So how did my two travelling companions fare on their recent trip to London – more to the point what kind of company were they for the solo business traveller?
Let’s start with a character analysis of Miss Pettigrew. A fun-loving kind of lady, needing a slight push in the direction of enjoying herself. But once the fun begins, she knows how to capitalise. And so it was that in the very mild autumn evenings of October 2009, Miss Pettigrew was great company whilst wining and dining outdoors at Covent Garden.
However, as those of you who have read her story will know, a little vino makes the lady assertive. She absolutely insisted that Lizzy visit her relatives in the Persephone Book Shop. A mad rush hour dash from Tower Hill to Notting Hill Gate ensued, arriving at the shop with 4 minutes to closing time. The lovely-but-camera-shy Laura allowed us to take my time and browse to our heart’s content.
Clever girl, instead of making just one purchase, I made three. (Manja/On the Other Side/Goodnight, Mrs Craven)
Miss Hargreaves is a different kettle of fish altogether. A crochety old dame, imperious at times. A bit lot of a nightmare. Beware of what you think. It may just come true. She’s not one to dash around London in a mad rush at all. She may abominate fuss but, following her promotion to the aristocracy, she does insist on class. Lady Hargreaves chose to visit the oldest bookshop in London, Hatchards, est 1797. A distinguished shop in Piccadilly, booksupplier to the Queen. A bibliophile’s dream with coves and enclaves and many bookish treasures to unearth. Thankfully Lady Hargreaves is more disciplined than fun-loving Miss Pettigrew. She kept her hands firmly on my purse strings and allowed only one souvenir purchase. (Something special – a signed first edition of Louis de Bernieres, Notwithstanding, complete with Hatchards bookmark.)
Beautiful wooden banistered staircases entice visitors higher and higher. (There are 5 storeys.) Fortunately there are idiosyncratic reading chairs, strategically placed, for those needing to catch their breathe on the way. Lady Hargreaves chose to rest on a Rennie Mackintosh replica – even if it was a little past its heyday. A chair fraying at the seams, dependent on the goodwill of others for its survival, like the lady herself, although I don’t think the chair will share the tragic demise of its fictional visitor.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day (Full Review at Reading Matters)
Miss Hargreaves (Full review at Stuck-In-A-Book)