Monday, August 1, 2011
Letter #252 from England
Letter #252 comes from Gavin in the capital of England and of the United Kingdom,which is London.The United Kingdom consists of four seperate countries - Scotland,England,Wales and Northern Ireland.Gavin is originally from Scotland,but moved to London at age 18,which is when he discovered a city with a population that was larger than his whole country,which was quite shocking to him.
Gavin lives in a flat (apartment, for us in the US),as most people there do.Above him is a family from Bangladesh,below him is an Englishman and below that man is a couple from Nigeria.That goes to show you how diverse London really is because you can find people from almost any country living there.He lives in the central part of the city,where the neighborhood is predominately Bangladeshi,with a mix of white British.Gavin says it is quiet difficult to find someone born and bred in London that actually lives in London since it is so diverse.He says that it is a very cosmopolitan place and it shows that everyone can,on the whole,live together and get along together no matter where they are from.
They also have lots of little squares that are live parks,but smaller.The places he sees on his walk are some well known places,such as St. Paul's Cathedral,Tower of London,Bow Church,Big Ben and Covent Garden.He says he is fortunate to live within walking distance to all of those great places.Makes me really wish I was there.The downside,he says,is that he lives where the tourists come to stay,by the thousands.Less than a minute from his flat are six large hotels and two youth hostels,so it can be quite noisy,but since it is the noise of people having fun,he doesn't mind.
Gavin's are is called Bloomsbury and is famous for a literary and artistic community called the Bloomsbury Set.The most famous person from there would be Virginia Wolf.She wrote a book titled,"Orlando" and Gavin says they have turned it into a fanous movie and he recommends both highly.
There are many museums in his area,the most famous being the British Museum,which is where he used to work as a book buyer.His favorite museum is The Tate,which he says is worth looking up online.He says the British Museum would most likely be helpful for homeschooling since it covers world heritage....he also noted to check out the Assyrians artifacts on their website since it is lovely stuff and very dramatic.I will definitely have to check that out since he made it seem really interesting.
When Gavin was at school in Scotland,all children were taught to knit,but that has sadly stopped just this year.Hmm,wonder if the internet is the cause of that?Anyways,he has started knitting again since it is very relaxing to do,unless you make a mistake,then you might want to rethink that. :) He likes that you can make something useful.He also told us that they call yarn,wool over there.I would love to learn to knit and crochet one day,too because I love the thrill of making something handmade.I always wished I had a crafty family that would give me all handmade gifts because I truly love handmade gifts the most.They are always unique and of good quality.
Gavin also told us that he loves to cook.On the weekends,they have a farmers market where farmers from outside London bring their wares to sell to the city folk.He tries to shop this way,but it is not convenient or cost effective.The city also recycles a lot and is very craft and food oriented.I think this may be my dream place to live. :) He also doesn't own a car since many people use buses,trains or tubes.The public system is very good there and most people in the UK use their services,but there are still a lot of cars in the city.
The main shopping street in London is Oxford St,which is best to avoid, if possible.He says that it is so busy that you would never believe there is a recession going on if you saw all the people there.Each different area of London has their own shopping areas.He also told us that London is made up on small towns and villages that have joined up in what they call an urban sprawl.Oxford St. was originally built about 150 years ago to provide shops for the whole city in a central location.
He ended his letter with some random facts,such as his flat was built in 1830 and that if you read any of Charles Dickens's novels set in London,then it is likely to be where he lives.His (Charles Dickens) former home is now a museum with a good cafe that is within five minutes of his flat.
Thanks Gavin for such a wonderful letter.... I can tell you are very proud of where you live and I really felt like getting on a plane to go and visit the areas you mentioned!Gavin's lovely letter can be seen below: