Day 32 of 80 — Great Russell Street

Around London in 80 days

In these uncertain times, I need a lifeline and a horizon so I have — somewhat arbitrarily I’ll admit — set a date. April 1st will be my horizon ; my lifeline will be the 80 days separating me from it.

And as I cannot go around the world right now, I give you A Mad Belgian’s “Around London in 80 Days” : eighty impressions of London, eighty stories, places, thoughts from my experience of this wonderfully mad and maddening city.

Day 32: Great Russell Street

A first-floor flat, all carpet and trinkets. On Great Russell Street, no less. Around the table, two gentlemen. One is 76, the other 85. One is a writer, the other an actor.

They’re about to have lunch. A perfectly balanced, healthy lunch, as always. The cook amongst them takes these things seriously: he’s in charge of health for the family. It’s always the same one who cooks the meals, always the other who washes the dishes. An understanding they came to many years ago; it works well for them so they never swap roles.

They keep fit, they go for walks, they swim at the Y. They have loved each other for a while. When they met forty years ago, it was illegal; now here they are, planning their first gay pride.

Sometimes they tell of their other lives, the wilder years, the war, their youth. But it’s autumn now, things are slowing down. So they look out for the younger ones. The other day they bought me a teapot.

They did life well, they are happy. Later on, friends will come ’round for tea.

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