We’ve been in London for ten days now. As I was running around the Serpentine in Hyde Park amidst clucking geese and the occasional regal swan it occurred to me that she is an unhurried city to visit. Manhattan pulls you at once into the vortex of her breakneck pace and Los Angeles will entice your involvement with her sublime indifference and lavender skies. London, by contrast, is a graceful hostess. Rather like a grand old dame plying the weary traveller with refreshments, she will offer an initial restful comfort and an elegantly spacious home which one can explore room by room in one’s own time.
Memories have echoed and unfolded as I have haunted the city these past days. We visited the pirate ship playground, an old favorite in days gone by, on a drizzly grey afternoon. The ghost of my three year old son played in the sand before me whilst his thirteen year old self chatted on the bench nearby. Early one day I walked my daughter down Queen’s Gardens in Bayswater to show her an old dwelling place while the chink of the breakfast service clattered from an open hotel basement window. I have always loved the sounds of morning in the city!
As happens every year I also find myself discovering facets of the city afresh. A door in the home this time is left ajar and I am able to peek through and glimpse the unexpected. Several of my closest London friends have moved location during the past year. Whether it’s lingering over dinner conversation at Carluccio’s in Ealing or staying up long into the flickering candle light on the terrace of a house in Hammersmith, musing over twenty years of friendship, I sense new beginnings and fresh pathways to be trodden in this glorious and generous corner of the old world.