Monday, September 13, 2010

Slipping on Gravestones

Now I'm in a bar in Copenhagen
And I'm trying hard to forget your name
And I'm staring at the label on a bottle of cerveza
And every fucking city feels the same - Paul Kelly

Just a few short days ago I was sight-seeing a small church near  Macclesfield, England.

And now I'm 30,000 feet above sea level, on Delta flight 155 traveling back to New York.

There is supposed to be internet access on board, but it isn't working yet. We are too far from the U.S. I hope to post this before we land.

We land in New York - my current home. And despite the Paul Kelly song, every city is not the same.

Despite globalization, despite the proliferation of Starbucks, the Gaps and DNKYs, there are still places that have an  individual identity indelibly stamped upon them; their own identity. Manhattan and Buxton for example.

Buxton, the Peak district, United Kingdom. I've just come from there. Apart from the friendships that are both timeless and placeless  - (D, L and J thank you) - there are the the local endearing peculiarities.

"One glass of white wine please?" "Large or small?" Excuse me???

Tea and scones with jam-not-jelly and clotted  cream, recently made into a habit for me and D for "afternoon  tea". Stately homes now staffed by volunteers and visited by "commoners". School kids in traditional school uniforms that they've slung on in a hurry, St Trinians'-like, but with a certain panache -  or is it just that they don't even need to care?

Eccentric  elderly couples taking Sunday walks  with local  maps and hiking shoes - the women  without make-up and the men without guile - through the adjoining British countryside, somehow reminding  one that WWII isn't so far away.

The tabloids with their screaming headlines and page 3 girls.

The freeways interrupted by traffic lights and roundabouts.

Buxton, Derbyshire. Just last night I was sitting in a  Buxton pub. At 10:00 pm the local "teams" lined up for the Sunday night quiz. Teams with names like "The Few", "Cupcakes" and "The Manchester Balls". The publican reads out  general knowledge questions - well English general knowledge questions. Our team, the Cupcakes came third. I feel guilty as they'd' accepted my  answer to "Which company introduced travelers' checks?" I said Thomas Cook when it was in fact American Express.

Not that it mattered. We all had fun, and  numerous glasses of "large white wine".

I'll miss D, L and J and Buxton. Nothing can replace old friends. And of course, nothing needs to.

And so it is New York, New York.  My city which I love. So good they named it twice.

But why  oh why are there no tea-rooms there? Tea-rooms with scones, jam-not-jelly and clotted cream.


Jaded NYer said...

"But why oh why are there no tea-rooms there? Tea-rooms with scones, jam-not-jelly and clotted cream."

Oh but there are -- Try The PLAZA on Fifth Avenue.
You could pretend to be Eloise.

Me, I like a few cupcakes with my manchester balls.

Welcome back - oh she who hates ecards

Grahame said...

The publican, in asking you what size glass you wanted, was giving you the opportunity of saying in a booming voice, "I'll have a LARGE ONE"; an opportunity which you squandered.

Unknown said...

Welcome back Kate, I am sure New York wasn't the same without you.

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