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更新时间:2014-8-1 23:07:39 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

A Mother-Daughter Test: London, Together

Traveling with children seems to operate on a continuum that begins with plane discomfort for the gravely pregnant and ends with teenagers taking ski trips without you. It’s the various in-between stages that currently occupy me: the necessary Children-as-Extra-Luggage travel, as I once did on a book tour with a 5-month-old, coordinating feeds between readings; followed by attempts at Traveling Despite the Child, which my husband and I once did in Japan, hoisting our 10-month-old in a backpack and dining in our hotel bathroom while she slept. And then there is the interminable Where Else Could We Possibly Go? stage, a yearslong stretch of visits to the in-laws, house rentals in places where you won’t bother other people, forays into Disneyland. Into this category fall the whiling away of two-week breaks, babysitter vacations and four-day weekends that constitute the academic calendar.


Clockwise from top left: the London Eye; a tour at the Globe Theater; Warner Brothers’ Studio Tour; the Millennium Bridge; and inside Hatchards bookshop.

All of these middle phases involve compromises. The hope is that despite them, participants young and old manage to eke out some modicum of enjoyment, drawn into one another’s world by the sheer force of parental or filial appetite, tolerating or tantruming through the rest.


But when, I wondered, would my children want to do more of what I want to do, or vice versa, and when might those tendencies magically converge? At what age can a child truly appreciate the cultural value of an international journey, on mutually agreeable terms?


As spring break approached this year, I thought I might have finally hit that moment with my nearly 9-year-old daughter — especially if I left my two smaller children, boys whose predilections would confine us largely to playgrounds and ice cream parlors, behind. Perhaps I could take Beatrice to London, a city I lived in 15 years ago and have traveled to frequently since, as a test case: Would she be old enough to appreciate my London — a city of quirky bookshops, World War history and street scenery straight out of “Bleak House” — and also make it her own? By pursuing our shared passions for books and theater in a city that specializes in both, might we achieve that elusive family-travel synchronicity?

我的女儿碧翠丝(Beatrice)快九岁了。今年春假来临之际,我想,专属于我们母女二人的时刻终于来到了,特别是我打算把她的两个弟弟留在家里,不然,我们就只能跟着哥儿俩飞奔的脚步,在游乐场和冰激凌屋附近徘徊。或许我可以带女儿去伦敦。十五年前,我曾经住在那座城市,离开之后又多次返回短期旅行。还可以把这趟旅行当成实验案例:她是否已经十分成熟,足以欣赏我心中的伦敦——这座到处是奇趣书店、世界大战历史、狄更斯《荒凉山庄》(Bleak House)式街景的都市——并将它融入自己的心灵?在这座专精于书籍与戏剧的城市,我们母女能否凭借对二者共同的痴迷,在亲子游中实现莫可名状的心灵相通?

As I was contemplating all this, Beatrice happened to be fresh off two viewings of the very English musical “Matilda” and knee-deep in the adventure tales of Enid Blyton, the late children’s book author who remains marginal on these shores but is still revered in Britain. She had read all of Blyton’s books currently available in the States but was far from sated. Amazingly and reassuringly, even in our globalized, technophilic world, finding the requisite book-related experience can still require a voyage.

在我思忖这个问题的时候,碧翠丝刚好看完了英国歌舞剧《玛蒂尔达》(Matilda),深深沉醉于作者伊妮德·布莱顿(Enid Blyton)创作的历险传奇。这位已故儿童文学作家在美国海岸地区虽然不太主流,但在英国却备受尊敬。能在美国买到的所有布莱顿作品碧翠丝都读过了,却仍然意犹未尽。令人惊奇也让人安慰的是,哪怕在这个全球一体、偏爱技术的世界,要想感受与书香有关的必要体验,依然需要飞越万水千山。

This upgraded our trip into a kind of literary quest. We would set off in search of British editions, Roald Dahl-based theater, Harry Potter adventure and Rick Riordan-inspired mythology. For my part, having recently read Kate Atkinson’s Blitz-era novel, “Life After Life,” I was eager to revisit the Churchill War Rooms, and to stock up on British editions of Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose series. If traveling across the ocean in search of literary pleasure seems an anachronism in our e-reading, Amazon-altered world, I’ve got no problem with that. I bought tickets before I could reconsider.

