Last But Not Least: Day Twenty-Two

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Our last day. I was wearing my favourite dress today, and it’s now damp and rumpled; a bit like we are. A bit tired and a bit ready to go home, and a bit sad-looking because we’re not ready to say good-bye. Not to those red doubledecker buses, not to the tea, not to the bookshops. Not to each other.

But, my friend, I have loved being on an adventure with you, loved it so much I wished it would never end. But I think you’re fast asleep, and it’s only another three minutes until tomorrow, and this diary is all that’s left of today. A bunch of words that fail to describe a feeling. Like trying to catch a beam of sunlight.

But, friend, I think we caught it.

So let’s just start again.

(Quote: John Green)

Here’s to all the places we went:

Day One: London
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Day Two: London
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Day Three: London
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Day Four: Winchester
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Day Five: Brighton
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Day Six: Stonehenge
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Day Seven: Oxford
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Day Eight: Stratford-Upon-Avon
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Day Nine: Bath
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Day Ten: Cardiff
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Day Eleven: Bristol
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Day Twelve: Cambridge
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Day Thirteen: Cambridge
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Day Fourteen: Norwich
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Day Fifteen: York
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Day Sixteen: Lincoln
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Day Seventeen: Durham
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Day Eighteen: Edinburgh
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Day Nineteen: Loch Ness
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Day Twenty: Glasgow
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Day Twenty-One: St. Andrews
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Day Twenty-Two: London
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Last But Not Least: Day Twenty-One

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So here is where the fairytale happened. Once upon a time (but really, like, ten years ago) an ordinary London girl (or wherever she was from) met a young and handsome prince (handsome-ish, anyway). They went for long strolls along the beach, they had secret rendez-vous’ on the pier, they went book-shopping at the Waterstone’s store on the main road – and he made her laugh so that she would fall in love with him, but everytime she laughed it was him that fell in love.

I like to believe that’s how it went. That it wasn’t just a pretty girl in her underwear that caught his eye, and that it wasn’t just the prospect of a castle that made him attractive. I like to believe that it was this place that made them right for each other.

I like to believe that today we went somewhere where fairytales are still possible.

(Quote: Maggie Stiefvater)

Last But Not Least: Day Twenty

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All the people that we watched from the inside today;
Where were they headed? Where do they live? What did they think of the weather, ever changing, ever so unreliable?

All the people that walked past us this afternoon;
Do they think happy thoughts? Have they ever read a story by Dr. Seuss? Have they laughed today?

All those people that we saw and that will never know they were seen;
Maybe a friend walked past, one which I haven’t yet met. Maybe the tired-looking woman with the groceries knows the secret of life; but now she’ll never tell. Maybe the school children would have listened to my stories; now they won’t care.

And it makes me think of all those chances that we miss
By not talking to the people that pass us by.

(Quote: Mike Rosenberg)

Last But Not Least: Day Nineteen

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It’s the Highlands. They make you think there might just be a monster lurking somewhere. They make you think all sorts of things beyond reason. The names of the towns we pass sound like magic spells. It’s wonderful.

Last But Not Least: Day Eighteen

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You’d think The Elephant House were holding more magic.
But apparently the magician was finished with her spells and took her wand and wonders with her when she left. Not even the faintest trace of pixie dust stayed on the old wooden floors, and even if there had – it would be gone now. Stamped down by Japanese pilgrims, by hordes of noisy tourists, by trompeting Potterheads, all in search for something, anything to prove that magic has been created here.

We didn’t see any of it there. I think we found it an hour later at a small bookshop called The Edinburgh Bookshop. Magic needs the quiet, I think. It needs the pages of a book to come to life.

(Quote: Lucy Maud Montgomery)

Last But Not Least: Day Seventeen

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There once was a boy named Harry destined for greatness.

There once was a girl named Inga trying to see the light.

There once was a girl named Noemí desperate to find the magic.

There once were oh so many spells and books and forests filled with magic and wonder, and there once were castles full of stories, and there once were fortresses full of mysteries.

There once were. There are. All the children loving fairie tales and yearning for the pixie dust to take them.

There once was a boy named Harry and he spread light and he promised magic, and it was that which made him not a hero, but a friend who would always be waiting.

(Quote: J.K. Rowling)

Last But Not Least: Day Sixteen

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Today there was a steep hill and a castle. There was a shop that sold dust from space and Berty Bott’s All Flavoured Beans. There was a girl from a Spanish beach, and there were stories. Today was made up of Once Upon a Times, of things that happened a long time ago and have stopped happening, and some things that are still happening. Memories becoming dreams and dreams becoming memories, and a reality interwoven with stories and histories.

(Quote: Maggie Stiefvater)

Last But Not Least: Day Fifteen

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I’m wearing a T-shirt that says Buy Me Some Peanuts And Crackerjacks. We’re walking along the moat and we find the ruins of a cathedral. I think I like ruined cathedrals much better because you can actually see the sky, and maybe god sits up there in the clouds or maybe he doesn’t, but the sky is so big and vast and full of wonder that it makes me feel tiny and giddy with joy to be alive. We’re dancing tot he music on the street. We find a bookshop. We have lunch in the backyard of a tiny café. Our laughter is still ringing in my ears. I finally buy my own peanuts. And ice cream. I’m sure heaven is paced with ice cream.

(Quote: J.R.R. Tolkien)

Last But Not Least: Day Fourteen

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The dragons are everywhere, scattered across town. They don’t look anything like the mythical creatures in the stories that I love so much, Eragon or Harry Potter. But I love them anyway. They just stand there, amidst tourists and busy shoppers, and the sun makes them glimmer and glitter in an almost unrealistic way.

It feels a bit like magic; everything is old and beautiful, and every other shop window seems to be full of books. We sit down on the foot of a dragon wearing a deerstalker, and we listen to the music of a violinist playing and swirling, and he reminds me a bit of a shooting star.

(Quote: Terry Pratchett)

Last But Not Least: Day Thirteen

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Everything is a little out of place here. The shops, the advertisements, the tourists, me. The streets probably haven’t changed since the middle ages, and it startles me to think that some things still remain after everything that has happened. You would think the world should have gone up in smoke by now, but there are ancient buildings that some architect came up with eight hundred years ago, and no one has ever dared touch them. I don’t think we are quite capable of not caring about art and beauty, and maybe that’s why we can never be fully destroyed. Because there will always be that one street that stays, unnoticed maybe, but filled to the brim with memories and heart.

(Quote: Maggie Stiefvater)