This town was made for walking
Today was meandering along until I made a list. The list brought structure and purpose when before there was nothing but doubt and fear. Thanks to the power of the list, in the past hour I’ve bought necessary items, done some washing, nervously left some flyers in record shops*, took out the bins, and acquired a phone charger for my new hand-me-down phone from an extravagantly bearded gentleman. I’ve felt like a fully functioning member of society.
Yesterday was the day of the annual post-Christmas Team meal, when a bunch of us meet up to eat food and escape our respective houses. This year we went for dim sum at a place in Baker’s Street, which was pretty good but not in the same league as Shanghai or the place in East London where you can watch the planes landing at City Airport while you munch on your pork buns.
Afterwards we went on a walk. We started off at Angel and headed down to St Pauls, passing through Clerkenwell and Smithfields market on our way. I don’t know what’s going to happen to Smithfields – it’ll probably be ruined by twats like Spitalfield was, or gentrified like Borough Market was. Go and have a look at it while you still can – it’s a timeless place.
From there, we walked past the tourists drawn to Sir Christopher Wren’s big erection like moths to a flame, then over the non-wobbly bridge to Tate Modern. From there we walked along the South Bank past Blackfriars, which is currently being refurbished, crudely cutting the riverside path in two as a result. But my friend Ayse had the cunning plan of walking along the Thames’ ‘beach’, underneath Blackfriars bridge and then clambering back up to the path by the Oxo tower. While we were down there, Ayse found an abandoned romantic novel amongst the Roman artefacts and headless corpses from voodoo ceremonies that get washed up on the shoreline.
Saying farewell to my chums at Hungerford Bridge – they needed to head south, to their girlfriends and mothers – I walked back across the river then up through Covent Garden, which was also full of tourists, who were, in the main, being kicked out of closing shoe shops. Then I headed up along the route of the de-bendified 38 bus, past High Holborn, Mount Pleasant and Sadler’s Wells theatre. On my way I listened to the Old Crow Medicine Show’s bluegrass tales of cocaine and Vietnam. It was A Good Walk.
Later on I suffered from cabin fever and ending up having a few pints at The George in London Bridge with a lovely teacher. We had almost the entire section of the ancient pub to ourselves, except for a table of proper posh kids – all braces, wild hair and fear of the outer reaches of the Northern Line – braying and guffawing it up. Behold our future electoral overlords.
We ended up going to another pub around the corner, which was a time warp from the 1970s. I feel today I might simply have dreamed it.
Eventually I got the bus to Liverpool Street, then took a meandering walk back home, with Shrag for company in my ears. On my way I told a bunch of Italian students where’s good to go out in Leytonstone, and – having popped in to a trendy Hoxton bar for a cheeky wee – witnessed a young lady attempt to attract the attention of her man by lifting up her skirt to reveal her comely ankles. Sorry, I mean – BY PULLING HER TOP UP.
In conclusion: I must do more LondonWalking.
* Does anyone else find flyering terrifying? I am unsure of the etiquette. It feels like reverse theft.