于是,我们的旅行成了文学主题的探索,启程就是为了寻找各种书籍的英国版本、罗尔德·达尔(Roald Dahl)的戏剧作品、哈利·波特历险故事和雷克·莱尔顿(Rick Riordand)的神话传说。而我呢,最近刚读完凯特·阿特金森(Kate Atkinson)以“二战”期间闪电战为背景的小说《生命不息》(Life After Life),渴望再次游览丘吉尔战时内阁办公室(Churchill War Rooms),置办几本爱德华·圣·奥宾(Edward St. Aubyn)的帕特里克·梅尔罗斯(Patrick Melrose)系列小说。在这个为亚马逊改变的电子化阅读时代,如果说这场追寻文学乐趣的越洋旅行显得不合时宜,我也无所谓。买票之前,我已经反复斟酌过。

We started off with a slog. Jet lag is bad enough solo, but with a child who’s slept two hours en route and double the suitcases, taking the stingy Heathrow Express route from the airport to South Kensington instead of a taxi was almost certainly unwise. Once the train deposited us at Paddington Station, we had to navigate the Tube’s interminable damned-be-the-disabled staircases, before briefly settling into our charming house rental, a two-story mews off the Old Brompton Road. Resisting the lure of the sofa, we formally began our trip on common ground: a bookstore.


Hatchards, founded in 1797, is the oldest bookshop in London, a short stroll off Piccadilly Circus, and conveniently close to Fortnum & Mason, one of the best venues for extortionate, fancifully packaged treats. Though no longer the independent bookseller it was during my London days (since acquired by the mega-chain Waterstones) Hatchards retains the stubborn texture of an independent. A wooden staircase, buffed by the ages, winds up multiple floors, past displays featuring an idiosyncratic selection of literary fiction and fustily British subjects. There is no cafe.

哈查兹书店(Hatchards)始建于1797年,是伦敦最古老的书店,距离皮卡迪利广场只有几步之遥。不远处就是购买奢华糖果的绝佳去处福特楠梅森百货(Fortnum & Mason),真是便利。哈查兹自从被大型连锁的水石书店(Waterstones)收购之后,已不再是我记忆中独立书店的模样,却依然保留了自由人的倨傲风骨。一道木梯盘旋而上,连接起好几层楼,在岁月的磨砺之后闪着幽光,沿途陈列着古怪的文学虚构类图书与发霉的英伦作品。店内无咖啡供应。

The children’s section on the third floor may be smaller than that of the average Barnes & Noble, but its shelves are meatier. British bookstores tend to stock a richer inventory of history books, rather than the watered-down social studies and photographic collage that often passes for nonfiction here. They’re also particularly strong on fairy tales, geography, folklore and mythology — much of it highly appealing to my third-grade Percy Jackson fan.

儿童部位于三楼,与美国巴诺书店(Barnes & Noble)的各店面相比,面积略小一些,但架上的书籍却更丰富。英国书店乐于储备更多历史书,而不是像美国书店那样充斥着注水的社科读物和美其名曰纪实丛书的图片大杂烩。英国的书店里还有许多地理书、童话、民间传说和神话故事,在我三年级的女儿眼中更是动人,因为她是波希·杰克逊(Percy Jackson)系列故事的发烧友。

But it was the “Enid Blyton section” that truly distinguished the British bookstore from the American. Blyton, who died in 1968, was wildly popular in Britain and throughout the Commonwealth for much of the 20th century, and despite having taken a battering in later enlightened years on charges of sexism, racism, elitism and a lack of imagination, her popularity endures. Some of the most egregious material has been sloughed off recent editions, which also bear remarketed illustrations even as the content — boarding school shenanigans, old-fashioned capers and fantasies — remains largely the same.


Hatchards carried four shelves full of Blyton’s tireless series, and was the first of three bookstores we spent serious time in over the course of our nine-day vacation. A close second was a store new to me, but recommended by friends with children who’ve spent time in London. Daunt Books in Marylebone is not only an excellent general bookshop, but also one of the finest travel and world literature bookstores I’ve ever been to, with shelves organized by country. I could have spent the day.

