Dr Goldenberg, I presume?

Yesterday I set out at dawn and, using a paper map, braved the streets of North London and miraculously encountered fellow blogger, Dr Howard Goldenberg. Since Howard had circumnavigated the globe from Australia via New York to London, his journey was a little more impressive than mine.


This was in every way a delightful encounter, from the detailed description of how to make cholent, via the gift of a large slice of fruitcake, beautifully decorated by grandchildren and plaited bread with sesame seeds – challah – I hope I have that right? (do not forget the cake and the bread, O Best Beloved), to a very happy couple of hours in a nearby café. We talked. We drank our coffee, and we talked some more. I re-parked the car and we talked even more.

DSCN6969_2We talked about families, editors, book groups (see Howard’s recent post) and our own writing. I had enjoyed Howard’s complex, multi-layered novel, Carrots and Jaffas vDSCN6983 - Version 2ery much and am now captivated by his memoir of his relationship with his father; it shines with honesty and love. This is an appreciation, but not a blind worship, of his father’s forceful and engaging personality. We signed each other’s books (me with British reticence, he with warmth and generosity). Then we snagged a passing waitress and posed for a wholly blurred photo (I hope yours are better, Howard). It is an encounter I will cherish and we could have talked for many more hours.

Then I set off with my little map and reversed my route through London. I reached beginning of the Northbound motorway feeling smug at having made no wrong moves… and found it CLOSED. Forced to travel South, I then used the sun to head first East and then North through the outback of Essex in search of an extremely elusive motorway.

I stopped at a farm shop to ask where I was. The natives were extremely friendly and willing to help, but unable to use my primitive equipment (a road atlas), though they pointed me in the right direction. As I meandered down lanes no wider than the car, I was attacked by hunger and remembered the generous gifts from Howard and his daughter. I tucked into my Challah and fruitcake. They were delicious and saved me from starvation.

I made it home in time to see the tree surgeons who had been trimming our giant fir trees. They went from this, via this, to this.


We finished this wholly inspiring day by going to Cambridge for an entertaining lecture, in the Darwin Lecture series, by the rower Katherine Grainger on the Development of the Athlete.


19 thoughts on “Dr Goldenberg, I presume?

  1. It sounds like a well balanced and delightful day. The photo alone makes me like Howard. And kudos to you for maneuvering your way out of London. It reminds me of Peggy and I maneuvering our way out of Edinburg a couple of years ago. I am surprised I am not still lost on its back roads. 🙂 –Curt

  2. Yes, I thought somehow you would be meeting up with the good Dr. Howard seeing I had noticed your absence from his blog. What a nice encounter that would have been. You both look content. I noticed an old sewing machine in the background. Was it a Singer?
    Glad you found your way home, even along a single lane country road. Something like out of Midsommer.

    • We had a lovely, lovely time, but briefer than anticipated, as I had to default on our original plan. It was a Singer. I have spent many hours of my life running one of these. Well I was searching for Chipping Ongar – which definitely sounds like Midsommer.

  3. What a wonderful advert for blogging and writing. I am now quaking at the prospect of driving in Britain again. I shall have to visit Howard’s blog and add him to my follows. It seems worth coming back to Britain for the cake.

    • Yes, I never imagined that if I did meet up with a fellow blogger it would be someone from Australia! Howard is good company – enjoy his blog. I still have fruitcake form my book launch, very happy to make it an excuse to meet another blogger.

    • It was a great day, though it wasn’t actually a chance encounter. We had a plan earlier in the week, which I had to cancel, so it became a challenge, to find an hour or so when we could cross paths from across the world.

  4. Oh, how wonderful that the two of you met and were so compatible! I do admire Howard’s blog, and have asked the local library to buy copies of his books.

    Happy Australia Day from Down Under!

    • Yes, the meeting almost didn’t happen, but the planets were unlikely to be in such favourable conjunction again, so we were determined and it was worth it. That is a kind thing, from an author’s point of view, to ask the library to order copies. I’m sure you will enjoy them. Through blogging, Australia, which was a distant continent to me, has now become a familiar and interesting place.

  5. I just find somewhere to stop and phone my parents for directions (I’m always getting lost), I got sat nav eventually on the phone it’s good for walking directions too. What a great opportunity to meet 🙂

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