falling in love with the london of he river

I think I am falling more and more deeply in love with London. As with any major city, I suppose, it can be seen as a microcosm for the entire world, with most of humanity in all it’s diversity represented in one geographical space. But the thing with this microcosm is that it’s not that micro: London is vast, and it takes time to get around it; because of this, the landscape is also quite varied, and I think that is what I really like about London – it just begs you to go exploring.

The area that begs the most is the centre of London – the city of London, down by the river. We were there yesterday, on foot. Dom said he wanted to take us to a cafe he had found. As with all the best trips, I didn’t know where we were going, but when we got there I was amazed. He had taken to an old hydraulic pumping station which hey had turned into a restaurant. It was a truly fascinating place: church- like in size and shape, yet still very recognizable as a factory where some great industry had once taken place. The pumping machines were still there, candles flickering from them. Between these were the white tables and chairs for the customers, as well as televisions showing fashion shows. Thus there was a great juxtaposition of light and dark, old and new, industrial and human in the space; it would make, as Lyn said, a great space to perform in, and indeed she intends to look into the possibility of doing so. As for myself, I would just relish the chance to go back there.

We decided not to eat there, however, and after a coffee walked on along the river. The London of my youth was a London of the car: I think I’ve described on here before how my parents used to drive us down here to spend weekends with my grandparents. I did not usually get to see much of London then, apart from the roads and houses of Harlesden and Kilburn. These days, however, London for me is a London of the river. I get to see Thames quite often; it’s southern banks are easily within walking distance. I see London as a much more watery place these days, with the river a much more prominent geographical feature in my life. We were strolling along it’s north shore yesterday afternoon, when I caught a glimpse of tower bridge, and rarely have I seen a more beautiful site. Aye, I have fallen in love with this city.

We walked for a few minutes, then came to a kind of dock for yachts. It was st. Kathrin’s dock, and we went in. again, I found it fascinating – it was so different to anywhere else in London I knew of. It reminded me of Amsterdam. I could tell, too, that there was a hell of a lot of money about. There were a few nice looking restaurants down there, but we found a pub, The Dickens Inn, and went in.

I think it’s fair to say I have eaten a lot of pizza in my life. Back at university, coming back from late lecturers, it was just something quick and easy I could buy and feed myself. These days, I guess I eat one a week, so,, like life in London itself, pizza has just become normal, run of the mill. Yet the pizza we ate last night was outstanding, and one of the best I’ve ever tasted. Pizza, like London, can vary hugely, and there’s always something new to try; and like London, it still has the ability to excite me, captivate me, take my breath away, even if it sometimes feels humdrum.

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