One of my favorite stories from my time spent in London during college was the day I was almost hit by a bus. Not that I relish the adrenaline rush of narrowly avoiding death from such an ignoble source, but that it was me hitting the bus, rather than the other way around. I was on foot – and given that my hair had been sheared away in the basement of one of the Vidal Sassoon schools in London (only £5 if you used the coupon from the back of Time Out) – I couldn’t blame the encounter on the cloud of hair obscuring my vision.
|Shoreditch is not the land of John Nash homogeneity.|
As usual, I was in a hurry. My normal energy levels (they tend to be high) propelled me a furious pace from Regent’s Park to Shoreditch – not very far as the crow flies – but the combination of tube and bus resulted in what seemed a journey of a million miles. My destination was the Geffrye Museum, which none of my friends had heard of, nor cared to visit – we were 20 years old, after all. Mental congratulating myself on reaching approximately the right area, I looked one way across the street, and stepping off the curb, I…smacked into the side of a very slowing moving bus. The damage to my body was non-existent. The wounds inflicted upon my pride were absolved only by weaving the incident into a humorous story with my eagerness to visit the Geffrye blinding me to potential dangers in the streets.
I revisit this memory, and the Geffrye Museum (which is one of my favorite museums) because a website I stumbled across this summer…a website that mentioned me! The Displaced Nation is a blog created in 2011 by three individuls with a “passion for what we call the “displaced life” of global residency and travel—particularly when it leads to creative pursuits, be it writing, art, food, business or even humo(u)r.” Every week, the Displaced Nation presents an “Alice Award” to a writer “
or other kind of creative person who we think has a special handle on the curious and unreal aspects of being a global resident or voyager. Not only that, but this person tries to use this state of befuddlement to their advantage, as a spur to greater creative heights.” (I am quoting to ensure accuracy. I haven’t had the necessary amounts of tea today for fail-proof paraphrasing.)
|The Geffrye Museum.|
Apparently I received an Alice Award in November 2013 for a post I wrote on my very favorite blog Smitten by Britain. What a pleasant little gift to discover in the heat of July! The link to the page bearing this fortuitous and unexpected revelation is here, but I’ve also posted the details below.
2) Architectural historian JANIE RICE BROTHER, American expat in UK and blogger at FH & FAG
For her post: “The Geffrye Museum and the History of the Almshouse” for the Smitten by Britain blogPosted on: 22 November 2013Snippet (after noting that the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch occupies the building and grounds of a former almshouse, or poorhouse):
The Geffrye is the only museum in the United Kingdom dedicated to the history of the domestic interiors of the urban middle class. . . . [I]t took an excellent collection of buildings—home for many people over the generations—and preserved not only the structures themselves but the fleeting and changing sense of home and its traditions over the years.
Citation: Janie-Rice, we love the sense of wonder with which you approach this almshouse-turned-museum. It reminds us of Alice’s excitement when showing her black kitten, Kitty, the “little PEEP of the passage in Looking-glass House”:
Oh, Kitty! how nice it would be if we could only get through into Looking-glass House! I’m sure it’s got, oh! such beautiful things in it! Let’s pretend there’s a way of getting through into it, somehow, Kitty.
A Looking-glass House, an almshouse, a museum of houses…whatever floats your (house)boat and spurs your creativity, we heartily approve.
And to think that usually my discoveries wait behind the closed door, or through a thicket of brambles…but to find that someone DOES read my posts, and enjoys them…hidden within the recesses of the web…it makes this rainy day alright.
|In the garden at the Geffrye – no rain, but lots of lovely blooms.|