17 Oct 2014
It’s a little surreal to be back in London. Walking down Finchley Road heading into Oxford Circus, David’s hand runs down my back “It’s your first time back on English soil for five years! How do you feel?”
“It’s too soon to say” I thought.
Surprisingly our Oyster cards still worked, and the first change I noticed is the new metropolitan Line trains. They are a huge improvement on the old ones; clean, spacious, and much quieter.
David wanted to buy a Christening gift before the weekend, so we spent a couple of hours negotiating the crowds around Oxford Street meeting for a coffee in the roof top cafe at John Lewis. It’s a simple cafe, away from the crush on Oxford Street with a view of rooftops and chimney pots. I bought a scarf and David bought an interesting French aftershave.
Instead of rushing around with my head down, I found myself looking up, noticing the architecture, the crowd, the subtle changes: places closed down replaced with new places. And soaking in the familiar energy.
We met again at Bond Street and took the back streets and alleyways to one of our favorites streets: Marylebone Hight Street. With its Victorian architecture, boutique stores and interesting pubs, this is the place we’d live if we could afford it. We love it here.
Dave stopped in on the Fromagerie.
“What did you get?”
“The strongest cheese known to mankind” he snickered proudly showing me the package.
“It’s the stinky cheese I bought in Paris that time with Jim and Ceiney.” I knew exactly which cheese it was. “Ah yes, the one that smells like a personal insult.”
Daunt is one of our favorite bookstores, I went in reluctantly knowing that books will weigh down my suitcase. It’s impossible to leave without finding any number of books for the wish list but I managed to keep it to one book: the UK road atlas for our trip “Up North” next week. We’re thinking Lancashire, Yorkshire, Northumbria and onto Scotland and the highlands. Really looking forward to that!!
Continuing on Marylebone towards Baker Street we noticed two favorite restaurants have been replaced: Langham’s and the vegetarian Eat and Two Veg. Credit crunch scars in a living city. London feels good though, there is that familiar energy in the air, it doesn’t feel like there was a recession.
Walking along Baker Street, we returned to the question of how it feels to be back. It’s a strange feeling: London is so familiar, but we see it through different eyes. It has changed a little and so have we, but it still fits like a favorite old coat.
Every corner seems to evoke a memory of our life here. We were happy here, and filled with the excitement of living in a new place. The possibilities were endless and anything seemed possible. And the trips that are possible living so close to Europe; we feel European in sensibility, and David’s music is European. It’s impossible not to ask ourselves the question: “Could we live here again?”
“Let’s not think about that yet” said David eventually.
That night back at my Aunt’s place we sat in the kitchen eating dinner, drinking Australian Shiraz and catching up. The conversation drifts easily from politics, religion, family history, future plans, and Ann’s imminent trip to St Lucia.