"And so - you want to come to London - it is a damned place to be sure - but the only place in the world for fun"
In October 2012 the Polite Tourist paid another visit to the "damned place" in search of the Byron Westminster Green Plaque...
I would like to tell you that it was easy to locate this newly unveiled and wonderful new plaque - however, when was anything easy with Byron?
As I walked up and down Holles Street in search of the damned thing that was displayed on the wall of the John Lewis store, I became increasingly aware that during the course of my futile search, I was also now attracting the suspicious glances of my fellow pedestrians.
Perhaps they thought I was casing the joint!
Eventually, a bus inspector took pity on me and after reassuring himself that I meant him no harm, he became my 'search buddy' and so off we walked - again!
As we continued our search in Holles Street, he told me that he had been aware that there had been "some sort of ceremony" there earlier that month but he confessed to having witnessed nothing of any significance and "any ways, who was this Byron?"
And so with the daylight vanishing as fast as my hope; I thanked him for his help and excused myself, quickly!
Salvation appeared in the form of a John Lewis window designer who literally crashed into me as I continued my futile walk along Holles Street and having graciously accepted her sincere apologies and although she didn't know where the plaque was situated; she was delighted to take a break from designing the sparkly scenes of festivity and promptly marched me inside the store.
As I crossed the threshold of the store I felt as if I had walked into one of the circles of Dante's Inferno.
Imagine the scene if you will of a confined space that is heaving with people who are all jostling about. Their baskets are piled dangerously high with shopping and as the inane Christmas music blares out, their faces grow increasingly red from the excessive heat and the long queues and I should add that there is also a total absence of the spirit of goodwill.
The window dresser having brought me into this hell then promptly disappeared in search of someone who would definitely know where the Byron plaque was.
By now I could care less...
As I stood rooted on the spot afraid to move less I become a victim or more likely, a perpetrator of 'store rage', I waited as patiently as I could with the assistance of the odd minute or two of transcendental meditation.
Eventually, the window dresser reappeared with a look of relief on her face and for the first time in my life I was delighted to find myself being marched out of a store.
We came upon Holles Street, a few steps to my left and voilà, there it was!
As I photographed the elusive plaque in the fading light, I had to laugh at the appropriateness of the quotation used...
And as was with Catherine Gordon Byron in the year 1788, I was also rather pleased to leave Holles Street behind...