After being given the chance to choose what I wanted to do for my 13th birthday, I made the rather lavish request to go to That London with my family. I'd definitely been to the big smoke during my younger years, as my parents had tales about me freaking out massively at the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, but my memories are hazy. In the midst of my burgeoning tie-dye phase, I was keen to get to Carnaby Street, which I had heard so much about, and wanted to buy myself a hat - a hat from That London. I remember having a wonderful birthday, staying in a hotel in Victoria, (where they excitingly had a fire alarm in the middle of the
|A very bad photo of David on The March|
for the Alternative protest we went on, 2011.
When my rather sullen French penpal came to stay on a French exchange, organised by my school in 1994, my parents once again made plans to take us to London. Depressingly, she was not impressed by Big Ben, London Bridge or Trafalgar Square, but my Dad did agree to accompany her on the one thing she did want to see - Rock Circus, the, now thankfully closed, tourist trap waxwork museum. We didn't get on much and I'm still grateful to my parents for dragging this frankly disinterested and rude teenage girl to so many lovely places whilst attempting to make her stay interesting and engaging. In return, I did have a wonderful time with her friendly and kind family when I returned to Lyon.
|"The actual Big Ben!"|
|Bradford girls out in the big city -|
we were all a bit giddy!
|Great graffiti on Curtain Street.|
Living as I do now, just 45 minutes away from the centre of the city, I visit remarkably rarely, really. I've recently taken the students from my current
|A picnic in St. James' Park with friends in 2011.|
5 of my favourite places in London:
1. Russell Square Gardens, for its outdoor cafe, beautiful fountains and wonderful lawns. David and I shared a lovely afternoon sunbathing there on one of my first visits to London to see him and my friend Moira and I had afternoon tea there on her last visit to the city.
2. The Chandos, for its air of excitement on a Saturday evening and the good beer! A real find of a pub, not far from Leicester Square, it serves Sam Smith's beer - a treat from the North, at a reasonable price. I arranged David's surprise 30th birthday party here in 2011.
3. The Tate Modern, for its inspiration. Not a shocking or unusual choice, but every time I go there I am inspired or excited by something I see. Most memorably for me was Miroslaw Balka's How It Is, one of the annual installations in the Turbine Hall. Stepping inside this void space was both frightening and exciting and really stayed with me.
4. Highgate Village, for its charm and serendipity. David appeared in a play in Highgate in 2011 and I had some time to kill whilst he prepared for the show that evening. I spent a lovely afternoon reading a book I had just purchased - Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger - which happened to be set in Highgate itself. It was wonderful sitting in a cafe, looking up to see the very landscape being described in the book itself.
5. The Dove, Hammersmith - for its view of the river. Near to Kelmscott House, where William Morris lived in his later years, this gem of a pub has a wonderful dining area that looks out over the river. I spent a memorable sunny afternoon there, again with a book, whilst waiting for one of David's performances to begin. Beautiful and serene and a world away from the hectic city.