Christmas day year was to be an individual affair. I had decided to make the most of a beautifully quiet Londontown.
This picture was taken of Wandsworth Common on Christmas Eve. Usually there are lots of children being walked or pushed around the common. People walking dogs in clusters of yummy mummys. Oh and the endless stream of people out jogging or working out with their personal trainers or even being put through their paces under the guidance of Military Fitness trainers. But today, just a few leaves blowing in the breeze and a couple of lucky seagulls seeking some food.
In the good old days, Sundays in central London were quiet and peaceful. You could walk through town without marauding crowds of shoppers. The pavements were your own and there was a silence in parts of London that is almost impossible to recreate in 2012. There was always something so wonderful about wrapping up warm and stomping through the streets of London on a blustery winter day, turning corners into little nooks of London that you’ve never taken the time to see before. Or on a rainy day, going out in wellies and spending the day jumping on and off pavements into puddles (much to the amusement of the rare passer-by). Now I suspect I’d be run over by the traffic or worse, locked up for splashing a passing car with my puddle-jumping!
So this Christmas Day I decided to attempt to recapture MY London. I wanted to spend some time at my bench in Berkeley Square and reflect on the year that’s been and the year to come. I wanted to discover yet more of London’s secrets. I wanted get lost in my own thoughts for the day whilst being surrounded by the splendour of London.
I headed into town and parked in Berkeley Square. Did I mention before how much I love this place? Truly, my perfect spot. Blissfully quieter than normal with only the odd ‘vroom’ of a taxi or Aston Martin zipping round the Square… but enough to add to the ambiance without disturbing my quiet. I was pleased to note that there were others enjoying the Square. A couple walking through, all dressed up and I suspect off to a grand Christmas luncheon somewhere. Another single gentleman of a certain age, sitting and contemplating. We nodded to one another a while later as he set off on his way.
After an hour or so I ventured in search of a Boris Bike rack. I thought it’d be a great time to attempt a Boris Bike in London. Less chance of killing myself or, indeed, taking out others on pavements, cyclepaths and roadways! It’s been a while since I’ve been on a bike, well more than a while actually.
I really hadn’t accounted for the others that had had a similar idea as I. I had to go to 3 different racks to find one with a bike for rent! You see, unlike the ‘way it was’, Christmas Day in Londontown was actually quite busy. Shops were even open. Not just coffee shops or restaurants but retail shops. I truly cannot put into words how disappointed I was to see them open. Surely there’s no need? Surely everyone has their Christmas shopping complete and tourists wouldn’t mind a quiet London and a day without shops for one day?
However once I was in the saddle (so to speak), and on my way, I could lose the tourists. It was simple, I did what I do best – discover the little streets, the side alleys, the incy little places that in a sensible moment I shouldn’t venture in the dark… however it was daytime and a delight. I spent my journey with my nose in the air looking up at newly discovered buildings, new secrets, new windows, new architecture (all new to me but which had been there for centuries before).
London really is an awesome place when you get away from the tourists and the high street shops. It’s like an always giving gift, if only we took the time to open our eyes and look.
PS My bestest Christmas present was chosen and gifted by my nephew. When I spoke to him this morning and opened the present on the phone, he said it was so he could be with me all the time. I just love that boy x