Greetings from Soggy London

Greetings from Soggy London

Lucy Richards

Editor based in DK's London office. When my nose isn't buried in a book I'm knitting, and when I'm not knitting I'm most probably eating cake.
December 13, 2015

I am so thrilled to be writing this for the DK India blog, a pleasant digression from my own blog.

'But who is this imposter?' I hear you cry! Well, let me introduce myself.

I work in London's DK Travel team and liaise daily with the rest of the Travel family based over in the Delhi office. It's so lovely to hear what's happening on the other side of the world – office events, national festivals, weekend itineraries.

I'm a bit of an English mongrel. I was born a Northerner and raised a Southerner, there being an affectionate cultural divide between the two halves of England. Entirely tongue-in-cheek, of course, but we Brits revel in the banter that comes with the territory (Scots, Irish and Welshman included).

With our parents already from opposite sides of the country, my older sister and I were both born in Cheshire, before migrating to Surrey, and finally settling in Kent, where my parents have now lived for almost twenty years.

Kent is known as the 'Garden of England' because of its wealth of fruit crops and farmland. Specifically, I'm from an area called the Weald of Kent – 'weald' meaning 'woodland' in Old English. As the name implies, the Weald is very leafy, and particularly beautiful at this time of year when the leaves change from green to golden brown.

When I was seven, my family settled in Cranbrook, the smallest town in Kent. It's typically English. The town has a high street with everything you need – a small supermarket, dentist, shops, cafés. When my parents are snowed in, they can walk into town to buy provisions.

Cranbrook High Street
Cranbrook High Street

 

Cranbrook cottages
Cottages on Cranbrook High Street

 

Cranbrook has a working windmill and a beautiful church, St. Dunstan's, known as the 'Cathedral of the Weald', because it's so large for a country town. St Dunstan's' clock was also the prototype for Big Ben, which makes me one very proud Cranbrookian!

Cranbrook windmill
The windmill still makes flour

 

St Dunstan's Church
St Dunstan's Church

 

Most importantly, the high street has two pubs – The George and The White Horse. My recommendation is The George, which is the older of the two and once played host to Queen Elizabeth I. My family traditionally head here for a pint by the fireside on Christmas Eve before crossing the road to St Dunstan's for Midnight Mass.

The George pub
The George, my favourite pub

 

The White Horse pub
The White Horse pub

 

I had loved reading and being read to from a young age, but it was at Cranbrook School that I really fell in love with books. Here I discovered Hardy, Dickens and Brontë. I can still remember the thrill when I first read Jane Eyre. It was like making a new friend.

I went on to study English Literature at Reading University and it was a year after graduating that I was offered a role on the Revisions team at DK Travel. I was so excited! I love to read and write and imagine different worlds, so needless to say my job is perfect! My family have always used DK Eyewitness Travel Guides and I grew up pouring over DK encyclopedias.

Last year I left Cranbrook and moved to Poplar, East London, which is a far easier commute. Poplar is a largely residential part of London. It suffered terribly during World War II, the Blitz destroying many of its Victorian terraced houses, and it feels like the area is only re-establishing itself now. My sister lives in Lewisham, which is directly south of Poplar. We're divided by the Thames, but it only takes half an hour to get to one another's for a cup of tea and catch up.

So here I am. Living in Poplar, working at DK headquarters, picturing my parents in Cranbrook while my job requires me to read daily about New York, Corsica, Norway and so on.

Earlier this year I was looking for a reading project that would push my writing and creative skills when, one day, inspiration arrived in the form of an ambush of 80 penguins. I set myself the rather overwhelming challenge of reading and blogging my way through Penguin's 80 Little Black Classics, printed as part of the publishing house's 80 th birthday.

Penguin books

The blog is called A Little Bit Bookish because I wanted it to be, well, a little bit bookish. There is a lot of silliness on the blog too. I am a strong believer in a healthy dose of nonsense. At the time of writing this blog forDK India, I have read just eleven Little Black Classics, so the road to eighty is a long one. I would be so delighted if you would join me for the journey.

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