哈查兹书店里有四个书架摆满了布莱顿笔耕不辍的成果。在为期九天的假日中,有三家书店让我们流连忘返,这是第一个。第二个是附近一家新店,之前我没去过,但伦敦有好几位家长朋友曾向我推荐。它的名字叫勇气书店(Daunt Books),位于马里布恩,不仅是绝佳的综合书店,还是我去过的最佳旅行与世界文学书店,店内的书架按国家分类。本来,我可以在那里度过整整一天。

But in two days’ time, we’d be heading to the Warner Brothers studio where the Harry Potter films were shot, just outside London, and I wanted to explore city-side Potter first. Our Harry Potter walking tour was conducted by London Walks, the same tour company I’d patronized when I’d lived there in the ’90s, though my walks were centered on slightly more mature subjects like Churchill’s London and the Inns of Court. We began in the old City of London at a busy intersection near the Bank Tube stop, site of a deleted Knight Bus scene from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Our tour guide, the Dickensian-named Richard Walker, held Beatrice at rapt attention when he stuck to the subject at hand. (Digressions into Bridget Jones territory left her cold.) By the time we had traipsed over the Millennium Bridge (destroyed by Death Eaters!) to the second of two location shots for the Leaky Cauldron (it was moved from Leadenhall Market to Borough Market between the first and third films), I’d promised a repeat movie marathon upon our return.

但两天之后,我们就要去《哈利·波特》系列电影的拍摄地华纳兄弟影棚了,那片哈迷乐园就在伦敦郊外,我想先去游览一番。我们的哈利·波特主题游是伦敦远足公司(London Walks)组织的,90年代我也曾惠顾过这家机构,但当年去的都是更成熟的景点,比如丘吉尔伦敦办公室和律师学院。我们在伦敦市区的游玩始于河岸地铁站(Bank Tube)附近一个忙碌的十字路口,电影《哈利·波特与阿兹卡班的囚徒》中骑士公交车一幕就拍摄于此,可惜后来被删掉了。我们的导游有个狄更斯式的名字——理查德·沃克(Richard Walker),他专注于主题讲解时,碧翠丝深深地入了迷。但当他离开主题,开始大侃布里吉特·琼斯(Bridget Jones,电影《BJ单身日记》的主角)时,她顿觉索然无味。我们信步走过千禧桥(被食死徒毁掉了!),来到破釜酒吧两处拍摄地点的第二处(在第一部和第三部电影中,这座酒吧的拍摄地从肉类市场改到了镇集市),我决心一回家就把冗长的《哈利·波特》系列电影再看一遍。

Determined to avoid the lowest-common-denominator kiddie attractions — no Madame Tussauds or museums dedicated to torture (exception: Tower of London) — I conceded to the London Eye, a mere millennial specter back in 1998. This giant spinning structure doesn’t actually afford much of a view, despite its acrophobic attempts. Yet for children and adults alike, the sheer pomposity of the contraption, an odd marriage of funicular and Ferris wheel, are attraction enough. Through the distorted bubble glass of its walls I spied an enticing climbing playground on the South Bank, a few minutes’ walk away, and bookmarked it for a return trip.


Also on our list of unabashedly family-friendly activities: a double-decker bus tour, run by one of several seemingly interchangeable operators. For a child, the rooftop view offered tangible evidence of just how different big cities still look, despite the cross-Atlantic proliferation of Whole Foods and Starbucks. Yet a similar, Knight Bus-like experience could be found on standard city transport, provided you capture front row seats on top.


It’s hard to disappoint Beatrice and me when it comes to sweet foods, but high tea presented the soggiest deflation of high hopes. Despite not particularly liking cucumber sandwiches, I was looking forward to what I conceived as the ultimate Fancy Nancy experience, even for a girl well past her princess phase. I booked a reservation at the Orangery — “the only royal palace in London where you can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea,” with a spectacle of jam coloring my imagination. Instead, we were handed an apathetic platter with three small sandwiches and pastries per person. (Warning to those bringing multiple children: Pastry distribution is not equitable; there will be fights.) A request for seconds was grimly rebuffed, and we were charged £24 each (about $39) for the privilege.

