A date with London

Emerging from the chilled, air-conditioned train, I am immediately embraced by the stinky, sticky, thick-with-dust air of London's Victoria Station.

I speed-walk along the platform, threading between the strollers, the saunter-ers and the text-messaging stumblers. But it doesn't work – I'm still not quick enough to beat the bottle-neck at the barriers.

Soon enough though, I am bowling across the bustling, echoing cavern of the concourse, until I am spat out at the front of the building where the bus stops are. Gleaming red double-decker monstrosities, all sleek lines, modern curves and advertising, sit waiting. Shortly, the No. 73 pulls up with a heaving sigh of hydraulics, and I step aboard. The driver nods with unseeing eyes as I wave my travel pass, and head for an empty seat.

We wheeze into the labyrinth of city streets. As I try to fan myself with a train ticket, we trundle past buildings that look like gigantic, soot-stained wedding cakes encircled with neat, black painted iron railings. There are sky-high tangles of scaffolding everywhere. We chug onwards and presently a park hoves into view, resplendent in a chorus of glorious flowers and blooms, overhung by magnificent trees. Beneath them, sandwich eaters, lovers, lone office workers and daydreamers sit about in their shade.

We turn into Oxford Street (I always think of the recorded announcement on the Underground's Central Line – she seems to say, 'This is: Poxford Circus'). I hop off the bus. It pulls away but I soon overtake it again as I become lost among the throngs on the pavements.

Glancing upwards, I take in the magical fairy-tale-like architecture that floats above the visually assaulting ground-level shop fronts. Beautiful, castle-like turrets and gothic spires rise upwards – surely the perfect place for sneaky witches to take a pit-stop when no-one is looking.

But I need to look where I am going. I can't collide with the man in a top hat and mirror aviators, striding along in beaten up Converse sneakers. Or the girl with yards of costume pearls gleaming around her neck and shoulders. Or this girl, with her lavender hair and lashings of heavy black eye-makeup.

I am suckered into a shoe shop – sometimes fabulous red stilettos have to be at least tried.

A short while later, I am curled up in a big leather armchair, cradling a cappuccino and an art book. I gaze out of the window and think to myself, 'Oh London, why did we break up?'

And London says, 'You know I can't commit.'

'Hmm,' I smirk. Maybe some things are forgive-able.


London In June.jpg