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Alas, dear London…So Glad I Finally Got to Know Ye Well

May 30, 2013

Go ahead and quiz me. I know where Pimlico is relative to Chelsea, Belgravia and Victoria. I can take you for a cool drink down the Kingsland Road. I won’t get lost in Hampstead Heath. I know where to nosh on the best custard tart in Primrose Hill (it’s all yours). I can find the medieval from the Renaissance in the National Gallery, get to the shoes blindfolded in Selfridges, and make a beeline for the soup section in any central Waitrose. I’m like my own little London Yelp,  full of sense memories and orientation. It only took me three stays – four years this last one.

And now I’m gone, because there is no sense staying in London unless London makes a lot of sense. I quite enjoyed having a reduced social circle for a while – so much less pressure to have fun. But I want a network again, for the prosperity it brings to one’s calendar, career and family feeling. It’s a very different bounty from that I was used to in N7, W2 and  W14, consecutively, where the simplest bike ride from A to B led me past one historical treasure after another postcard perfect landmark until I felt like a star in a Working Title feature day after British day.

I miss horse guards, and vacuum-packed steamed beets as a grocery staple, and oh my Lord the BBC iPlayer. I miss the ring-ring, ring-ring, when I called my mates. I miss listening to Today in the morning on the radio instead of in the UK afternoon on my laptop. I miss Paris a train ride away, not that I ever took it, but still. I miss fathers calling their children darling, pubs as something interpretation-free, five weeks of paid vacation a year for the most junior employees, Mind the Gap, abundant supermarket self-check-outs and God Saving the Queen. I miss who I was when I was a Londoner.

I miss living walls…

Fulham-Sloane Ave-Victoria 002

 I miss, miss, miss the V & A…Coconut mounted on a tankard…

Kensington 012

 A model for marble, Antonio Rossellino, 1465…

Kensington 023

Reliquary, about 1250-1300…

Kensington 053

The Death of the Virgin…

Kensington 060

 The Rape of Proserpina…

Kensington 068

I miss coming across places and things out of my childhood, like this square, aka the little park, where my mother would send my brother and me to get us out of her hair. Sorry, Mom/Mum, there was only so long a Corgi toy and James Herriot could last us.

Fulham-Sloane Ave-Victoria 125

Some things never change…

Fulham-Sloane Ave-Victoria 128

 I miss wrought iron…

Haymarket + Sound Installation 040

 I miss generous visiting friends taking me out to high tea (where waitresses point out the highlights with as much delicacy as the cakes – by God that champagne jelly was delish)…

High tea with Christine

 I miss the way that tourist excitement over London was different from my own, how my walk through Trafalgar Square needed to get done at a clip because I was usually late for work, how I was the one being asked to take strangers’ snapshots because as a local I probably wouldn’t mind. I miss doing the Evening Standard crossword. I miss beetling from Leicester Square tube along Shaftesbury up Dean Street to meet M for club night.  I miss knowing there were thatched roofs not too far out of town. I miss yellow vanilla. I miss anoraks. I miss lurchers. I miss her Majesty’s Post and Revenue. I’ll be back, of course I’ll be back, and not as a tourist ever again. I miss not missing London. Bless you if you’ll miss this blog.

 Walton St 009


One Comment leave one →
  1. L Martin permalink
    February 7, 2014 3:12 am

    we’ll miss your blog Louisa, and I’m sure London will miss you. Best wishes x

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