oh, and a title here, maybe

Long trek out to Hampton Court Palace; a pilgrimage in honour of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which I read last year and Jeremy is reading as I blog. Hedge maze, formal gardens, Royal Chapel with its piecework ceiling so blue and geometric it looked almost Islamic, J pointed out. “It’s trying to be the Hagia Sofia and the Sistine Chapel,” I said. “It’s too small!” said J, but it isn’t: not to me. It was the first Church of England and I grew up in its shadow. Claire read every single sign in Henry VIII’s apartments, looking like a girl in a Vermeer painting with the light angling through the diamond-paned windows. I resolved to love beauty more, and to read more history, although upon reflection loving beauty and reading history is what got me into all this trouble in the first place. I didn’t like the Christopher Wren bits much. I said so, later, at a picnic in Richmond, forgetting that the Baroque is Hannah’s area of expertise. It took us seven million billion years to get back to Bloomsbury and there were drunk young men on the train and my back is still aching from the armoured spines I sprouted in response, but there was good sushi for dinner, yes, and cold sauvignon blanc. And so to bed.

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