说到甜食,我和碧翠丝一般不会失望,但那天的下午茶却为我们高涨的热情浇了冷水。虽然我不太喜欢黄瓜三明治,却仍然期待一场极致的《俏妞茜茜》(Fancy Nancy)式体验,哪怕身旁这个女孩早已不再迷恋公主梦。我在橘园餐厅(Orangery)订了座,它号称“伦敦唯一可以享受传统下午茶的皇家宫殿”,洋洋大观的果酱更让我展开了缤纷的想象。然而,服务员端上来的却是一个乏味的盘子,盘上三个小三明治和糕点,每人一个。(带多个孩子旅行的人请注意:糕点不是平均分配的,孩子们很容易打起来。)如果你想再来一份,会遭到冷漠的拒绝。这份优待花费了我们每人24英镑(约合39美元)。

More economical gratification was easily found. Among the advantages of London’s museums are “family trails” — activity-filled booklets for children 6 to 10, typically free or for a minimal fee. The British Museum offers a guide that follows the history of written communication from ancient Rome to the seventh-century Quran. Another, “Hunting for Dragons,” highlights fantastical creatures from China to Mexico. Any one of them is likely to send Harriet the Spy types tearing through a museum, pencil at the ready.

很多物美价廉的享受其实可以轻易找到。在伦敦各大博物馆的优势项目中,有一项是“家庭线路游”。宣传册上满是面向6至10岁儿童的活动,一般都免费,就算收费也很低廉。大英博物馆的指南手册介绍了书面交流的历史,从古罗马一直讲述到17世纪的《可兰经》。另外还有一项“猎龙之游”,亮点是从中国到墨西哥的各国神兽。其中任何一个项目都能让孩子像少儿片《间谍哈丽雅特》(Harriet the Spy)那样,在整个博物馆内流连忘返,带着铅笔随时准备探险。

The best of these, in Beatrice’s view, was “Marvelous Blooms,” a flower-centric guide to the National Gallery’s permanent collection, which had her eagerly scribbling away with colored pencils provided by the museum. Her mother’s attention, however, wandered during these exercises. By the second museum, I realized the solution was to roam the room with an audio guide, swooping in periodically, Montessori-style, lest it start feeling — to me — too much like homework.

在碧翠丝看来,最棒的是“非凡的花朵”,这一鲜花主题的游览串起了国家艺术馆(National Gallery)的永久典藏,她一见到那些奇花异卉,立即拿起博物馆赠送的铅笔匆忙开始涂鸦。在她写写画画时,我却陷入了遐思。来到第二座博物馆之前,我留意到语音导游器是个好东西。它偶尔的穿插讲解,像蒙台梭利(Montessori)的教育一样润物无声,因为这场游览我最怕的就是变得像学校功课那样刻意而乏味。

Oh, that parental conundrum: when to impose one’s preferences and when to recognize the child’s own? Try too hard to pique a new interest, rather than appeal to an existing one, and you disrupt her enjoyment. There’s often a fine line knowing how much to elevate a child’s understanding of a painting or a monument or a view, rather than just allow her to imbibe culture at her own level. Interrupting her impassioned doodles to point out a work I’d studied in Art History 101 was more often a distraction than an enhancement.

哦,养育的经典难题:什么时候,父母可以将自己的喜好施加于子女,什么时候能认清孩子自己的喜好?如果你刻意培养孩子的新兴趣,而不是让他们感到目前的爱好更加迷人,那么你会破坏她的乐趣。世人总是拿着精确的审美标准线来提升孩子对一幅画、一座纪念碑或一片风景的理解,却不能干脆任由她自己的能力去感受。如果我打断她热情洋溢的涂鸦,向她介绍我从《101年艺术史》(Art History 101)一书中了解到的一件作品,对她将是干扰,而非提升。

But there was also joy and relief in our moments of two-tiered pleasure, simultaneous yet divergent, and often when least expected. The Churchill War Rooms (called the Cabinet War Rooms until a wing devoted to the former prime minister was added in 2005), the government’s underground bunker and offices during the Blitz, are just around the corner from 10 Downing Street. Its hallways, map rooms and bedroom nooks are so eerily preserved and smartly presented, even people who aren’t Churchill enthusiasts or World War II obsessives will enjoy themselves. Whether it was possible for an 8-year-old child to get it was another question.

