Friday, 26 October 2007


Yesterday I took the girls into London to visit the V&A, which claims to hold the world's largest collection of art and design. It was the first visit for all of us and I was, as I often am, overawed by the sheer scale of the building and its contents. We concentrated on fashion, miniatures, a bit of sculpture and 20th century design which, in itself, took us 3 1/2 hours (including a bite to eat in the very stylish cafe).

London holds a very special place in my heart. I lived there for 7 1/2 years in the 80s and it was one of the happiest periods in my life, not without its low points, but my overwhelming memories are of friends and the time we shared together. There was a church, St Leonard's in Streatham, against which I have judged all other churches and found them wanting. And then there is the city itself, of which Boswell once wrote "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."

A number of my old friends have now left London, or moved away from Streatham, and one died suddenly last year. The congregation at St Leonard's is filled with unfamiliar faces and Geoffrey has retired as rector. I have left my job in the City and sold our flat. I don't belong there any more, at least not physically. My visits are increasingly as a tourist or a protester. But as the coach sailed over the Hammersmith flyover yesterday morning there was still a tiny part of me that thrilled at the prospect of coming home.

1 comment:

  1. I've never lived in London (Moira has for a year or so) but still get excited every time I visit. I often used to combine a visit to the Royal Academy or a walk along the South Bank with any business meeting I had there. I still have similar "very special place in my heart" feelings for Oxford and are fortunate enough to have friends living there to allow us to make frequent visits... the next next one is only some ten days away!