Thursday, September 4, 2014

Love Story At Fortnum & Mason

At Funfschilling (c) Claudia Schoenfeld

My first day in London and I wanted to find Leicester Square,
and found myself at Piccadilly Circus. I remembered movie 
news clips of VE day there and other times news stories 
talked about it. 

Walking down the street I saw a store with a clock that had moving figures. 
Above the door on an overhang was written FORTNUM & MASON. 
I didn't know anything about it. Yet its charm drew me in. 
In the window were china honey pots and jars of honey from all many countries. 
It was an old-fashioned looking department store. Since 1767 as it turns out. 

I went in and found a little restaurant in the center of the ground floor. 
Hungry, I decided to have something to eat. It was tea-time. 
I was seated next to a couple and here is what I overheard:

For you, high tea in busy London town...............him
I love it here, this store has history......................her

Det er en stund siden vi var her, vet du.

For fire år siden tror jeg, før Russland.

Vi ønsket noen teapots det året, husker?

Ja, het jaar Boven Downstairs-- de Denen en Nederlands begon
te chique Britse Tea Sets.

Что мы получаем в Санкт-Петербурге?

Не знаю, может быть, яйцо Фаберже копии.

La donna accanto a noi non sembra inglese, Dimmi cosa ne pensi?

Poteva essere irlandese. Sembra irlandese a me.

Mi chiedo perché lei è qui pranzando da solo?
Potrebbe essere americano. Che un sacco di americani sono qui oggi!

 גם הרבה ישראלים. אני מופתע מהקבוצה שפגשתי במלון.

                                הם היו משלחת מסוג כלשהו, לא?
                               הם נמצאים כאן על האולימפיאדה!
                                  הממ! האם אתה מדבר איתם ...

Au plaisir de Paris, n'est-ce pas?

Toujours. C'est le printemps.
Je veux profiter de certains de nos choses préférées
Et aller faire du shopping? Obtenir quelque chose de beau pour vous-même, mon cher.
Oh oui, j'ai besoin de quelques choses.
Dis-je, nous allons avoir un pique-nique dans le Bois de Boulogne!

Mais Oui. Je vais prendre quelques fromages et les viandes avec du pain et du vin.

Nous nous arrêterons par cette boutique de la rue du Val d'Or.
Oh j'adore ce quartier. Voyons un petit hôtel il.

Tak min kærlighed, for denne meget engelsk behandler.

Du gør mig glad hver dag.
Åh, du ved ... I mellemtiden (Åh jeg vil betale regningen)
er vi nødt til at købe dem, honning og honning potter!

I introduced myself before they left. A couple who had been 
in business for decades. Buying and selling, travelling the world 
buying lovely things to sell. They spoke all European languages, 
of course, they said. As doing business required a knowledge of 
languages --two dialects of Chinese, more middle Eastern 
languages, Welsh and Irish too.  They had been to Texas, 
had friends in Dallas and were glad to meet me. So generous 
and so gracious,  I’ll never forget them.   

and the English translation of the conversation here:

For you, High Tea in Busy London town……………………
I love it here, this store has history…………….. her
It’s been a while since we were here, you know.
Four years ago I think, before Russia.

We wanted some teapots that year, recall?
Yes, the year Upstairs Downstairs-- the Danes
and Dutch began to fancy British Tea Sets.

What did we get in St Petersburg?
Don’t know, maybe Faberge egg copies.

The lady next to us does not look English,
Tell me what do you think?
She could be Irish. She looks Irish to me.
I wonder why she’s here having lunch alone?

She might be American. What a lot of Americans are here today!
A lot of Israelis too. I’m surprised by the group I met in the hotel.
They were a delegation of some sort, weren’t they?
They’re here about the Olympics!
Hm! Did you talk to them…
Yes, a little.

Looking forward to Paris, aren’t you?
Always. It’s springtime. I want to enjoy some of our favorite things
And go shopping? Get something beautiful for yourself, my dear.
Oh yes, I need a few things.
I say, let’s have a picnic in the Bois de Boulogne!
Yes. I’ll get some cheeses and meats with bread and wine.
We’ll stop by that shop on the Rue du Val d'Or
Oh I adore that neighborhood. Let’s find a small hotel there.

