A change of address

All’s well that ends well

William Shakespeare


Cisnes en el río Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Swans upon a river
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

“Now, having reached this point, you could politely mention that this particular story, about how a ball game was born…, has nothing to do with how I became an antiquarian. And in fact, you would certainly be justified to do so. I will simply say that is has nothing to do, at all, but that I found it an interesting tale to brighten the moment, and it does explain how I came to live in the countryside, right in the middle of the island.”

Having said that, Sir John began to laugh, in a most contagious way. Almost immediately, Alicia, also, began to happily share his good mood and join in the laughter. Recovering himself and after having refilled the delicate porcelain cups with fresh tea, he continued:

Las antiguedades literarias Stratford-upon-Avon
Literary antiques
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

“You see, the thing is that when I was yet to turn thirteen, my grandfather inherited this magnificent property, quite close to where we were living at the time. Shortly after, we moved to this other lovely town in the same region where the property was located. Now, this town was well known; because, William Shakespeare, our most prestigious poet, playwright, and writer was born there. He once mentioned that hell was totally empty, perhaps you have heard this before?” he inquired mischievously.

El estudio stratford-upon-Avon, UK
The studio
stratford-upon-Avon, UK

Alicia, surprised by his question, answered that she ignored it, though her curiosity was plainly displayed in her voice.

“Of course, my dear lady, for he pointed out that, in fact, all the devils were to be found right here, comfortably settled in among ourselves…!”

After which, they both began to laugh in chorus…

La librería Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
The Bookshop
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

 

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A town, a game and a history

How many times, without even thinking, much less dreaming about it, we manage to create an idea or an action that remains behind for others to enjoy…


Streets downtown
Downtown streets
Rugby, Warwickshire, UK

“In reality, Rugby, as a town in itself, it is well known, only to its own residents and perhaps the neighbouring communities. I very much doubt that you have ever heard it mentioned before and more so, back in Bogota. Nonetheless, this charming small town has a relevant fact, in its recent history.”

El patio Ayacucho, Huamanga, Perú
The corner
Rugby,Warwickshire, UK

“A couple of decades ago, in that community’s school, this ball game was born. The game carries the town’s name. At the time, you see, football had become a popular sport among the schools in the country.”

Loa arcos Ayacucho, Huamanga, Perú
Country life
Rugby,Warwickshire, UK

“There, in Rugby’s school, an interesting variation happened. Instead of kicking the ball around, they simply decided to pick it up and run with it to the goal. Soon this practice extended throughout the country and even had an echo in Scotland. I know by references that in America, to be more precise in Uruguay… the game has won a wide acceptance and there are a few teams that play it. As far as I know, they are pretty good at it, as well.”

“And there you have it in a nutshell. A small town, nothing in particular to stand it out, yet in time, it might find it makes itself a nice little niche in our history books. Odd how things happen in the world. Sometimes we do these little things. Why? Because it felt right, an inspiration, for some odd reason you can think of. The fact is that without intentionally setting out to make a mark, we make it happen… and there you have it, the history of that charming little place where I grew up!”

Por la mañana Ayacucho, Huamanga, Perú
A morning stroll
Rugby, Warwickshire, UK

 

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Country-side life on the Island

My life as a child was quite simple… it was in my later years that it became complicated


The bikes Coventry, UK
The bikes
Coventry, UK

“Anyhow, getting back to the matter of my childhood, as it happened, my father would be living, for an extended period, far away from home and relatively close to the shores of the Nile River, Consequently, it was conveniently decided that I should move in to live with my paternal grandparents. Back at home, I had been placed in charge of a governess. Though the arrangement did have its merits, it could never compare with growing up in a proper family atmosphere.”

At the river Stratford-upon-Avon
At the river
Stratford-upon-Avon

“Now, my grandparents lived in a small, picturesque town in the English countryside.” Pleasantly smiling, he continued with his story:

“Well, well… this town I’ve mentioned is called Rugby. It’s in a region, here in England, known as Warwickshire. It’s to be found approximately half way between London and Manchester, another of our principal cities.”

The country-side Warwickshire, UK
The country-side
Warwickshire, UK

“This rural city is in a quaint part of the Island and is sort of in the middle of it all. Life in these towns is very peaceful and easy-going. The locals all know each other well. Actually, life is good in those parts, a simple kind of lifestyle and unpretentious. In the summer days, the fields are beautiful to look upon, and they find themselves profusely decorated with flowers that stand out amongst the green grasses in the fields. What’s more, I dare say these places are homely and cozy, you know?”

Cinema Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK
Cinema
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK

 

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Pharaohs and their tombs

Outside, the tomb appeared majestic, truly becoming of a great leader. Inside, as the millenniums passed by… not even dust remained 


The Antiquarium Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK
The Antiquarium
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK

After munching on a few sandwiches, she inquired as to the business, how it had all begun and since when did he get involved with antiques. Chuckling discreetly, he answered that in a way, since he was a child, or that it could, somewhat, be considered that since always. Evidently, the conversation was held in English, which Alicia spoke perfectly, that in itself, constituted a pleasant surprise for Sir John, her host and the owner of the antique shop.   

“You see, my dear Lady, it could be understood that I inherited this business from my father. In a way, I suppose that would make sense. He was the Curator, or was responsible for the British Museum, here in London, by the way. During his long career, first as an archaeologist and later, in charge of the museum, the institution flourished, and its collection grew enormously with important acquisitions from every corner of the Earth.”

The Madonna Coventry, Warwickshire, UK
The Madonna
Coventry, Warwickshire, UK

“Well now, sadly, my mother, God rest her soul, died too young, scarcely a year after I was born. At the time, way before you were born,” he added, smiling gently, “my father was based in Egypt. He headed this archaeological dig, of importance in his field due to technical and scientific considerations, quite dull for those not initiated to these matters and which we could duly skip.”

“Allow me to mention, in the passing, that they were recovering a tomb built by one of the first Pharaohs of that great, ancient civilization that belonged to the so called Archaic Period. In his way, the ruler was responsible for joining the Great Egypt, known as the Upper Egypt to the Lesser Egypt, also called the Lower Egypt. Thus, his influence was pivotal in creating the conditions for the future development of this important civilization.”

At the cemetary Coventry, warwickshire, UK
At the cemetary
Coventry, warwickshire, UK

“To be more precise, we are dealing with the Second Egyptian Dynasty, which lasted until the end of the Archaeological Period known as Naqada II. All these facts I am mentioning belong to 3,500 years BC.”

At this point, the gentleman laughed very subtly, and then added, “You see, my dear, as the son of a famous archaeologist, it is almost impossible not to delve in these tedious technical issues and typically lulls the sad listener into a deep slumber, almost immediately…”

La calzada de los Muertos (The boulevard of the dead) Teotihuacan Ruins, Mexico
La calzada de los Muertos (The boulevard of the dead)
Teotihuacan Ruins, Mexico

 

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The Lord of the Antiques

When the ordinary object of our life, take us back to times long gone, they acquire a new perspective…


En la iglesia Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Perú
Expressions
Kensington, London, UK

The interior turned out to be much roomier than it would have seemed from the outside. The first floor consisted of a huge living room that led to different side-chambers and an additional space in the back. Almost upon entering, she was very cordially welcomed by a white-haired tall man.

El parque Abancay, Apurímac, Perú
Wilton Place
Kensington, London, UK

He wore this highly stylized moustache and was impeccably dressed in the most formal manner at that early time of the day. This gentleman, probably in his fifth decade, projected an elegance, distinction and grace that strongly impressed the young woman. The man, delighted to hear she was visiting from Colombia, generously invited her to share tea, though the hour was extremely early for it.

El Río Río Thames, Londres, UK
Bridge over the river
River Thames, London, UK

Enthusiastic, Alicia, Felicia’s future mother, accepted. They accommodated themselves in a small, but exquisite chamber, inside this extraordinary establishment. The tea room was in the back of the main exhibition. It connected to the large central area through a corridor, with its wall decked with intriguing oil paintings from distant times in the past. It was subtly isolated from the exterior by a screen brought from the Far East. These displayed and exotic landscapes, masterfully carved in relief into its fine wood. These, also functioned as a door to close the way out of the passage.

They progressively broke the ice, chatting about rather general and introductory matters, the conventional interchange between two people that are barely getting acquainted, without missing the chance to discuss the London’s weather, of course.

Anclados Río Thames, Londres, UK
Anchored
River Thames, London, UK

 

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The pond Hyde Park, London, UK

Wandering the streets

She walked the streets unknowing that fate… awaited her that day


The bridge River Thames, London, UK
The bridge
River Thames, London, UK

The hotel was placed in the western side of London, in the Kensington District, one of the fashionable neighbourhoods of the British Capital City. As she walked the beautiful gardens of Hyde Park, enjoying the lake and its ducks passing by on their morning swim, she got distracted. Without paying attention, she walked on to the nearby streets, following them on their way to the river. Oddly enough, the day was delightful and the sun was shining brightly overhead in all its splendor.

The clearing Kensington, London, UK,
The clearing
Kensington, London, UK,

Profoundly enjoying the atypical weather that prevailed that sunny morning, she walked on wandering the streets, and she finally stopped as she encountered a small antiquarian’s shop. The façade was typical of the times under Queen Victoria’s rule, and the house, though not large, had its own distinctive charm that did not pass unnoticed.

The lake's edge Hyde Park, London, UK
The lake’s edge
Hyde Park, London, UK

Window shopping at this fine, distinguished establishment could be easily compared to visiting a rare exhibition in a first-class museum. The showcases were filled to the brim with exquisite antiques, carefully selected and presented, creating an impressive display that absolutely captured one’s attention immediately. Engrossed, she spent a long while, carefully studying the window case exhibits. Enormously satisfied, she entered the shop. In her mind, she had formulated the imminent possibility of purchasing something of interest for her daughter.

The pond Hyde Park, London, UK
The pond
Hyde Park, London, UK

 

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A day for resting and shopping

Some days the best thing to do… is to do nothing at all


Decorating the streets
Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Peru

“Cheer up, my dearest Prince Valiant. You can cope with these misfortunes and more. After all that wandering around through so many countries, I believe a lazy day, just relaxed and resting, will actually be good for you, don´t you agree?” she commented, hoping to lift her sad and sick husband’s spirits.

“But, it’s one of the few days that we have left for London, my dear, and I can’t say I want to spend it cooped up in here, and I am also spoiling this day for you too” he sadly answered.

Futbol callejero Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Perú
Street foot ball
Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Peru

 “My love, I’m so sorry for your sake, but… at the moment, there’s nothing I can do for you here in the hotel. Your present chores are of a very personal nature. So, you will have to excuse me, for I’m off to explore a few shops in search of something for our future daughter.”

“You’re at it again? How do I get through to you, so you understand that we will have a boy? He shall be big, strong, and healthy. Those dolls and all that little girl stuff you’ve been buying, won’t do him any good at all. They shall have to wait until it’s their turn. The next child will be a girl and she will look just like you. Surely, she shall be utterly beautiful, and yes, she will gladly receive all your presents.”

Fachada y parque Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Perú
Facade and park
Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Peru

“We shall see, my love, we shall most certainly see. Life is full of surprises, and you have a surprise in store for your down the road a bit. And that surprise will indeed play with dolls. It seems to me, that it’s you who shall have to put away all those boy’s toys and await the next one, not myself.”

“Anyway, as you so bluntly put it, so few days, and so much London to see… Just make sure that you drink lots of tea and please try and rest well. I shall be back for lunch; perhaps by then you’ll have an appetite and we can share some light food” That being said, she rapidly left the room, before her husband had time to object.

Once on the main floor of the luxurious hotel, his wife smiled patronizingly and walked out to the street, but not before she talked to the receptionist and made sure he would be perfectly taken care of.

Mediodía en el parque Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Perú
Noon at the park
Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Peru

 

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The ill effects of a British breakfast

He was born a Friday morning, also on a Friday and during the afternoon, he graduated with honours, he celebrated his wedding one Friday evening… he considered that he preferred to die a Sunday at midnight, in his bed if at all possible


El condor Plaza de Armas, Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Perú
The condor
City Park, Andahuaylas, Apurimac, Peru

In London, they ran into this gift store with a collection of tiny horse drawn carriages and a jewel chest that when was opened, would play an exquisite waltz melody… gradually, travelling from one country to another one became more like more like moving to a new house. Since the UK was the last county to visit on their itinerary, the number of suitcases and baggage had multiplied to reach an unthinkable amount of stuff to carry around.

