This trip has been illuminating. I love London; my family has lived here for 16 years and I know it well. I was surprised though, at how relaxed I was walking the streets yesterday. I covered a reasonable distance as well.
I met Adam for lunch near Smithfield. Nice, though trendy, place called Meet. A play on words, being next to London's premier meat market. We both had burgers and neither had a beer. We both fancied a walk afterwards and he took me over to St Bart's Church, an ancient church attached to its eponymous hospital. I'd never been. It was one of those treasured nooks in the city that many people just miss. Including me, I guess. It survived the great fire. It had been delicately restored where necessary. This was important to Adam as historical preservation is his business. It was peaceful, as churches should be. I found myself reflective. I felt the same vibe from Adam. Regardless of faith, or lack thereof, it inspired calm. Adam's not religious and what faith I have bears little relation or loyalty to that spoken from the pulpit; nevertheless, I was moved.
After we said goodbye I made the decision to walk, in the rain, from Farringdon station to Regent St. It was raining, but not hard, and it had been awhile since I'd been in London. And the burger was sitting heavily. It wasn't the most direct route. I passed the Rolls Buildings and thought on my degree and former aspirations to academia. The buildings are significant and rarely mentioned in the guidebooks, guardhouses of the writs, rolls, orders and precedent that form the unwritten constitution that guides the running of this, my adopted home. Or is supposed to at least. I wonder when the last time Tony rocked by to check something out. He seems to kind of wing it. Wanker.
As I came up towards Tottenham Court Road (an old stomping ground in my teens due to the high concentration of comic book shops and the proximity of the British Museum - big geek am I) it seemed no different to me than walking up Market St when it was busy. London truly is a large collection of small villages. Whoever wrote that (I would ask my non-existent readers to leave the answer in a comment) becomes more right with every year.
It took about 45 minutes to get to Regent St. I geeked at the Apple Store for awhile and resisted the urge to buy anything and got the tube home. The tube and the city in general were pretty chilled. People of all shades carrying all shapes of backpack were given as much attention as a guy in a suit. None. The presence of uniformed police at the odd station didn't raise many an eyebrow. This town has had it much worse, and the casual attitude people held, in spite of all, was another comfort. I almost felt guilty for the pride that brought a smile to my face. I haven't lived here properly for 9 years. But it's still home to me.
I got home and had to work. So much so that I didn't show up to the gig that I'd been put on the guestlist for; I felt a bit of an arse.
Tuesday night, as Kate's gig was cancelled, I met with Ru and Marcus for a pint at The Dove. A great pub. They seemed well. Ru got a job and Marcus was doing well in his. They're my academic sons and it sounds silly, but I am very proud of them in an almost fatherly way. I also despair and think they're morons; also in a fatherly way. I took this picture. What a view. You wouldn't think you were in London. You can almost see my house on the right bank. That pic was taken with my new phone. So I am using it as a camera. Oh well. Ru & Marcus asked what I was doing with my life. I said I wasn't sure, but Edinburgh, London and St Andrews would play a part. That was pretty obvious. We went back to mine and ate a curry, drank beer and shot the shit with my folks.
Today was a work day. Got the wireless network fixed for the house. Finally. It's taken a year. I had an instructive chat with my dad regarding his phone, teaching him how to call someone. I told my parents the plan I'd been concocting since I got home, regarding my life, the universe and everything. They seemed pretty cool with it. I'm not going to jump out and say it here just yet. The time will come though. Very soon.
We went to The Ivy tonight. One of dad's old university friends joined us, a great guy. The food and wines were excellent and the chat nice. There was a cool photography show on tv when we got home.
I would say that I could get used to London very quickly, but I already am.
This was the view from my front garden on Wednesday night after the rain stopped. I have not retouched this photograph in anyway. That's what it was like.
I'm sorry - this post is a bit more whimsical, wordy and self-important than I normally am. Hard to believe really. I'm trying to say as much as I can without saying it. And when I'm at a loss for words, sometimes I say the wrong ones. On the plus side, I'm listening to the first collection of duets between Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. I've never heard it before. I have the second one, which is brilliant. But this is wonderful too. Pick it up if you get a chance.