When I ordered the London Pride, I wasn’t trying to be anything.
I just wanted a new beer in the midst of London on a cold afternoon, where the sun set too fast for my 40-degree-latitude self, and it was almost Christmas Eve. And, like a good beer, it kept my dreams alive.
My favorite Christmas movie is Hook, because it takes place mostly in England (and Neverland) and it’s Christmastime. Emma Thompson, as Moira in the film, says how London is magical at Christmas. So that planted the idea in my head. And, as it turns out, she is correct. The shop windows tumbled forth with toys and ornate trappings with airplanes and jams at Fortnum & Mason, and I took a picture of one because the airplane looked like a DC-3. But I wanted the preciously decorated cookies too. And the gilded tins of tea.
I gazed up at the impossibly high spire of spruce defying the column in Trafalgar Square—a gift from Norway—and noticed that if, in that square, you turn to the west at 3:40 pm, you’ll see the sun set through the buildings from the Thames and a passing red double decker bus, like some kind of Stonehenge.
I walked around in a contented reverie, in a drift of holiday memories I didn’t quite have, and with few pounds to my name with which to buy them. But those cold miles around town stepped me completely into that feeling of the holiday season like nowhere else—outside of that moment of magic between your dreams and awakening.