La iglesia Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Perú
The church
Andahuaylas, Apurimac, Peru

It was precisely in London, where the future father of a descendant yet to be born (and whose gender was like a tossed coin… going ‘round and around describing circles in the air), fell ill due to a British breakfast that did not completely agree with his digestion.

Protesting, moaning, and mainly because of his wife’s persistence… he agreed to a medic visit. Totally in character with the detached and phlegmatic manner of the doctors in that faraway country, without more ado, the doctor informed him in a dry tone that he needed to rest, preferably close to the toilet, and to drink plenty of chamomile tea during the day.

El triciclo Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Perú
The tricycle 
Andahuaylas, Apurimac, Peru

“I am afraid that’s about all that I can do for you, sir. These afflictions require a certain amount of rest and a bit of patience.” Having said that, he nimbly pocketed the bills paid for his services and retired.

“That miserable crook, dressed in black with his top hat! For the amount of pounds, he charged, the least he could have done is give me some pills to help end this matter and not waste a whole day inside a bathroom,” he remarked dejectedly as he saw the impeccably correct man leave, after taking his leave.

Frente a la iglesia Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Perú
In front of the church
Andahuaylas, Apurimac, Peru

 

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A doll called Helga

And where are my faithful and inseparable childhood friends. Nostalgic are the memories of my cherished toys…


La plaza Centro histórico, Cusco, Perú
The plaza           Historical Centre, Cusco, Peru

As they travelled through Germany, they bargained and acquired a lovely ceramic doll with golden hair. Curiously its hair would almost identically match Felicia’s own and become one of her favourites. Later on, the doll was named Helga.

Los tapetes Andahuaylas, Región de Apurímac, Perú
The mats
Andahuaylas,  Apurímac Region, Peru

The dolls name was taken from a young girl in a swiss story, part of a storybook with more than three hundred and some, beautifully illustrated pages. The book was one her gifts when she turned six-years old. The little girl read and re-read this book on so many occasions, as it turned into one of what she called: my treasures.

Fiestas del pueblo Andahuaylas, Region de Apurimac, Perú
The fiestas
Andahuaylas, Apurimac Region, Peru

Wooden shoes from Holland, the size to fit a young girl and a set of wooden blocks, carefully carved with delicate designs of animals, the alphabet and the numbers from zero to nine. All them painted in lively colours and by hand…

A many bladed Swiss knife and a tea set from Bruges… a cuckoo clock from Bavaria and a dress with smart colours from Munich…

El jardín Andahuaylas, Región de Apurímac, Perú
The garden
Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Region Peru

 

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Between soldiers and dolls

Through the centuries, it has been said many times that during the nights, the toys awake to play…


Galería Centro histórico de Cusco, Cusco, Perú
Gallery
 Cusco’s Historical Centre, Cusco, Peru

They had time to spare, and so also kept their discussion, about the first child’s gender alive and spent long hours speculating about this important issue. When they finally reached the European coasts. each one of them was utterly convinced that they were right, and knew the sex of their future boy or girl and perfectly well.

Vista dela ciudad Centro histórico de Cusco, Cusco, Perú
View of the city
Cusco’s Historical Centre, Cusco, Peru

So, it happened that, on the next day after disembarking, they went out to do some intense shopping, searching for all manner of small gifts for their firstborn to be. During that long first day, her father bought a few regiments of beautiful tin soldiers, which were fairly fashionable at the time. At the same time, her mother was picking up the dolls which her future daughter would play with in the future.

Balcones Centro histórico, Cusco, PerúBalcones Centro histórico, Cusco, Perú
Balconies
Cusco’s HIstorical Centre, Cusco, Peru

A grand drum was picked up in Rome and added up to the hope-chest for the firstborn, of unknown gender. In Napoli a Pierrot and a Pierrette, fashionably dressed in lively coloured silks also were incorporated into the collection. Both these dolls had exotically painted faces that distinguished them.

From Paris, they brought back a lovely doll with a ceramic head and face, a body filled with goose feathers that turned out to be a gracious ballet dancer. Also, they added a large brass cannon that actually fired littler lead pellets.

El patio Centro histórico de Cusco, Cusco, Perú
El patio
Centro histórico de Cusco, Cusco, Perú

 

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