On the 15th january it will be 31 years since I first came to live in the uk. After attending a boarding school near oxford, I actually moved to london in 1983. I have had a love affair with london ever since and I doubt it will ever seize…
I consider london my spiritual home as well as my physical abode. It does nourish my need for world class culture, varied and exciting food, endless possibilities for how to live wisely and well and fills me with pride on a daily basis. For me, it’s the best city in the world and it would be nothing without the wonderful people in it.
Yes, we are all having a tough time. Some more than others, but let’s not forget how special the small things in life can be. A touch, a smile from a stranger, a generous gesture, a hug! Sometimes I have to pinch myself when looking up at amazing architecture, when seeing a beautiful painting in one of the ‘free’ museums, when attending a great theatre play or tasting real food at a farmers market. These are things that nourish me and I get plenty of it here in my ‘london town’. I love travelling but am equally excited when having a day out with myself and playing tourist in my own city. I adopted this habit since reading the artist’s way by julia cameron in 1995 which I highly recommend. Actually, it is now celebrating 20 years since it’s first publication in 1992.
Last year it was kate and william’s wedding. I was lucky to attend the amazing wilton street party with my friends Michael and Konni. Oh yes, and another Michael, who didn’t want to play along with the photograph below.
Here is a little story that sums up my sentiment for english folks and how very proud I feel of living in the uk. A few years ago my nephew, who was then 8 years old, came to visit from germany. Meet nathaniel.
As it was june and the weekend of trooping the colour I thought how great it would be for him (a real fan of changing the guards etc as you can see in the photo, taken at the guard’s museum in birdcage walk) to see this spectacular event. We went up to the mall and realised very quickly that it was impossible to obtain entry or see anything from a decent viewpoint. An elderly lady saw me nicely hassling the security guard and came up to me. She asked me what the problem was. No problem, I said, I so wished for my nephew, who lives in germany, to see this.
She walked away, had a few whispering words with her husband, came back and said: here you go my dear, handing me 2 tickets. We come every year and I can see how important this is for you. Enjoy! Oh, by the way, they are VIP tickets and in the first row.
I am welling up as I write this even though so much time has passed. I will never forget my nephews face as we walked to our seats. He felt that sense of anticipation, excitement, joy and pride. I felt the same plus a complete sense of patriotism. And then it started and it took our breath away. The pictures that follow were taken solely by nathaniel with a small digital point and shoot. Thank you to this wonderful, generous and selfless couple. You gave me something no money can buy. You gave me faith in humanity, a sense that there is hope for empathy in our world. You gave me a memory I will never forget. I often think about you and hope you are safe and healthy.