Yesterday I had one of those experiences which just leaves you with a desire to dance on the way back to the tube station; the kind of thing that makes you just go "wow! I f---ing love living in this city!"
It wasn't going to be all that interesting, actually. I was just going to the National to start reviewing notes from the past term, but found that they weren't opening until 4, presumably to give their employees a nice holiday break. I went next door to the National Film Theatre (which I had never visited before) and found that in only 45 minutes they would be showing a tv adaptation of Goodnight, Mister Tom, which is a book that I absolutely adore. I know that our favorite books change over time, but this one was actually on the top for several, several years. It is about a little boy who gets evacuated during the Blitz. His home life is horrible and involves a psychologically disturbed mother and lots and lots of physical abuse. Anyway, out in the country he ends up with the cranky, still grieving, old widower and basically they come to heal and love each other. It's not as simplistic as that, to be sure, but one of those great "kids" books that really treats their young reader like an adult.
It has been awhile since I read the book now, but I thought that the adaptation was really good! It was even in smell-o-vision, as there are several bedwetting scenes in the book/movie and the guy in front of me had an accident fairly early on. Ew. But that's really not important. Afterwards I was getting ready to leave and the lady next to me, who had smiled when I came in, leans over and says: "Can I tell you a secret?" I, of course, was wondering if she was the one who had, erm, "leaked," but instead she whispered to me: "I wrote the book." And I'm sooooo excited at this point gushing about how much I loved the book as a kid and how I thought this was a great adaptation, etc. She turned out to be a really sweet, motherly, middle-aged English woman and we chatted for about 10 minutes before she headed home to the kids and I off to IKEA. But, seriously! People can stuff Madonna or Jude Law sightings (although I'm jealous of the person who saw Clinton) if I get the unexpected chance to meet my favorite authors!
It got me thinking about how much I still love a good, challenging young adult novel and how, literally, all of my favorite books were by English authors. (Well, except William Steig & Dominic, apparently, although I had to go and look that up.) Is it any wonder I live here now?