A Tale of Two Flats

It’s a cold, frosty November morning and December is hard on her heals. As usual when the air turns sharp and burns in my lungs, Charles Dicken’s fills my mind. I can’t help it. As a Dickens bookslover of literature, the big D is one of my favorite authors. I always have great expectations for the holidays and would wrap my presents in the Pickwick Papers if I could. I reach for my well-worn copy of A Christmas Carol and soon picture the hard-edged streets of Victorian London with old Ebeneezer Scrooge stalking his way through the darkened heart of the city, spitting on dirty urchins and muttering bah hum bug under his breath. Tiny Tim limps through my imagination and I can almost smell Mrs. Cratchit’s goose. H’mmmm…. goose….

Charles Dickens London

And this December – like Sydney Carton from Dicken’s classic, A Tale of Two Cities – I’m plagued with an unrequited love. But the object of my affection isn’t a fair maiden named Lucy, but a traditional style Go with Oh flat in the heart of Kensington within walking distance of Charing Cross.


In addition to being a stunning flat, the location is perfect as it is within walking distance of many wonderful sites such as the River Thames and Westminster Abbey, but it also happens to be a hop, skip and a jump from where Charles Dickens actually slaved away at the Warren’s Blacking Warehouse at the meager age of 11 while his father rotted away in debtor’s prison.

Kensington 1

I adore the crown molding in this Go with Oh London flat!

Call me crazy, but as a huge fan of history, I am one of those weirdly tactile individuals who likes to stand where my heroes actually stood and walk where they actually walked even if the place in question isn’t one that was near and dear to any of my heroes’ hearts.

As a poor little urchin, I doubt Dickens ever waxed nostalgic about his days at the warehouse, but painful as the experience was, it did inflame his imagination to write truly moving and memorable literature. So to me, visiting London at Christmas to see the sites that actually inspired his imagination and to walk where he walked excites me more than a clean house and new underwear. If I can kiss the cobblestones and hug his house without getting arrested by a bobby, I will.Dickens house sign

Kensington 2

This kitchen would make Ebeneezer Scrooge smile

Hence my love affair from afar with the pretty little Kensington flat courtesy of Go with Oh. With its high ceilings, vintage crown molding, large windows and adorable kitchen tile, it’s the perfect ground zero for a history-laden, Charles-Dickens-inspired Christmas walking tour – courtesy of http://www.dickenslondontours.co.uk/.

But much as I love this pretty little flat with its perfect little location, I’m torn, though mine is not a tale of two cities, but a tale of two flats for another object of my affection would make Bob Cratchit drool with envy.

Camden town 1

All it needs is me, my family and a plate of plum pudding

It’s an equally lovely little flat located in Camden Town, though while it sports two bedrooms, two bathrooms and lovely décor, it’s missing an outdoor mud oven in which to steam our plum pudding. But I think we can make do.


Camden town 3

Imagine the goose Mrs. Cratchit could fix in THAT kitchen

Plus, being such a light and airy space, I doubt it’s dripping with ghosts from anyone’s past, present and future, but one can dream and I wouldn’t mind waking up to Marley’s Ghost at either location.

As I said, November is here and December is breathing down our necks. London awaits with her crisscrossed streets, ancient churches, haphazard skyline and history waiting around every corner. My copy of A Christmas Carol beckons in the bookcase. Two apartments stand ready for the renting. It’s time to dust off the luggage. God bless us, everyone.

Now pass the plum pudding. Tis the season and I’m getting in the mood.Dickens flyer

By Robin Winzenread Fritz


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jon Fueston
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 08:12:31

    Another of your articles that make me think about ……England, Dickens, cold November mornings, and Christmas. My wife and I spent two glorious Christmas Days in what now seems like the fairyland of England. I think I sent you photos of our quarters a while back. The first Christmas there we expected little except we were just happy to be together. As the lowest ranking enlisted man in our small detachment we were….well…. kind of poor. (they warned me to leave my wife at home) But as they like to say, “The Air Force takes care of their own.” On the day prior to the holiday my First Sargent arrived with a fully decorated Xmas tree and several boxes of groceries from the base commissary. We had canned ham and a great Xmas! Bless us all, every one!!!
    Although I don’t believe I am sufficiently literate enough to really appreciate Mr. Dickens (and his views on race back then are kind of shocking) you did feel his presence in the cold, November winter in England. I’m sure you know that he stopped by my home town of Lebanon during the last century and took lodging at “The Golden Lamb.” I get the impression that he was not too impressed with this backwoods stopping point between Dayton and Cincinnati. (they didn’t serve alcohol)
    But, just in case you don’t know it, you can stay in “The Dickens Room” at the Golden Lamb. We did this on one of our recent anniversaries. The woodwork on the antique bed is amazing and I too like to stand where the famous once stood. Unfortunately I later found out that, although he did visit here they really have no ideal if this was the actual room in which he slept, as it is with all the rooms they have with the famous names on the door.
    Well, just wanted to tell you again that I enjoy your thoughts and look forward to further articles.

  2. Does This Blog Post Make My Butt Look Big?
    Nov 12, 2013 @ 11:02:01

    Jon – thank you for reading and sharing. I am so envious of your opportunity to really experience England. My daughter’s dream is to live overseas at some point and while Ireland is her primary destination, most likely England will be her first port of call. Hopefully I too will some day experience England on par with your own travels, youth-based poverty not withstanding.

    Have a great week Jon and thanks for the comments. I do so enjoy your thoughts. It’s fun to live through each other’s experiences, isn’t it? 🙂 – Robin

  3. Jon Fueston
    Nov 16, 2013 @ 08:08:36

    Robin, this is a rush job….I have a very good friend who is leaving this Tuesday to go to Haiti on a mission to teach small farming to them. She is also gathering donations. I would like to have her read your “An Idiot’s Guide to doing good works in Haiti.” ( I was thinking of giving her a bundle of one dollar bills to use as I gather was handy while you were there. Do you think this is a good idea? Also is it ok with you if I put on her Facebook page your name so others can read your articles. If not I will just send her a private message (I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want more people to read your writings, but please let me know) Her name is Erin Shaw if you want to check it out. Please let me know asap. Thanks!!!!

  4. Does This Blog Post Make My Butt Look Big?
    Nov 17, 2013 @ 14:28:11

    Share away, Jon. The more who reads, the merrier!

  5. Jon Fueston
    Nov 17, 2013 @ 15:57:04

    Thanks!!!! Done!!!!!

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