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Life with Lavendar in London town

Sunday, 22 February 2009

London I Love You

I've been in London just over three years now and there are so many sights that I just have not bothered to go see. The Tower of London. Westminster Abbey. The Houses of Parliament. The list goes on. It's never been a thing of mine to go see stuff just because you should. For me it's about seeing what you're interested in. When I go to a new place for the first time, I love to check out the day-to-day spots. The supermarkets. The pharmacies. The cafes. The bookshops. This might make me a cultural cretin but at least I know what the deals on soap in the local hypermarket are that week.

That all changes when you have overseas visitors. When you are being a host, all local nuance is lost in favour of hauling out the big guns. The big, should-see stuff.

I'm lucky at the moment to have some friends staying with us who are making their way around the world. They are truly a delight. They are the best guests we've had to date. Fun, erudite, stimulating, easy going, appreciative, thoughtful and independent. I want them to stay longer but I cannot compete with the languid shores of Thailand which is their next stop.

But I digress. Since they've been here, I have made up for all my past nonchalance. We have gone to the Tower of London. Westminster Abbey. The Imperial War Museum. I have been with them to spots that I know I would never have gone had they not visited. And it's been great for me. For now I am interested and engaged with some of London's should-sees.

Visiting the Tower made me want learn a lot more about English history for I realised I know practically nothing. The beauty of being outside Westminster Abbey as the bells chimed was a wake up call for me to actually go inside one day. The Imperial War Museum blew my mind; their exhibition of the Holocaust has relentlessly dug into my brain for good I think. The same day we walked past Brian Haw holding his lonely, one man vigil outside the Houses of Parliament. At that moment the quote that thudded like a drumbeat in my head throughout the Holocaust exhibition increased by 100 decibels:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [sic] to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

Sometimes change happens in increments; bit by bit so slowly that you do not notice. But over the last few days the changes in me have been big and swooping. Very noticeable and so very right. Getting on the tourist wagon has made me realise just how much I love London and how much more there is to get to know about her. How much I enjoy showing her off to new visitors and that for me to do this well, I need to know her past better as well as her present.

Oh London. The longer I'm here, the deeper our affair becomes.

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