Wednesday 25 February 2009

Things I will miss about London

Let's start with something obvious. Red phone boxes.

Any cuisine, any time (pictured: North African)

Daffodils on the street

Tate Modern (and Tate Britain)

Blue plaques

Days like this.
Moss on my neighbour's brick wall.
The mosaics at Tottenham Court Road.

How my street becomes an explosion of colour in May.

Tube shenanigans.

The way English people lie down in the sun anywhere, any time, any place.


Back streets (of the non-boy band variety).

Front streets
Excellent music.

Random snow storms.

Feeling like an expert on the tube routes (relative to tourists, anyway).

Carpets of blooms (and Kew Gardens).

This earnest drag queen and his mates at Central Station.

The Intrepid Fox

Gunnersbury Park (and all the other parks).


The one thing I can't really photograph is what I love the most about London. That there is always something new and amazing to discover and to find it, often all you have to do is walk around a corner. Thanks for everything London. And thanks for reading, everyone.

Lauren in London (till Saturday)

Things I will not miss about London

Living in a house full of someone else's old furniture and where everything else is still on boxes...

...and with this couch and curtain combo.

The depressing point where Holland Park becomes Shepherd's Bush.

Staring at other people's feet while sitting out the sometimes interminable tube trip home.

Being so bored on the interminable tube trip home that you can't help reading the tube advertising.

(Of course) the endless stream of days like this.

My job.

The lack of flat whites.

Before you become completely alienated, I'm planning to follow this up very shortly with a post on some of the many things I will miss about London.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Primrose Hill and Camden

Today I bid farewell to my place of employment for the last 20 months. I am fluctuating between not really believing it, and getting carried away over every little event ("this is the last time I'll use this photocopier/drink from this coffee machine/sneak into my office 15 minutes late"). We're T-minus 9 days and counting from leaving London (although we're back for a little while in March before our ultimate departure from Europe).

People keep asking me if I've got a list of places to go before we leave, and I struggle for something to say. I think we did an OK job of getting out and about, and seeing new places as well as making ourselves at home in some other ones. I do feel sad about leaving all this potential for new (and old) excitement behind for the familiarity of Brisbane. But also I am looking forward to being part of the place again. I'm not sure why - maybe a combination of shyness and lack of awareness - but a lot of my memories of discovering London involve me creeping along the sidelines, staying out of people's line of vision, and snatching quick photographs before anyone notices. Very much like an outsider. I'm not unhappy about this - it's just the way it is (and the way I am). But I am looking forward in some ways to being somewhere where I know the bars, and the buses, and whether or not its appropriate to smile at a stranger without having to investigate and analyse before acting.

Having said all that, a couple of weeks ago I realised I hadn't yet made it to Primrose Hill, and for some reason this seemed worth rectifying, so we spent a Saturday walking through Regent's Park, up Primrose Hill, over to Camden and then back down into the city for a drink at the Intrepid Fox.

The boating lake at Regent's Park and a photographically opportunistic seagull.

Regent's Park on a fairly typical late January morning - chilly and bare, but still full of life.

London from Primrose Hill

After our momentous trek up Primrose Hill. It took a good three minutes.

This is nearby Chalcot Square, where Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes lived.

In fact maybe all this candy-coloured Primrose Hill sweetness was to blame for Sylvia's troubles in the first place.Stray wine glass on a Primrose Hill wall. I like to think this is the last remnant of an ridiculously extravagant soiree the evening before, just casually set down before the user jumped into the back seat of his town car and made off for Mahiki with his polo mates.

Getting closer to Camden, where even the real estate agencies have pop culture credibility.

Camden Markets

I also got to see inside the quite amazing Royal Automobile Club this week, but sadly I was intimidated by all the poshness into keeping my camera shut away in my handbag. So I can't show you pictures of the amazing gilded ceilings, the Turkish baths, the pristine indoor pool or the very smart navy blue 1952 Jaguar I saw. Take my word for it, it was worth seeing. I have been hatching plans to impersonate the kind member who took me there so I can sneak Ted in as well.