Farewell London, Hello Burgundy (and a new dress)

Yesterday was our last day in London and Elizabeth and I spent most of it on Oxford Street, at Top Shop, where she bought a pair of pants, a sweater, and a shirt, and I bought a dress. I also came up with several new definitions for commonly used words. Here they are:

Joy: trying on a dress in Top Shop and discovering that not only can you fit into something in a store where your teenage daughter shops, it actually looks good on you.

Horror: discovering that the dress is from the maternity collection.

Hypocrisy: when the mother who repeatedly tells her child, “labels mean nothing; what’s important is what’s inside,” decides she won’t buy a dress that looks good on her because she accidentally picked it up in the maternity section. [At the time I wasn’t paying attention to the label, because, you know, labels mean nothing.]

The thing is, I liked the dress. And it was only £20 and very practical. And it bothered me that I wasn’t going to buy it just because of what the label said.

The salesgirl told me that Top Shop also makes the dress in non-maternity sizes. I tried one on, positive that it would look awful and I’d feel even worse about myself. But it fit well and I felt a mixture of relief and elation. Elizabeth thought it looked better than the maternity dress.

However, it was also about three inches shorter than the maternity dress. (Maybe pregnant women in Britain are particularly self conscious about their knees?) The upshot was, I preferred the maternity dress. Just not one that felt so roomy. So I tried one on in a smaller size.  It fit perfectly, and I felt comfortable in it, and I didn’t care that it was a maternity dress anymore.

Which leads me to my last new definition: Maturity: buying a dress from the maternity department as you’re entering menopause, not because you’re nostalgic and want to be pregnant again, but because the dress fits and you like it.

Other highlights of Monday in London: two great blasts from my past. I met up with my junior high and high school buddy, Valerie Gladwin Montgomery, on Oxford Street, in the afternoon. She joined Elizabeth and me for the last leg of the shopping trip. It was fantastic to see her and catch up on the last 34 years of our lives. Later that day we met up with Chris Baldwin, a friend from my Syracuse University days – he was managing editor of the Daily Orange, the SU daily paper, when I was a wee assistant news editor. Like Valerie, he’s lived in London for 20 years and also like her, he’s had a long and rather fascinating journey to get to where he is.

Valerie and I imitate our unforgettable junior high home ec teacher with her rallying cry, “Believe me, girls, believe me!”

Chris and Noah make me feel even shorter than I am, thanks to Dave’s creative camera angle.

Chris sent us to dinner at one of his favorite restaurants, Sketch, in a cab driven by a man who goes by the name of Cuban Tony, (although he’s Italian). When Tony found out we were from Canada it was as if we’d pressed his start button and he couldn’t stop talking about Cuba, and how he’d found out about Cuba from Canadians 18 years ago and since then he’s been there 15 times. He showed us a picture of Fidel Castro embracing him, and one of him posing with Che Guevera’s daughter (she’s a pediatrician in Havana). There’s a Cuban flag painted on his cab hood. You’ve heard of the Dashboard Jesus? Tony has a Dashboard Fidel. He sent us off with what I presume is his battle cry: “Long live Fidel! Bush go to hell!” The doorman at Sketch said, “That guy’s a right nutter.” But Dave, Elizabeth, Noah and I found him quite entertaining.

And the restaurant was even more entertaining. But I’ll get into that tomorrow because right now I’m exhausted. We woke up at 5:30 a.m. London time to catch a 7 a.m. train to Paris, and then drove four hours to La Cote, a hamlet in southern Burgundy.

Our friends, Augustin and Pamela Scalbert, have a house here, but they’re away so we’re here on our own. Fortunately Augustin’s mom, Mathilde, lives up the road, and she’s been helping us out. Tonight she made us dinner and we had a wonderful long visit with her.  I’ll write more about that tomorrow.

Here’s a picture I took in her garden.


3 Responses

  1. wonderful dress Debby and labels are just labels! Wear it somewhere fantastic!

  2. And here I thought the end of your London trip would mean I’d revert to my normal complexion, but nope. Green I shall continue to be! Sounds like a fabulous time, Debby! I hope France treats you well… ohhhhh the cheese. And the pain au chocolat. And all the other pastries. You might regret not getting the bigger dress yet!

  3. Hi Debby – I’m a reporter for London news website London24.

    Cuban Tony, who you refer to in this blog, has just donated his Cuba-themed taxi to a motoring museum in Havana.

    I was wondering if you’d mind us using your picture of him to accompany our piece?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: