I'm missing 18th century London. My novel, The Posture Girl, is with my agent and with it has gone my excuse to explore the stinking streets of the burgeoning capital. I miss the white hair powder, the corsets and the Drury Lane Theatre. I miss the home brewed gin and the sponging houses.
In 1810, Sir Charles Greville's substantial collection of minerals were bought by the British Museum for a small fortune. Yesterday morning, before the public came, I met with the Minerals Curator to search for any of his specimens that we could find - over 200 years later.
I love a good afternoon tea. Landing in Cape Town to a feast of cucumber sandwiches and scones at the Mount Nelson was heavenly. Nearly. The long history of racial inequality and stories of our Anglo Saxon empire endure in surprising ways.
After the festivities and the feasting, my mind turns to the tokens that mothers left to identify their babies at the Foundling Hospital in the 18th century. These pathetic scraps of hope are probably the most poignant objects I've ever seen.
We live in an abundantly voyeuristic period, where we can find anything that arouses us online. Yet, the 18th century artist, Thomas Rowlandson, illustrates that voyeurism isn't a modern phenomenon. Perhaps it's human nature.
From late November, it's impossible to go anywhere in London without coming across a grotto. Some are for the whole family, some are made of cardboard and wrapping paper, some are Victorian-themed, but they all house a man in red with a long, white beard. Is he the 21st century oracle?
It seems that the once popular and refined pastime of inhaling finally ground tobacco through the nostril is now an alternative, fringe activity. I found a couple of biker websites where the chat turned to where in London good snuff could be bought.