A few months ago there was a spate of articles going around and basically dissing hygge, saying that it might be alright for old fogeys who lived nice middle class lives in nice home counties areas with wooden beamed pubs and fireplaces, but it wouldn’t work in a place like London. Most notably Miriam Bouteba derided Hygge as a waste of London and was answered by Bronte Aurell, my hygge hero in another article called Hygge is Part of London.
Well, this weekend I went to London and had a hyggely time. I didn’t visit any pubs, I didn’t rampage off to nightclubs, I didn’t sit at home alone with a takeaway. I did do a lot of walking, over 15,000 steps a day, and I did set out purposefully to avoid most of the tourist traps.
Friday we travelled down, and spent an afternoon browsing through Camden Lock market. I’d never been, but I’m definitely going again! It was surprisingly down to earth, eclectic and vibrant. I loved the bakeries along the road as well, and had a beautiful pecan pie and mint tea in one. Mint tea became a bit of a repetitive motif for my weekend. I have grown strangely addicted to its sharpness.
Friday night is fun in London. Last time we visited in November, we went to the late night opening at the British Museum. This time, we went to the National Gallery and enjoyed a relaxed stroll around looking at the pictures. I am always reminded when I visit a gallery that, really, I ought to do a history of art course one day, because the ones I know about I know… and the rest are a mystery. One day.
Peter was there for a course for his business, Peter Kneale Solicitor on Saturday so he was up and out early while I lay in bed and relaxed. A solitary lie in is such a rare treat for me. And so this was extra luxurious.
I visited Persephone Books in Lamb’s Conduit Street, such a hyggely spot for me. The staff are lovely, the atmosphere quaint and the piles of books and papers just make me relax. With a new book in hand (Miss Buncle Married, Persephone Book no. 91) I set off to find a coffee shop and sit in a corner, drinking my mint tea and reading without interruption.
Saturday night and a Chinese at our usual restaurant in Chinatown (the one with a decent banquet offering starter and Peking Duck for a good price) and then Sunday we visited The Globe. I’m a Shakespeare fangirl, so seeing this was one of my must-do items. We took the tour and the guide pointed out that with the performances taking place at 2pm in the afternoon, no dimmed lighting for the audience and a maximum of 50 feet from stage to the furtherest audience member, this was really intimate theatre. I’m doubly convinced that I want to go to a performance there now. Wind, hail or snow won’t keep me away.
Hygge is there in London, whatever Miriam feels. I think I have a natural ability to feel hyggely in places, because the feeling of comfort and security goes with me. Over the years my confidence has grown massively, so now an afternoon alone in London isn’t a challenge, it’s an adventure. I have come back from my trip, happy to be home, but secure in knowing that the break was a relaxing and hyggely time as well.
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