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Rediscovering the familiar

November 3, 2009

200911040845.jpg I had a mass of meetings today that involved threading and rethreading through the back streets of London. From UCL to Whitehall, and onto Central Hall. Then to Soho Square to the LSE and back to Trafalgar Square. I did it all by bus and Shanks’ pony which meant I got to see the city. It reminded me of how the familiar can become ordinary and impoverished as a result. It was raining off and on so I bought another umbrella to contribute to Great Western’s lost property division at some stage in the regrettably near future and took my time, seeking shelter as I went. The second time I went through seven dials with its street market stalls and small, constantly interesting shops I started to pay attention.

The architecture of London is far more interesting than that of Paris, which is mono-cultural aside from the delights of the Latin Quarter and Montmartre with its ever so tantalizing approach from Garde de Nord. But in London who get this wonderfully messy coherence of different architectural styles, connected by small alley ways with second hand books shops. You go from the mediaeval to the modern within 50 yards and then discover the wonders of the Baroque around the next corner. The cafe’s while mixed produce gems, and every cuisine from the world is available.

Tomorrow to Coventry and the Cathedral, this time I will pay attention not simply rush between meetings.

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