had a knot in it.  The knot is so rare a thing for a live baby to have in his umbilical cord that the good folks at the hospital apparently saved it in a jar of formaldehyde.  I assume it still sits with a peeling label, dusty on a shelf.

Well, I did live and when I was 4 months old the family moved to Canada.  Except for a twelve hour stop in London waiting for a ferry crossing to Belgium, I'd never returned to the land where I was born. Now I have and it was an enlightening and emotional trip.

We flew in to Gatwick airport and as luck would have it my aunt and her husband live a short jaunt away in nearby Copthorne Bank.  They live here:

It is called "Crown House" and would serve as a home away from home for our stay.

Close to my aunt's house is a place called "Wakehurst" - a park and manor house that are part of Britain's National Trust.  I was told it was a favourite place of my father who was a friend of all things green and living. When I was a kid and my dad taught me how to draw, his bridges invariably looked just like this:

A little walk down from this bridge was the Manor House:

It is an impressive structure and one I photographed extensively.  I will be using details of the Wakehurst Manor House in my Middleman Acquisitions stories.  After all, Alistair Middleman needs a stately home to live in.

We took many trips into London.  The rail and underground systems make getting around easy for a family at a very reasonable price.  On our first trip into London we saw this

at the Natural History Museum.  Then we travelled up the road a bit to Royal Albert Hall.

The boy made me snap this one quick so that we'd get the double decker bus in the shot.

The following day we visited the Tower of London and got the obligatory picture of the Beefeater.

And that's it for today.  

Join us here again for more pictures as we explore London from on high and visit the landscape of Wales, where I'll disclose some family history concerning Wales' greatest poet and its greatest hymn writer.

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