It’s been just over a month since I last wrote on here, and last month’s post was hardly my sun-shiniest moment. But hey, we’re all human flesh with blood pumping around us: occasionally we get shit thrown our way, and have to wait for life to chortle on ahead of us until we feel like catching up with it again. Anyway. Hello!
I don’t have anything to write of any profanity whatsoever, other than a) I’m finally feeling much better after a hell-hole of a few months; b) my friends surpassed their respective duties by supporting me through aforementioned sitch in a way where I’d happily get every single one of their names tattooed up my thigh; c) Mad Men’s back on Netflix: a selfless gesture that will only enrich the lives of those who stumble upon Matthew Weiner’s seven seasons of seriously stylish sitcom. Ssssssssss.
My boyfriend and I took a day off from trying to be a 20-something in a city last week by, er, being tourists in London for a day and taking in the sights. We set on a welcome early start after a winter of not leaving the house until noon (on our days off, obviously) and falling out of love with the city a bit (although I can only speak for myself). We walked up to Buckingham Palace, which weirdly, I’d previously only ever seen IRL once, when me and my friends were getting an Uber back from a party somewhere North, passing it in the car by night when I was v. drunk. I distinctly remember we’d got the Uber driver to play Beyonce’s Lemonade off my mate’s phone (it had been released a few days prior), so it’s one of those half-remembered memorable moments. Queen Bey! The Queen! Uber! (I’ve not got many Ubers in my lifetime either – I am from Peterborough).
I have to say though, Buck Palais by day wasn’t all that. It took ages to walk up to it and once you’d seen it from the top of The Mall the only benefit of walking closer to it was that it got slightly bigger, but very slowly. As well as there being millions of people loitering around, police cars were dotted every two yards and there was these loud explosion noises that made my arms clench to my sides and encouraged lots of sweating. I’m not normally fussed about large crowds in the city but when Buckingham Palace is testing its cannons for its St. George’s Day Parade it can be a little off-putting. I don’t even know if that’s what was actually going on, but it seemed vaguely comforting at the time to hear that: ah, it’s just some friendly ceremonial cannons being tested for St. George’s Day. Great, Britain.
Then we did some serious mooching where you follow the people in front of you and end up back in Trafalgar Square three times in an hour, before an obligatory stop-off in Tesco Metro for two KitKat Chunkies (verdict: Stick with Peanut Butter if you wanna go limited edish, Cookie Dough doesn’t quite cut it). A few hours later, after a lazy-person’s-lie-down in some park on the Northbank, we went to the Tate Modern and – for the first time – up to the viewing tower. Here’s what I saw from 10-storeys high:
Ah – OK. Yep, I am pretty happy to live here now. Sometimes it’s more-than-necessary to look at your place of residence from way up high – to realise you are not imagining its anxiety-inducing enormity, and to marvel in its vast magnificence instead. Ironically, it wasn’t the panorama that stole our attention for the first 15 minutes, it was the sky-high apartments you could see from one of the balconies where every SINGLE APARTMENT ON EACH FLOOR WAS SO TIDY. I didn’t understand. ‘Do you reckon if you sign a lease for the flat you have to agree to keep the front room really tidy all of the time? Because I don’t think I could sign that contract.’
I’d really recommend the Tate’s viewing tower if you’re in the area and haven’t trotted up there (or used the lift) yet. It’s not too touristy and is actually relatively peaceful. The view from the top made my boyfriend be all: ‘I can’t believe so many people could be bothered to build all of this shit just so people could live here.’ Looking at the majesty of St. Pauls from the balcony (also somewhere I’d never been), I was all: ‘Let’s go there now!’, before realising that we hadn’t seen any art yet, and that’s why we’d come here in the first place! Look at London, distracting me so!
So after some top-end art mooching, we went to the cathedral and weirdly sat through an Evensong service, mostly to rest our legs (although I did scroll Instagram quite furiously throughout. Please spare me – I spent years as a chorister in a cathedral choir and was strictly forbidden to have my phone on me).
Then we headed to our friend’s for risotto and wine and whiskey and beer, and all in all, it was a lovely day. I’ve been thinking about city life and city livin’ for about five months now, meaning to write a piece about it sparked from an idea in a book I read in January. It’s been written and re-written – mostly because one’s relationship with the city is a turbulent and temperamental one – and I don’t want to work on it when I’m either really hating on London or really in love with it. A degree of neutrality is necessary, but this excerpt from Paul Auster’s ‘City of Glass’ about walking through New York City will – definitely – do for now:
Finally: me, and my life right now, if you care:
- I’m using my Filofax every day – which is great for both my stationery habit and my mental health.
- I’m officially freelancing; officially self-employed, just like my dad who cuts hair for a living. Ironically both massive Springsteen fans, both want to be The Boss.
- I’m going to Rome with il ragazzo in two weeks! Will wake up on my 21st birthday in an apartment with a Smeg fridge with loads of Italian pastries and coffee and 20 Camel Yellows by my bedside. Hopefully. (The Smeg fridge thing will definitely be a thing though, as confirmed by the photos on AirBnb).
- (I’m going to Glastonbury, again!)
- Things: Generally looking up.
Until next time,