Friday, 29 January 2016

Relishing Solitude at the British Museum

"I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel."
- Audrey Hepburn: Many-Sided Charmer, LIFE Magazine, 7 December 1953

I'm no Audrey; my flabs and hips can tell. But I share the same sentiment. In my innermost world where I allow very few people in, I very much look forward to two occasions: seeing close friends and family that I don't often see but find that things remain just as yesterday despite the years and distance apart, and retreating to a solitary bubble where I feel most at home.

The 263-year-old British Museum

I messaged a close friend, who's one of the few I'd meet up with in a heartbeat, that I'm having a wave of introversion. I used to fight it when I was a lot younger. I now welcome it as an important part of my being. I'm uncomfortable with company that  even an empty chatter requires effort to make. It feels like a date that I need to escape from. I think the boredom in each other's presence is mutual. So I'd rather be alone.

99% of the time, I'm involved in conversations at work ranging from high-strung to nonsensical and long-drawn-out to overscrupulous, that I avoid the same outside. At least at work I get paid to suffer them. In my private life, I refuse to participate in unnecessary activities that drain my soul, and for which there is no compensation. Sometimes they can't be avoided. I make up by slowly learning to choose the interactions that make me happy. Often, that involves spending time on my own.

Make sure the rest stays in place when you pick a book

When I want to be alone but still be around people, I visit museums. It's a place where I find solitude even in the physical presence of others, mainly because we all have come not to have conversations or interaction but for quiet observation . In museums, I can be silent and not be perceived as troubled. 

Great Court restaurant under the iconic roof of the British Museum

"Tea should be taken in solitude."
- C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

And so I took mine, indeed in solitude, after checking out one of the exhibits. I had cream tea instead of afternoon tea as I had ramen prior to my visit and the latter would be too filling. I must say Marks and Spencer's cream tea is way better for a more reasonable price, but I was aware I was also paying for my surroundings on top of the cream tea at the British Museum. 

Since I have started purchasing proper china, I've developed this bad habit of checking the brand used by restaurants. This one is English-made Burleigh. The company started in the pottery business in 1851. I thought they are mainly known for blue and white porcelain, but it seems green is for the museum. Or maybe not. 


Great Russell St: street view from the steps of the British Museum

How do you celebrate solitude?


  1. Wonderful place, have yet to go to this one!! Love the architecture. Superb photos doll. Happy February to you xx

  2. For some reason my long comment just disappeared so I'll keep it brief. It sounds like you enjoyed your solitude. I think it's important to be able to have solitude at times in our lives.:) Have a great new month! x

    1. I'm sure you'll have the chance to write another long message next time x

  3. I was nodding all the way through this and that first quote couldn't be closer to the truth for me. I'd be much happier staying in on a Friday/Saturday night with me, myself and I and have always been like that - people call me boring because I don't want to spend my spare time making small talk and spending money on rubbish events or food. I don't know where this introvert trait of mine comes from, perhaps essentially being an only child?? (my brother hardly lived with us being autistic). When I want to be alone but around people, I work in coffee shops, even though I don't drink coffee and I like to window shop.

    No pressure, but I hope when we do eventually meet up, our chatter isn't too empty or unnecessary. I'll ensure I get an early train back to Brum ha ha. Happy Weekend xx

    1. If all ends well, we might even just meet up in Bicester Village. Hahaha. I used to fear being boring coz I'd rather stay at home or do things on my own. But now, I don't care x

  4. I understand your feelings. I was a very shy teen ager and now that I am a woman, often need my time alone. A time for my thoughts and to see the world through a glass...I think that is why I love sitting in a cafe' and silently look around ...

    1. I say I was a very awkward teenager. Maybe that's why I prefer being alone. I do enjoy the company of friends, but I need to break away after a certain period so I can recover :)


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