had a package that needed to be delivered today. I was supposed to drop
it off just off Leicester Square yesterday, but obviously that wasn't
possible. So at 4.30 today I put a harness on Rocky, my cat, and put
him in the pet sling I use to carry him around with me and off I went.
walked about 5 minutes to Stockwell station and got on the Victoria
Line. It was running fine. I was going to Leicester Square which is
actually on the Northern Line, but there were delays today and, to be
honest, at the best of times I hate travelling on the Northern Line
because it smells, so I decided to get out at Oxford Circus and walk...
train wasn't massively busy, but then it was 4.30, the tube is never
really that busy at that time, but it did seem slightly more empty than
usual. But, of course, Rocky soon became the centre of attention.
Whenever he travels with me everyone starts talking to one another -
about him, to me, to each other.
I got out at Oxford Circus
station and walked through Soho. I wandered down Carnaby Street. People
were shopping in the trendy clothing shops and there were loads of
people sitting at pavement cafes, families with young kids, friends
laughing together, just a normal day.
I headed to Berwick Street
market which is the one place you need to visit, if you ever come to
London and only have 10 minutes, but want to see "all of London"- East
End barrow boys selling 'Strawberries! Two punnets a paaahrnd!',
Chinese women shopping for vegetables, young hipsters eating Japanese
food, North African Muslim women wearing Hajib walking along together
laughing uproariously, punks drinking beer, old people buying fish,
strippers on their way to or from work, Meeja Types going to buy some
coffee, club kids going to listen to the latest white labels at the
record store, Gay boyz on their way to Old Comptom Street, mums pushing
their toddlers in pushchairs, black people, white people, Asian people,
gay, straight, young, old, rich, poor... all on one block.
took a little jaunt down Old Compton Street - the gay village- then
through Chinatown... again it all seemed completely normal. People in
shops, restaurants and cafes, sitting with others laughing and
smiling... I never overheard one conversation about yesterday at all...
dropped off my package and then decided to let Rocky chase the pigeons
in Leicester Square. I stayed there for about 20 minutes, again because
of Rocky, talking to loads of different people, all tourists, everyone
was smiling, happy, friendly.
I then walked down through
Trafalgar Square. People were getting their pictures taken in front of
the fountains, sitting on the Lions... not, thankfully, feeding the
I wandered down Whitehall towards Parliament. I *did*
notice a few more police than usual, but maybe that's because they were
wearing florescent yellow jackets and just stood out more than usual. I
walked past Big Ben (which always makes me smile when I see it) and
then got on a bus home... crossed the Thames, saw the London Eye, MI5
and Battersea Power Station...
I got back to Stockwell, walked
down the road, saw several Muslim men standing outside the Mosque
talking and went to the Chinese take-away (you know the one, onionbagblogger
:) for fish and chips. As I waited for my order to be made, I watched
as an Indian family walked up and went into the Portguese restaurant
next door for dinner. A young black mum and her two daughters came in
to the chippy and ordered some chips. A few young boys, black, white
and Asian came in and ordered chips and Cokes. A pasty white and fat
couple from the housing estate came in for cod, chips, mushy peas
twice. The black delivery guy came back from a delivery to pick up his
next one... I knew my order was ready when the woman shouted at me in
her thick Chinese accent 'Saut vineguh chip?'
I love this
city. And I say that not in reaction to yesterday, but because it is
the only place I have ever been on this planet were in one day you can
come into direct contact with every kind of person on the planet, every
colour, every religion, every sexual persuasion, every 'alternative
lifestyle'. The whole entire world is represented here.
Living in London makes me feel alive.