母女两人的游览时间虽然同步,方向却多元,在这双重的旅行中也有乐趣与轻松的时刻,尤其是当我们毫无期待的时候。丘吉尔战时内阁办公室过去叫战时内阁办公室(Cabinet War Rooms),后来到了2005年,人们把前首相丘吉尔在侧厅内的办公室也涵盖了进来。这是“二战”闪电战期间英国政府的地下防空洞兼办公室,位于唐宁街10号转角处。它的走廊、地图室和隐秘的卧室都奇异地保留了原样,又巧妙地再现,哪怕人们对丘吉尔或“二战”并无兴趣,也能津津有味地欣赏。至于八岁儿童能不能看懂,就是另一个问题了。

“Beatrice, did you know that during World War II, Germany bombed London every night for almost two months straight?” I asked gingerly before our visit, trying not to terrify her. “Children had to be sent to the countryside.”


Blessed be C. S. Lewis: “Isn’t that why the Pevensies went to Digory’s house to begin with?” she said. Not bad, but was it enough?

感谢英国作家C.S.路易斯(C. S. Lewis) 。“佩文西(Penvensy)他们不就是因为这个原因才去狄戈里(Digory)家的吗?”碧翠丝问道(佩文西是路易斯的儿童文学作品《纳尼亚传奇》中的人物——译注)。没错,但这是否已经足够呢?

At Hatchards, I bought her a copy of “Blitz,” part of a British “Dear America”-like series of fictionalized narratives. But I needn’t have worried (nor torn her from Blyton’s “Twins of St. Clare”). The museum provides a separate audio guide tailored to children under 10 — and doesn’t even charge them admission. Beatrice had been loath to listen to the one-size-fits-all audio guide at the British Museum, but she listened straight through the Churchill War Rooms guide, tickled that her version differed from mine.

我在哈查兹书店给她买了一本《闪电战》(Blitz),该书的风格类似《亲爱的美国》(Dear America),是英国版的虚构口述故事集。但我不需要担心什么,也不用把她从布莱顿《圣克莱尔学校的孪生姐妹》(Twins of St. Clare)边扯开。博物馆提供单独的语音导游器,专为十岁以下儿童定制,而且不收他们门票。碧翠丝在大英博物馆的时候,懒得听那种老少共用的语音导游器,但在这里,她一路听到丘吉尔战时内阁办公室,心满意足地了解到一个与我的介绍截然不同的版本。

We also amicably split up at the Globe Theater, where Beatrice reunited with one of her best friends from school, also on vacation. Both theater buffs, the two girls were captivated by the 30-minute tour with its gritty details about inaccessible bathrooms, thatched roofs and rudimentary special effects. They then installed themselves inside a sound booth, rehearsing and recording the balcony scene from “Romeo and Juliet.” Meanwhile, I found a booth where I could listen to “To be or not to be” performed by everyone from John Gielgud to Kenneth Branagh.

到了环球剧院,我们友好地分开了。在那里,碧翠丝跟一个也来度假的好同学见面。两个女孩都是戏剧发烧友。在三十分钟的游览中,那难得一见的浴室、茅草屋顶和原始特效,都细节充沛,深深地吸引了她们。她们走进一间音效亭,排练并录制了《罗密欧与朱丽叶》中一段阳台对话。与此同时,我走进另一个亭子,听了多种版本的《王子复仇记》中《生存还是毁灭》那场戏,包括约翰·吉尔古德(John Gielgud)和肯尼斯·布拉纳(Kenneth Branagh)等名演员的表演。

There was no splitting up in the West End, however, and despite temptation, I did not drag Beatrice to Richard Eyre’s production of Ibsen’s “Ghosts” at the Almeida, and was grateful not to be forced to miss Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall,” which had yet to open. Instead, we saw three plays based on children’s works of literature: First up was “Emil and the Detectives,” which we saw at the National Theater, just before it closed. Based on a 1929 German children’s book by Erich Kästner, the play offered a moral parable of life in Weimar Germany, with hints of the darkness to come.

