Saturday, April 20, 2013

Day of Context - Living in London

As I consider myself a resident of London for a month, I decided to start as I mean to go on and have a real London day just like a resident, which is to say nothing like a London resident, which means how I used to spend my days when I was a London resident about 150 years ago. I used to inhale this city, walking for hours and eating little to make my small salary go further, seeing every play and concert and exhibit I could fit in. And here I am back again. Giddy-up!

There is nothing quite like the first day in a new place, knowing that you did pack exactly the right clothing.  It was cool and windy, but I warmed up walking at my usual brisk pace (it has been called by some a 'thundering' pace; I couldn't possibly comment).  My back was definitely crinkly after yesterday's long flight so I broke up the journey, but was able to do so in iconic London fashion.

Ahh, London.  Cracked and heaving pavements.  Doggy do dotted about.  Rows upon rows of seemingly identical Edwardian terraced houses.  Air that doesn't smell like the air at home.  Traffic that comes at you at breakneck speed.  Twisty roads that slowly become wide busy corridors.  The houses slowly became large blocks of flats.  After an hour or so I spotted an odd building: tall, thin - it looked like an elevator. 

Then I came upon the river and a full view of the Houses of Parliament and I realized my glass elevator was the side view of the London eye. 

I had a welcome cup of full English in a tiny hut perched over the river looking at that view as the sun dodged between clouds and lit up Big Ben so it sparkled. 

I decided to follow the Thames, appropriate as it is a river with scoliosis, a geographic metaphor.

Another chunk of walking time took me to the Globe Theatre where I stopped for coffee overlooking St. Paul's across the river. As always there are so many views of old and new architcture viewing for the same locality of silhouette, and I was happy to see quite a lot of cranes and more architecture on its way up (and stuff that's a bit more interesting than a square block).

I crossed Tower Bridge (do not call make the mistake of calling it London Bridge even though it is probably the most famous bridge in London.  London Bridge was actually removed brick by brick and moved to Arizona, USA.  Don't believe me?  Look it up.  Apology accepted.) and located the Scoliosis SOS clinic not far from the Tower of London.  Hmm, I hope that is not going to be a metaphor in any way, either.

Heading back west along the north side, I took a slight detour to see the newfurbished Leadenhall Market, closed off for renoations the last time I was in this area.  The butcher shope there also has a little cafe out front and a takeout menu with a queue stretching almost all the way doen the lane.  I had walked a good 3 hours by this time (+stops) so stopped for a spot of food. 

As I closed in on the Aldwych and theatreland I heard a clock chime 2pm and I wondered if there might be any Thursday matinees anywhere.  Bam! Right there in front of me was the Aldwych Theatre itself and a sea of white heads bobbing in front of it, which  could only mean 1 thing - a mid-week matinee.  The musical Top Hat was playing  Yes it had a good seat at half price and there I was, doing what comes naturally!  At intermission I went up to the bar area to look at my programme when I noticed it was raining outside, but as I left the building the sun was out and all London was finishing its working day.

My body was feeling a bit war torn, so took the tube back to Balham.  Oh yeah, I'm back, baby!


  1. so good you are weaving some classic London into the clinic experience. There is even some blue sky in those photos

  2. It's great to have you documenting your journey. This in itself is a wonderful writing project. I love how your writing seems to tumble out of you and documenting your experience could help others as well.

  3. It's helping me! I'm planning a trip to attend this program in the Spring!