Many apologies for not posting recently, but we've been busy: a couple of weeks ago we added a new reader to our family in the form of CRjrst (short for CRjuniorest). Between him and CRjr we're a bit up to our ears in newborn squalls and three-year-old tantrums, but in a good way.
But the point of this post is to once again thank Helene Hanff. I took two of her books along with me to the hospital, just as I did when CRjr came along. I had less time to read them this time, but at one point Mr. CR had left to pick up CRjr, and CRjrst and I were alone, and he was sleeping. So I ordered up some lunch, parked CRjrst next to me, and read The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street while I ate lunch and looked out the window at the beautiful fall weather. It was something as near to a perfect moment as I ever hope to experience. Here's how Helene describes one of her favorite moments visiting London:
"...Hatfield House was the crowning touch. It's not the oldest palace or the most beautiful, it's just Elizabeth's [Elizabeth I's]. She grew up there. One wing of her palace is still standing, we saw her dining rooms--and more of her kitchens than she ever saw of them.
We sat on a stone bench in the garden. It was quiet and deserted and four hundred years dropped away, you could imagine yourself there in the garden with her when the gentlemen of the Council rode up and dismounted and knelt to tell her she was Queen of England." (p. 133.)
If you don't know her, Hanff is the author of the spectacular title 84, Charing Cross Road, which is a collection of the twenty-year correspondence between her and a bookseller located on Charing Cross Road in London. The book described above, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, is her travelogue memoir of a trip she was able to take to London after the Charing Cross Road book was published.
Anyway. I hope not to be in the hospital again anytime soon. But if I am, I will certainly take her along again. She's one of the most soothing companions I know.