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|>Dear Mr. Wetzel,
|>I would like to confirm your reservation for
|>Afternoon Tea today at 4:00
On South Flores, deep into San Antonio’s southside, there’s a sign for a small family-run store, Ruby Ann Cleaners, tagged, “In buy 9, out buy 5.” It’s hand-lettered nature is amusing as well as a singular instance of homespun art and commerce. In the dark corridors of memory, I have a recollection of getting off the plane at Heathrow and fearfully looking for a tube that stopped at Green Park in the ethereal London dawn. That dawn has colored my perception of London ever since.
The wan afternoon light, the morning haze filtering the sun, now low in the sky.
My father was a consultant on North Sea oil (something). As such, I greeted a grimy, soot-stained London with almost no skills but an open Texas mind. As sister is fond of pointing out, dad wasn’t any good at the end game. His original vision was to have a place that he could rent out to other engineers who came to work in London, then. I recall a soot-stained, ugly version of the town. From a historical perspective, there was punk in the streets, that movement just being born, and Hard Rock was just getting established.
Over the years, this has been a safe landing place, and a source of consternation among family with respect to transportation. I think the tube stops are the easiest way to navigate. Dad liked the tube until he was increasingly mobility-impaired, then he started using the buses. The flat has – in the last decade – become a money pit. It hasn’t been updated since its original purpose. Same decor. Same artwork. Same carpet. Added wireless and a/c, but that was it.
At his passing, Sister and I inherited a tax dodge minor percent, which, at this point in the game, is eaten up by lawyers and taxes. Not that it matters.
The endgame, there wasn’t one. After years of “having a place in London,” it’s for sale, or will be.
End of an era, and peculiar nature of the real estate laws, going back to land leases and grants, old charters? Really do need a solicitor to sort that out.
Twice on this trip, there’s been a ghostly apparition of an old man, bent over a cane, a floppy-brimmed hat, low, attired in a suit that was, at one time, tailored, that old man, shuffling, limping along at a pace about half of what the rest of the pedestrian traffic would be.