Thank you my love, for this very English treat.
You make me happy every day.
Oh, you know… In the meantime, (oh I’ll pay the check)
we need to purchase those honeys and honeypots!

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 9.3.14 * All Rights Reserved


  1. what a cool conversation.... enjoyed the translation but even more the sound of the different languages above.... how cool when people speak so many languages that they seamlessly slip in and out of them without really realizing that they're changing the language... it adds to the feel of feeling at home in different places around the world... very cool gay - and it is quite visible that you're a well traveled person as well.. smiles

    1. I loved your artwork Claudia. Couldn't resist this piece. I know you had three at the same table but in the end of that conversation, it had become a sort of table for three, and so glad they included me into their day.

  2. did go around the world in that...i was like, how am i gonna read this...ha.....
    i would love to have the experience to be able to slip in and out of these....

  3. Ah.. I love hove the conversations gradually became less and less understandable (danish I do understand)... this one was really cool. At work we slip between english and swedish seamlessly and I have collegues speaking swedish english and hindu.. slipping seamlessly back and forth.

    1. Now you're the guy I wrote this for. I oughtta dedicatate it to you. I figured you could understand all these languages. Is Danish in your repetoire? Someday I may get to see Scandinavia and I'll block off lots of time. Swedish food looks daunting though??? thanks for reading and commenting, sir.

  4. All you cosmopolitan type just amaze me; high school German is it for me. I am still struggling with English; but this piece is a flat-out brilliant response to both prompts; bravo.

    1. Well as I said...I plugged into google translate and thought it might work as I wasn't using the familiar you .. just leaving it implied. German is a language I haven't tried at all. French, Spanish, Latin, a little Italian, a semester of Russian (only got through the alphabet and a few nouns) is about it for me and when I try to think of a word I get the ones I know confused. No living in Texas (and hearing what's spoken hear) English is challenge enough!

  5. you took me to a lot of different places with a single conversation; a great write, Gay! :)

    1. ThanksAnthony. Miss our days on twitter. Feels like high school, doesn't it?

  6. Well this was very cool. Amazing what you can do with Google Translate, isn't it? I was going to congratulate you on your Russian!

    1. Well the Hebrew translation gave me fits. Being right to left, it tore up the blog and the script went all over the page, but I was determined to make this work as well as I could. Thanks Audrey!

  7. Ah, Gay, it's been too long between drinks (of tea) for us. And you never disappoint or leave me without a splendid lesson and feeling of "Ahhhhhh."

    1. Thanks Joe...tea, brandy, cuppa anything would be great. I need to travel again soon. If I could only kick real life responsibilities to the curb. Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated!

  8. What a great story to go with the sketch. So cool to have met a couple like this. They sound so rich in many ways. I envy their language skills. I can do English/spanish. But, am embarrassed to admit I was once a French teacher. Have pretty much forgotten it all. Anyway, sure did enjoy this poem.

  9. Thank you Myrna. It's my joy to share this favorite memory with all of you.

  10. I enjoyed the English translation Gay ~ I find it interesting actually to eavesdrop on conversations, ha ~

  11. It really must be fascinating to be in a place where so many different languages are spoken. I wish I spoke another language besides English. Sigh.

  12. I too admit to being a listener - what an amazing world surrounds us, especially at lunch.

  13. I'm sure they were so intriguing… I can just see you listening in - the sound of the different languages would have been so neat!

  14. so many strange looking fonts giving shape to a wonderful expression called poem...poetry's gone sea change riding on faster time waves...cheers to the power of words..a cool poem here :)

  15. Wish I could use translation as effectively - cool poem.

  16. Enjoyed the invention here Gay - suits Claudia's picture very well indeed - a flight... With Best Wishes Scott

  17. Very creative write and an exciting life. To know people from all over the world is adding many happy worlds to your life, so you are extra blessed! So was I with all the mind blowing languages. I guess google works.

  18. It was a fun read - knowing the people around, observing them, identifying them - as a matter of fact, something that we all do perhaps. A cool poem.

  19. It is so fun to eavesdrop, though I wouldn't have been able to understand all the different languages. Enjoyed this :-)

  20. Gay, don't know if you ever go back to read responses to your comments -- your response to my poem was a poem in itself, so beautiful, that I got a little teary. Thank you very much for such a lovely comment :-)