Like Billmon (see below), I have a special affection for London. To me, London is Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson sharing a flat on Baker Street, Thomas Carnacki inviting friends for dinner at Cheyne Walk and Professor Van Helsing, Lord Godalming and Dr. Seward hunting for Count Dracula. A long time ago, for my 30th birthday, I saved my coins to travel overseas for the first time: to London. I even went into "training" for it to make the most of my trip, working out at the gym daily in preparation. I read tour books and made arrangements and looked forward to it with an eagerness that I've not felt more strongly with the exception of the birth of my children. When I arrived on my British Airways overnight flight at Heathrow, I was exhausted with jet lag and from not sleeping well on the plane. The clerk at the British Rail office where I stopped to pick up my BritRail pass took one look at me and must have decided I was another annoying, ugly American. I tried to explain I was there to pick up my pass, but could not make my words make sense and he sardonically asked, "What do you want?" I inhaled deeply and said, "I'm tired. I had an awful flight. I've waited my whole life to come to England. Please help me." His posture and his demeanor immediately changed. "Oh, all right then." And he printed out the pass I needed and he patiently explained how it worked and told me to enjoy myself. And I did. It was probably the single greatest two weeks of my life. I traveled across England and into Wales, but most of the time I spent in London, walking in the footsteps of Holmes and Watson, visiting the British Museum and the Tower of London, people watching in Piccadilly and seeing a performance of "The Phantom of the Opera" in Her Majesty's Theatre. The British were kind and I immersed myself so thoroughly that by the end of the first week I met a couple also from Maryland on a train returning from Bath and they thought I was British because of the accent I picked up. Today, a terrible horror struck London. Yet the people have responded bravely and nobly and with sardonic humor and grace. Listening to the BBC, Britons spoke of their determination to "Carry on." And so will this blog. I assure you my next post will be about a zombie or a vampire though my heart won't be in it. However, to not pause and take note of today's events in a city I love would have been heartless.