但在伦敦西区,我们没有分开,尽管面临诱惑,我还是没有拖着碧翠丝走进阿尔梅达剧院观赏导演理查德·艾尔(Richard Eyre)对易卜生《群鬼》(Ghosts)的演绎。我也很感激不用忍痛割舍希拉里·曼特尔(Hilary Mantel)的《狼厅》(Wolf Hall),因为剧院还没开门。取而代之的是,我们看了三部由童话改编的戏剧:一部是国家剧院播放的《埃米尔和小侦探》(Emil and the Detectives),正赶上关门之前最后一场。它改编自德国作家埃里希·卡特纳(Erich Kästner)1929年的同名儿童故事,是魏玛德国时期道德生活的寓言,暗示了黑暗即将到来。

Sam Mendes’s musical version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which is tentatively slated for Broadway next season, was no “Matilda.” But Beatrice loved it, especially given our own golden-ticket experience. Though we purchased tickets in the nosebleed balcony, we were upgraded to the Royal Box, just beside the stage. No explanation accompanied this beneficence, though the fact that Douglas Hodge, the Tony award-winning actor who portrays Willy Wonka, took his curtain call from within our perch, offered a clue. Who wants to attract the audience’s attention to a half-empty box in prime position?

山姆·曼迪思(Sam Mendes)的歌舞剧《查理与巧克力工厂》试探性地为下一季的百老汇演出铺路。它并不是另一场《玛蒂尔达》,但碧翠丝却很喜欢,而且还享受到了尊贵的观剧体验。我们买的是让人羡慕到鼻子流血的包厢票,后来又免费升级到了舞台旁边的皇室包厢。没有任何人解释我们何德何能享受这一恩惠。事实上,托尼奖获得者、扮演剧中人威利·旺卡(Willy Wonka)的名演员道格拉斯·霍奇(Douglas Hodge)就是从我们的包厢里站起身来向观众谢幕的。有这条线索,你就明白了吧?当观众的目光齐刷刷地望向贵宾席时,谁会希望他们看到里面有一半空位呢?

The final play we saw, “Grimm Tales for Young and Old,” was based on Philip Pullman’s adaptation of the classic stories, which was published as a book for adults in the United States last year. Billing itself “an immersive fairy tale,” the action took place in the basement of the Shoreditch Town Hall, which had been creepily strewed with old dolls, cobwebs, hay, tangled light fixtures and an ineffable cloud of impending doom. The play itself was episodic in nature, following actors from room to room, “Tamara”-style, with short vignettes based on tales both familiar (“Rapunzel,” “Snow White”) and far less so (the rather nasty “Juniper Tree” and a rendition of the eternally puzzling “Hans My Hedgehog”). I opted not to point out the rape metaphors in “Little Red Riding Hood.”

我们观赏的最后一场演出是《老少咸宜的格林童话》(Grimm Tales for Young and Old),它基于菲利普·普尔曼(Philip Pullman)由经典改编并于去年在美国出版的成人童话。这部戏自称“身临其境的童话”,演出地点是肖迪奇(Shoreditch)市政厅,屋内充斥着诡异的旧玩偶、蛛网、干草、凌乱的灯架和意味深长的悬念疑云。演出是连播形式,塔玛拉(Tamara)风格的,下一场的演员从一个房间走到另一个房间,简短的故事一个接一个,有的耳熟能详,如《长发公主》、《白雪公主》);有的少有人知,如颇不雅观的《杜松树》(Sniper Tree)以及对永远莫名其妙的《刺猬汉斯》(Hans My Hedgehog)的再解读。至于《小红帽》中的强奸隐喻,我还是不要说出来为好。

Hands-off parenting moments aside, one of the benefits of the trip was sharing some of my old haunts, several of which centered on the theater district, with my daughter. One favorite, Marchpane, an antiquarian children’s bookseller, is on the ridiculously charming Cecil Court, a pedestrian row of used- and rare-book stores off Charing Cross Road, and a world apart from Leicester Square’s blockbuster shows. Here was my blissfully eternal London, everything exactly as I’d left it, just a few signed Harry Potter volumes added to the mix.


