Little snatches of memories would come zinging through my consciousness at odd moments, suddenly yanking me out of whatever I was doing and tossing me instead into, say, the back of a cab winding its way through dark London streets.
Or in an armchair by a fire in a hotel lobby after a frigid stroll through Hyde Park.
Or in a cafe early one morning, unable to sleep from jetlag.
Or eating soft, stinky cheese straight from the wrapper as I walk through St. James’s Park, seagulls dive bombing my head.
And suddenly I realize it’s been exactly one year.
Because it was on a Sunday in March that I took a morning train from London to Bath and found myself at noon in a town overtaken by joggers. Some of whom were in costume, grinning like fools. Some of whom were dead serious, and almost frighteningly fit.
Of course, almost any level of fitness is frightening to me. I live a pretty sedentary life.
By the time we’d lugged our suitcases up the hill from the train station to the Abbey churchyard, there were merrily spandexed runners bobbing about everywhere, their shoulders covered in thin, silver blankets, their friends and families beaming proudly all around them.
It was as wonderful and raucous a welcome to Bath as a person could ask for.
And oh my god, do I want to go back.
I made the mature and responsible decision not to go to London and Bath again this year because (1) I am trying to save money and (2) I wanted nothing to do with the insane crowds and price inflation that will go along with all of the festivities that 2012 is bringing to that fair isle — the Olympics, the Queen’s Jubilee, the Dickens 200th birthday celebrations, to name just a few.
I know, I know. A full year of Dickens celebrations and fawning over royalty sounds like it would be right up my alley. And I could have theoretically avoided London and stuck to the countryside, which one assumes would still be pretty great, even in a big tourism year. But I really do hate crowds, and the rates I’ve seen for lodging this year are just absurd.
This is not to say that it hasn’t been hard.
These last two weeks, in fact, have been brutal. As I said, I didn’t realize until this morning that it was the anniversary of my last trip. That explains so much.
So I suppose it should come as no surprise that when I sat down to write my monthly column for the history blog Wonders & Marvels, I chose to write about one of the friends we visited when we were last in town.
That’s Beau Brummell, for the uninitiated. Presiding in all his glory over Jermyn Street in London. Like a boss.
You’ll notice that I opted not to post the picture I’ve got of me with my arms wrapped tightly around his waist, since I prefer to maintain some illusion of dignity around here.
Some. Not a lot. But some.
I’m hoping that writing this, and my post at Wonders & Marvels, and the short story I got out of bed to write this morning about a girl who finds adventure and romance in Bath, will finally lift this obsession from me and leave me free to live my life.
That maybe now my absurdly expensive travel cravings will diminish in intensity. Maybe now the flashbacks will subside.
Maybe now I will stop trolling discount airfare sites late at night on the off chance there will be a sudden sale that only I will be awake to discover.
Yeah. I’m not gonna hold my breath, either.
So if you’re missing London these days, too, or Bath, or whatever little piece of heaven your deepest desire takes you to when you’re feeling overwhelmed, uninspired, and in need of an escape, take a break and read my post on why Beau Brummell was the best thing to happen to men’s fashion since ever.
I’ll be over here, looking at absurdly dreamy vacation rentals.