One of the things I am asked by every second (or maybe third) Brit the minute they hear my accent is 'what are you doing over here?' Well, let me refer you to page 46 of Bryson's tome:
"It has more history, finer parks, a livelier and more varied press (nowadays lively in a sinister, phone-tapping kind of way it would seem), better theatres...leafier squares...and more courageous inhabitants than any other large city in the world."
He also talks about the 'incidental civilities'
"cheery red pillar boxes, drivers who actually stop for you on pedestrian crossings ...lovely forgotten churches ...sudden pockets of quiet like Lincoln's Inn and Red Lion Square...black cabs, double-decker buses...polite notices, people who will stop to help you when you fall down or drop your shopping, benches everywhere."
It inspired me to think about some of the things I love about London and as I was gazing out of the window of the number 57 bus tonight, here are the first five that sprang to mind:
- the light - it's soft and beautiful and drapes itself gently over great expanses of countryside within 30mins of London
- the fabulous place names - I am just dying to get on the bus to see what Seething Wells is all about and St Martin In The Field overlooks not a field but Trafalgar Square
- the squirrels - skipping across the railing along my front garden, in the tree overhead, the little ones daring to venture a little way along my front path towards my open door before scurrying away at the behest of the bigger ones
- the sun worship - with the merest hint of sunshine, Londoners appear from every nook and cranny and cram themselves along river banks, in parks and all sorts of public places to bask at lunchtime, after work, on weekends and any available opportunity
- the irony - the Brit's do that dry, dry wit better than anyone else - and really know how to poke gentle fun at themselves (and others) as a result.
There are loads of other things and I could go on (and on and on) but this post was inspired by someone else's vision of the place I call home. So what about you? I'd love hear what you love about London, whether it's your home, your home-away-from-home, a memory captured for holiday posterity or a trigger for the nostalgic yearning of days gone by.
What do you consider worthy of note about this small island?
ps...there are 20 sleeps to go peeps...that's less than 3 weeks for all your Gidday shopping and shipping. Just as well I'm super-prepared with my wishlist at the ready should any of you need a little helping hand. I mean let's face it, who has to have a wedding to partake of one of those Bridal Register thingies?