Marchpane opened in 1989 but feels as though it’s been there since the Victorian era. Its owner, Kenneth Fuller, a rare books dealer since 1983, sits at a high desk perched over his wares. The Internet, he said, had proved a disaster for rare books — too many fakes, falsely marketed condition, overall mishandling of precious texts. Intoxicated by the smell of old book glue and the visual splendor of well-maintained first editions, I found it hard to disagree that something got lost when clicked through on a computer. Exploring the shelves, Beatrice spotted an odd little novelization Enid Blyton did of the original Babar picture book by Jean de Brunhoff, which she had to have.

杏仁糖书店开业于1989年,给人的感觉却是从维多利亚时代穿越而来。店主肯尼斯·福勒(Kenneth Fuller)从1983年开始经营稀有书籍生意,此刻他就坐在这些珍宝上方一张高高的办公桌前。他说,事实证明,对稀有书籍来说,互联网是一场灾难。这些宝贵的文本遭遇了太多赝品、错误的营销及彻底的不当操作。我沉醉在古书胶的气息和保存完好的初版珍品美好的视觉感受中,发现这一观点很难反驳——用鼠标在电脑上翻阅古书,似乎确实少了点儿什么。碧翠丝在书架间浏览时发现了一本奇异的书,是由伊妮德·布莱顿根据法国漫画家让·德·布吕诺夫(Jean de Brunhoff)原创绘本《巴巴的故事》(Babar)改编而成,就买了下来。非买不可。

If only the Café in the Crypt at St. Martin in the Fields hadn’t changed! In less glossy times, visitors would sneak into the crypt via a side staircase off Trafalgar Square. Below the church lay a murky cavern, its floors composed of gravestones upon which perched a phalanx of wobbly tables. Snacks were served prison-cafeteria-style; spooning into a custardy pool of pudding felt more than a little bit disgraceful. Not only were you eating on top of the dead — you were also eating nothing good for you.

如果圣马丁教堂的地窖餐馆(Café in the Crypt)从来不曾改变该有多好!当年,它还不是那么光鲜,游客们从特拉法加广场(Trafalgar Square)侧面一道阶梯走下来,偷偷摸摸地蹩进来。它是教堂之下一间灯光昏黄的地下室,地面用墓石铺成,凌乱地摆着几张摇摇欲坠的餐桌。顾客像在牢房自助餐厅一样自取小吃;挖起一勺牛奶布丁,感觉到的丢人岂止是一点点。不仅是因为你吃饭的位置正位于死人上方,吃的东西也特别差。

All that has been spruced up and swept away in the sheen of 2014 investment-town London. Now an enormous spiral staircase and Apple Store-like glass elevator usher visitors into a full-fledged gift shop. The gravestones have been almost entirely replaced with level flooring. There are salads. Passels of Mummies Who Lunch on their extended paid maternity leaves, gurgling babies by their side, line the tables. The only thing that remained the same was the oversize apple crumble, served with a full pitcher of hot vanilla cream — as vulgarly delectable as always. Beatrice wasn’t creeped out in the least.


But Beatrice lay down a line of her own at Warner Brothers’ Studio Tour London. The immense set for all eight Harry Potter films, 20 minutes outside the city, is a must — no, a requirement — for any fan. Here in all its Hogwartian splendor is the Gryffindor common room. The eminently browseable Diagon Alley. Those life-size chess pieces, guardians of the Philosopher’s Stone. I wanted to linger in Ollivander’s, eyeing the wand boxes that had been created for every person, from set design to postproduction, who worked on the films. I longed to goggle for hours at the minutiae in the creature workshop, where goblins’ masks were steps away from the animatronic Monster Book of Monsters. In a complete loss of self-control, I spent hundreds of pounds buying branded clothing, chocolate frogs (yes, they contain Wizard Cards) and a Marauder’s Map. (I later regretted buying so many Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, which include a most realistic “Vomit” and “Earthworm.”)


After three and a half hours of tracking down the studio’s hidden snitches and slurping its unctuous Butterbeer, Beatrice wanted to get back to London already, and I had to be dragged back to the bus. Thank goodness my older son just finished his first marathon reading of the series. We’re going to have to go back.