London Town

I didn’t expect to, but I fell in love with London. I liked the twisting roads. The fruit and veg stalls set up in the street with their scents of banana and guava and onion. The sound of different languages humming together.

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I liked the red double-deckers and the black cabs. The way the pollarded trees lining the streets look like the extended necks of giraffes.  The way the rain turns to mist turns to rain turns to sun turns to mist again.

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I liked riding the tube beneath the bustling streets: the way the voice says mind the gap when you get on and off. The strangeness of emerging back into the world again, blinking in the misty air as the flow of people moves around you as though you are a stone in a river.

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I like the gilding on the royal gates with a backdrop of silver cloud. The pastel palette of Portobello Road. The way that Westminster Abbey makes you crane your neck back so far that you almost fall over backwards into the German tourists behind you.

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I like the coffee (especially this coffee). The jam doughnuts from St. John bakery filled with rhubarb marmalade (thanks Brian).  Ottolenghi. Sitting in Hyde Park and watching the swans in the twilight.

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But most of all, I like the way when you first turn down any one of those many cobble stoned streets with the red brick or grey brick terraces – or the posh versions with their pastel colours and glossy iron railings –  there is a moment, before you look down and see the cars and the girl walking towards you in stilettos on her mobile phone – when you wonder if you might have just walked back in time. When it seems completely possible that Sherlock Holmes and Watson might come speeding round the corner in a horse pulled hansom. That Charles Dickens might come meandering out of an alleyway with a brightly coloured satin waist-jacket, checking his pocket watch and whistling. That a woman might emerge out of one of the many glossy black doors in a veiled hat and bustled gown, carrying a parasol in her white gloved hand.

Every where you look, ghosts of the past are whispering. You can hear the rustle of petticoats. The clipping of black patent leather shoes. You can stand beside a lamp post and think about how many human beings have stood in the very spot  you are now standing, watching the rain fall and listening to the sounds of life as evening settles down.

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So yes, London, you have made your mark.

Comments

  1. Two big thumbs up! Love reading this and I’m so glad you ate The Best Doughnut In The World. I miss London a lot.

    • Danielle says:

      I can see why! I have been grieving since we got back to Falmouth. Not that Falmouth isn’t lovely, but there is just something about London. Thank you for pointing me in the direction of The Best Doughnut in The World 🙂 I have been wanting one for ages since I started following your blog!!

  2. Glad you got a good welcome from good ole London Town! I’m a Londoner but I’m sure I have never tried The Best Doughnut In The World yet. I love London too – there’s an unendless number of winding streets and surprising corners to turn and you never run out of things to discover. Yes, can you tell I’m proud of my City? 🙂 Falmouth is lovely though – I’ve only been once. But London is never too far from water, that’s another thing I marvelled about the other day!

    • Danielle says:

      You are lucky indeed to live in such a place! I know just what you mean about surprising corners and winding streets – I think we walked almost 15 miles one day (we mapped it out on google maps) because we just couldn’t stop. The lure of what might be around the next bend was just too much. Anyhow, you should go get a St John doughnut for me 🙂 They really do live up to their name.

  3. Your photos are incredible. Always are………………I took this walk with you and heard the sound of past petticoats and parasols.
    Thank you!

  4. You’ve really captured the atmosphere London oozes here. I’m glad to hear it got you too, old London Town. There’s just something special about that place. I love your photos as well as the words. 😀

  5. Shelagh in Vermont says:

    London is special to me too. I was born there. Thank you for capturing in words & photos some of what we all love about the greatest city in the world. Mind you, Falmouth is where my remaining family live, so I probably won’t ever get to London again.

    • Danielle says:

      Yes that’s that the thing about Cornwall – once you get into Cornwall it is very difficult to get out again! Not just because there is so much to see and do here one loses their desire to leave, but because it just takes ages and ages to get anywhere. Between London, Falmouth and Vermont, you have lived in some truly lovely places 🙂

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and seeing your photos. I can’t wait to get back to London! I’ve fallen down the dangerous rabbit-hole of Dorothy Sayers mysteries…so England has been very present in my mind.
    Do you ever read Ben Pentreath’s inspiration blog? He has a couple of recent posts (one on Cornwall, another on London) I think you’d enjoy.

    • Danielle says:

      Hi Anna,

      I haven’t read Ben’s blog before now, but you know from here on out I shall! Thank you so much for telling me about it – already I love it. Thanks for your comment – yes Dorothy Sayers…

  7. I’ve only visited London once, and it was so long ago. I like the picture you paint, how it leaves me imagining the scent of banana and guava and onion.

  8. Oo a gorgeous post. It makes me think of all the things I love about London (and forget about those I don’t). 🙂 I know what you mean about the weight of history all around you, I enjoy that feeling so much.
    Your pictures are captivating as always. I want some Persian love cake!! xxx

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