Scone Me: A Return To London

posted in: Day In The Life, London, Tips, Travel 30
Devonshire tea. Image: Wikipedia.


Here we are, and here we go:

We’re back in London.

This time, we’re here with UK government-issued I.D. cards and and this time, it’s serious enough that we’ve rented our very own flat. (That our extended-stay Airbnb days are behind us is one of the many reasons Eric has been in a good mood since we arrived.) How long we’ll stay depends on the pandemic, the documentary, Eric’s work, and whether or not London will have us, I suppose. So far, the city seems cool with it, and the rest of the stuff I mentioned has to be taken day by day, and that would be true no matter where we live.

We’ve been here almost a month, but I’ve been timid about sharing the news. The timing of all this is odd, even shocking. If I heard someone was moving to another country during a global pandemic, I’d have an opinion. They’re moving now?? Couldn’t they just wait until the pandemic’s over??

But there were several reasons why we couldn’t wait, and besides, no one knows when the pandemic will be over or what “over” even looks like. If not now, safely, when? I assure you that Eric and I have been model pandemic-ans from the start: tests, masks, distancing, sacrificing holiday get-togethers, tuning in to various science-y podcasts when want to get good and scared (because the paranoid shall inherit the earth.) I also turned up the dial on my baseline introversion, which honestly — speaking as a true introvert — has been kind of awesome. Making two trips to England in less than a year’s time has been A Very Big Deal to us both psychologically and physically, and we’ve been as concerned about everyone else’s safety as we’ve been about our own. Nobody wants to make any of this worse, so we did all the stuff.

The stuff was no small feat, because you really cannot get into the UK right now without showing some serious paperwork. At O’Hare, we couldn’t even approach the ticket counter before showing the nice lady our documents. We each had to have proof of a negative COVID test (specifically the PCR kind, I think) within the past 48 hours and it had to be signed by a doctor; we each had to fill out a form on the UK government website (I brought a paper copy just in case); there was another form about having tests ordered for when we actually arrived in England; they needed proof of where we were staying; and then we had paperwork regarding the work visa stuff and obviously current passports and all that. We dutifully quarantined for 10 days and answered the phone when NHS called to check in on us — and they did, several times.

By the way, none of this felt invasive. None of it felt spooky or infringe-y. It was a relief. The very idea that we would be responsible for spreading the virus is unbearable. I was glad the authorities made it virtually impossible to do so.

But why did we engage that process? Why have we come here again? There are so many different ways to answer that question and because it feels really good to write again, let’s try on a few different styles. I now present to you a modest buffet of answers to the question: “Why have you moved, however temporarily, to London, Mary Fons?”

Cryptic: “Life unfolds in mysterious ways.”

Shakespearean: “Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale / Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man [so … do something exciting, like go to London during a pandemic.]” — King John (1598). Act III, scene 4, line 108.

Snippy: “None of your business.”

Busy: “Could we go over it tomorrow? I’m sorry, I’ve just got so much — yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah. Thank you. I mean, I want to — exactly. Yeah, exactly. Right?? Yeah. Okay. Okay, bye. You too. Bye.”

Fatalist: “Chicago, London. Doesn’t matter. We’re all going to die. You wanna die in London, be my guest.”

Romantic: “London, oh bewitching mistress! How our tender hearts longed to return to her verdant* bosom!”

Simple: The company Eric is with has offices here, we love it here, and we’re both in our early 40s.

If not now, safely, when?

There have been plenty more changes since I last checked in with all of you, the second-biggest being that I’ve made a significant work change that will grant me a good deal more breathing room in which to write (!), read, and scheme. The specifics of the change aren’t public, yet, but they will be soon.

It’s so, so good to see you! Scone me!!


*This does actually make sense because London is technically a forest. That is a fact — I’ll tell you more about it soon.

30 Responses

  1. Lee McLean
    | Reply

    Reading this, I realize that I have missed your writing voice! Welcome back.

    • Mary
      | Reply

      Thank you, Lee!! It feels so, so good to blog. I’ve missed the ol’ PG, too. xoxo Mary

  2. Pam Armstrong
    | Reply

    Thrilled to hear that you are doing good!

    • Mary
      | Reply

      Hi, Pam! Thank you! Good to “see” you. 🙂 xoxo Mary

  3. Karen Johnson
    | Reply

    I’ve missed you! So glad you popped up in my email today! Glad to hear you are doing well.

