My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 59: The birthplace of Alfred Hitchcock ... and David Beckham

The Birds mural by Mateusz Odrobny & Ana Mill   Image credit: The Guardian

If it's Friday we must be back in London. Every Friday I take a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings We're currently following the Central Line. Here are the previous days. This is Day 59

Just when I thought I couldn’t walk another step along the route covered by the Central line, I find out from my pal with the googly eyes that the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock hails from these here parts! Born above his father’s greengrocer’s shop at 517 High Road in Leytonstone, Hitchcock is the area’s most famous son but don’t tell that to David Beckham who grew up in the area too. 

While Hitchcock’s boyhood home was knocked down years ago, in its stead there’s a gas station—sorry— petrol station and a nice blue plaque. 

Nearby on the High Road, a pair of artists covered a building with birds to honor Hitchcock. You can see the building at the top of the page. Odronby even managed to paint a portrait of Hitchcock within the eye of the biggest bird.

David Beckham slept here. 
image credit: London Loves Business

You can still stop by Beckham’s old house at 155 Norman Road. 

The area also features blocks of flats named in the great director’s honor; Marnie Court and Topaz Way, plus there’s an actual Hitchcock Lane. Not much to look at. Disappointing? Here in California up in Bodega Bay, where Hitchcock filmed The Birds, the church and school remain but little else is recognizable. A small cafe calls itself The Birds Cafe, inside there are a couple of photos but the staff has no idea about any of it. Was this cafe used in the movie, you ask, wondering if you’ve missed something. What happened to the Tides restaurant? They don’t know. Or care. They look at you like you might be a little crazy for asking where did Tippi Hedrin take the little motorboat out.

It’s too bad time can’t stand still like it does in the movies; it would make paying homage much easier. At least there’s a plaque! Here in Los Angeles at the home where F. Scott Fitzgerald died, there’s not even that! 

My photo of the Hollywood apartment where F. Scott Fitzgerald died. 
It was the home of his mistress, gossip columnist Sheila Graham. 
There is no plaque.

And there are some lovely mosaics (17 in all) just up ahead on the walls outside the Leytonstone Station, depicting scenes from his life and his films. Four Hitchcock classics I’ve nabbed. I bet you don’t need me to identify the movies for you!

 Image credit:
image credit: CNN
image credit:

Done with the Hitchcock home town tour? Not quite. Up ahead on the fringes of Epping forest is the Sir Alfred Hitchcock Hotel. What does it have to do with Hitchcock? Did he stay there, eat there, shoot a film there? None of the above as far as I can see but for some reason they have license to use his name. I wonder how that works in England. Do they need permission from the estate, do they need to pay some sort of licensing fee? 
image credit:

That’s got me curious. If you were going to name a hotel—or a pub, a restaurant, whatever, is there a famous person you’d name it after? I’m debating between the Redford Inn and the Gosling Arms.

Instead of heading off to the Snaresbrook Station, instead I’ll check in to the Sir Alfred Hitchcock hotel for the night and mull over my decision. I have a feeling I’ll be sleeping with the light on.

The Sir Alfred Hitchcock Hotel
147 Whipps Cross Rd, London E11 1NP
+44 20 8530 3724

Counting the Fitbit steps

Day 1-58:                                                     404,090 steps/177.15 miles

Day 59: Leytonstone          .                               11000 steps/4.9 miles

Total Imaginary Miles to Date                     415,090 steps/182 miles


  1. Enjoyed that very much - as usual! I lived, for a short while, in that area when I first started working in London and had no idea about the Hitchcock connection. I don't think I made it past the nearest pub too often. And no one outside his family had heard of David Beckham back then!

    1. Thanks Mike! You'll have to give me the name of the pub:)

  2. Fun! I love all the art work dedicated to Hitchcock!

    At least it's not the Bates Motel.


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