London, sprawling and huge, confounded my mother in its enormity when she first came here as a new immigrant.  Here is my father’s map; we all need maps.

How do you manage when you arrive somewhere new?

23 thoughts on “London

  1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    I think I love your dad, Jo. I especially love the “Dragons here” annotation. God bless him, I hope one day they really do ring him and tell him they need him to run the country. I’m sure he’d do a mighty fine job. :)

  2. bagnidilucca

    That map looks pretty good. I have been lost in Rome, Florence and Lucca lots of times in the past, but I am OK now. I no longer need maps to find my way around these places – I love it!

  3. Christine

    My word, what a map! I can only imagine how grateful your mother was to have such a detailed piece of imagery to show her the way. If that map were in our house it would be mounted and framed! Love that quote too :)

    Someplace new? Internet, of course. But nothing beats those rambling yet accurate directions extracted from locals.. :)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      My sat nav is out of date, so I spend a lot of time driving through thin air, or so it tells me and I never trust directions given by locals, they are usually on their way back from the pub ;)

  4. drfugawe


    And your father’s map is as much a map to all those memories of London as it is a picture of a physical landscape.

  5. Suelle

    My husband has what we call a homing pigeon brain. No matter how aimlessly we wander, when we are somewhere new, he never gets lost and can always find his way back to the car, station or coach.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Suelle, I think it is essential (touch of the Jane Austen’s here) for a woman in posession of no sense of direction to hang out with someone who has. :)

  6. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    ‘ Afternoon everyone!

    I must admit I was curious to see what would be made of this offering. That is my Dad’s writing there – he is a bit of a wordsmith and that is just a snippet of the text that accompanied this map he drew for my directionally challenged Scandinavian mother which I found amongst her photos after her death in 2004. He, like Suelle’s husband, has magnetic north, tucked in there behind his brow. I, on the other hand, take after my mother in this regard; in fact I have negative directional sense, being one of the few people I know who, on leaving the loos in a service station on the motorway, heads unerringly into the cleaner’s cupboard – Don’t ask how I ever find my car again…. ;)

  7. heidi

    I am perennially lost. In fact, my sister used to ask me which way to turn so that she could turn the opposite way.
    My children come to the gate to pick me up when I fly into ANY big city where they are living. ( So far – Chicago, London, and NYC) Because I will soon be lost.
    My ideal place is a small island on the eastern shore of Virginia. You can’t get lost there. You just keep going in circles!
    Love your father’s map. Love your mother for treasuring and keeping it.
    I love maps- just can’t figure out how they keep you from getting lost!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I love maps too Heidi! I can read them fine, what I can’t do is figure out where I am when I am lost so that I can become unlost by reading the map…. ;)

  8. In a Welsh Garden

    I love your father’s map. It is a thing of beauty. It tells a big story.

    I like the little illustrations for ‘hospital’ ‘castle’ – I’m pretty good at reading maps but if I’m asked for directions and need to do a map I’ll always ‘draw the way’ and tend to litter the map with ‘landmarks’ ,drawn in haste,to show the way.

    I am sure that you must treasure your map, and the beautiful writing that accompanies it.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hiya MagicGarden! Me too! I like the little drawings of the landmarks – the rowers at Putney Bridge, his version of the Palace of Westminster, Battersea Power Station looks good and Tower Bridge too! He is very passionate about the Thames!

      I would love to see one of your maps one day, hint, hint ;)

  9. cityhippyfarmgirl

    I love what your dad wrote to accompany the map. Lovely words…
    I had a good chuckle about you walking in to the cleaners cupboard. I can identify with that one. Once when I was backpacking in Europe I was so tired off getting lost I decided I would only walk straight for the day. I would end up somewhere eventually and need never turn :-)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      We are a select group, those who enter the cleaner’s cupboard in search of the exit from the Ladies. Oh the humiliaton! I think your straight ahead technique sounds fabulous, might work in a city laid out by the Romans….

  10. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    I think I might have a go at drawing a map, every time I come back to see the comments I look at that one and think it was a heroic effort on MGB’s part to do it. One can make a map of anything after all, the woods where you walk, the town where you live, the friends you have, somewhere you lived in the past. Anyone else want to make a map? If you do and post it on your blog, do send me a link and let me know. If you don’t have a blog, and you want to share, then send me an image and I will post it on a page here.

  11. Choclette

    Wonderful map – clever man. It’s all so easy now, going somewhere new, I look it up on the internet and print a map out if necessary. When I was young, I just took off and found my way around by exploration – more fun really.

  12. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    @ Ulrike – maps are more than tools for navigation though aren’t they – I think that is why people love them. I can’t imagine loving my sat nav, she can be very unreasonable sometimes, all that ‘make a U-turn’ stuff she does.

    Hi Choclette, sounds like you have one of those secret inner compasses – I’m jealous !

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