  4. Kathryn Darnell
    | Reply

    Scones, Devonshire Cream, raspberry jam…..its what they serve in Heaven. Be happy, have fun. Enjoy your time

  5. Kathleen
    | Reply

    Yo Mary! I hope you are still quilting! Glad you are happy!

  6. Holly Agnew
    | Reply

    Enjoy the heck out of life. It is so short.

  7. Pam Pollock
    | Reply

    Congratulations on the move!!

  8. Myra Kohn
    | Reply

    So thrilled to see your blog post appear this morning in my inbox. Thank you! I’ve so missed your writing. Happy for you both and looking forward to reading more on your adventures in London. All the best to you from Seattle!

  9. Suzanne L Brown
    | Reply

    Always love an update!!! So many of us care about you!!

    • Mary
      | Reply

      I care about you all so much, Suzanne. Thank you x million. xoox Mary

  10. judy
    | Reply

    I am envious of you being in London.Good for you in following your dreams and paths. Looking forward to reading your wonderful and witting posts

  11. Nancy Ann McFall
    | Reply

    So good to hear from you again!

  12. Helen
    | Reply

    That is so terrifically awesome. London was a dream of mine. If only I were 40. Please enjoy it for all of us who ended up with other dreams; we can live that dream vicariously through you.

  13. Pamela Chen
    | Reply

    Love getting your emails! Your writing is excellent and after watching all the episodes of quilty, I can “hear” your voice as I read along. lol! Keep up the great work!!
    -from a quilter in San Francisco

  14. M&J
    | Reply

    Mary, Mary, Mary…
    So very good to see your post, and to envision the new adventure. We’ll be rooting for you all the way. Take good care. Marj and Jim (or, as you would say, MarJim )

    • Mary
      | Reply

      MarJim … my friends. It’s so, so good to see you. I’m glad you’re here. I’m going to do my best. Love, Mary

  15. Cyndi Anderson
    | Reply

    You are making me hungry for scones. I am excited for you and your husband. Looking forward to a time when we can travel. England is on my list.

  16. Elizabeth Sonnenfeld
    | Reply

    Great to see you happy . London is a great city and I miss the scones and pubs and London in general. Hopefully soon we can travel again.

  17. liz hinze
    | Reply

    Thanks for the blog post : )
    Love your writing

  18. Janice Harpest
    | Reply

    Love your writing! I laughed out loud at least 6 times… : ) Have a wonderful time in London.
    I’m so glad you are taking all of us along on your adventures!

  19. Kathie Hood
    | Reply

    So many choices on interpretation of happiness, nothing is better for your inner joy than place . . . finding the sounds and visions that are essential for your soul. The ability to change locations brings new life. I am so happy you are in a land of mist, flowers, sunshine and nearby shores. Just jealous you won’t have shipping charges for your Liberty of London selections and you have full range. . . . .blessed woman . . . .blessed husband

  20. Roberta MacKinnon
    | Reply

    Thanks for the update. You must have left before you were eligible for the vaccine. Hope you can get vaccinated in London. Stay safe. If you can hope you can travel up to Scotland.

  21. Dorothy
    | Reply

    So very glad to hear from you. Enjoy life in London, be safe, be happy. (waiting to hear the next installment)

  22. Lindy
    | Reply

    Sounds perfect to me! So glad you are back, yours is a singular voice. Dreams are always worth following…hope you’ve found a lovely place to hang a quilt and do whatever inspires you.

  23. Jane Andrews
    | Reply

    Mary, I’m so glad that the two of you will be enjoying the UK, definitely a more civilized place, together. I just wanted to chime in to say that I’ve enjoyed your videos and writings for years now, but too shy to ever speak up. You’ve conquered some big hurdles and deserve a big dose of happiness! You taught me all about flying geese just yesterday, so know that none of that has been in vain. Cheers!

    • Mary
      | Reply

      Jane, you’re amazing. That’s all I can say to you re: this message. Well, that and thank you. Go make some geese, girl!! 😉 xoxo, Mary

  24. Hillary Goodwin
    | Reply

    Dear Mary,
    Just want to tell you that I think you are amazing. Love your “voice”, how you think, the quilty Camaraderie with your twitch videos. Any praise I may extend to you via social media which is kind of overwhelming feels less personal then an old fashioned blog response. You are appreciated . That is all.


  25. Janie
    | Reply

    Oh, I’ve missed your writing! Here’s to great times and writing ahead, with all the voices you’ve mentioned. Enjoy your stay for it will feel like a minute in retrospect.

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