Yes, I have minor beefs with this town but it is still rather wonderful…
1. Walking along the streets from Monopoly
Does anybody else visualise famous London streets in the same colour as their Monopoly card? Whenever I (rarely) walk along Mayfair and Park Lane I can always see the coveted purple cards that either win or bankrupt you. Fleet Street and the Strand are a brilliant red. Angel is blue and Whitechapel a rusty brown colour. It’s not just the Monopoly streets that I find exciting, when I lived just north of Oxford Circus I was mega impressed to find myself walking home along Harley Street, home to lots of celebrity plastic surgeons. Yes, I am easily pleased.
2. Seeing tube mice
Soon after I moved to London I was enthralled to see a tiny, brown tube mouse scuttling along the tube tracks. Every now and again they can be spotted nibbling away at rubbish on the tube line and occasionally startling people on the platform.
Apparently they are blind because they live in the dark tube tunnels. I have also heard that rats as big as small dogs live inside the depths of the tunnels *shudder* but fortunately I have never seen them. My central London flatshare provided more than my fair share of rodent trouble and I would say I hate mice to the point of a phobia. Seeing them on the tube tracks is pretty kewl though and I would say I have a certain fondness for the little blighters. I have often wondered why they don’t get electrocuted running all over the live tracks?
3. Hampstead Heath women’s pond
It’s a lovely, sunny day in London and a girl pal and I decide to go and sunbathe. We head to the park and lie back with our magazines drinking cava and having a relaxing gossip. Within two minutes a group of boys will come along and position themselves in a triangle around us, kicking a football to each other over our heads while pretending they haven’t noticed us. The ball often strays and flies into us and they run over to collect it, flexing their muscles impressively. Many women would find this rather exciting, but sadly their mating rituals are completely wasted on me and I do not enjoy getting persistently hit on the head by a football.
This is one of the many reasons I love the women’s pond at Hampstead Heath. There are three natural bathing pools on the Heath, and the women’s one had a huge, murky brown pond to swim in and two separate sunbathing areas. It is incredibly peaceful and many women come alone with a book. There are lots of lesbians and plenty of them get off with each other towards the back of the sunbathing area near the bushes. Every now and again a peeping tom climbs a tree to perve over all the naked breasts on display. It is usually quite an exciting event as a group of the fiercer lesbians will chase him down the tree and beat him up.
Walk along the streets of London with a green Mohican, wearing a pink tutu and a sparkly feather boa and nobody will bat an eyelid. Freedom of expression is welcomed and embraced wholeheartedly in this town. Whether you are gay, straight, black, brown, white or painted all the different colours of the rainbow, London has seen it all before and really doesn’t care. How marvellous.
5. Cool buildings
I asked my friend, a Londoner, what excited her about living in London. She said,
“Well you are really lucky because as soon as you step out of work you see the Cucumber”
“Oh, you know what I mean. That building that looks like a pickled courgette”
I must admit it is rather thrilling to work in the city’s financial district next door to the Gherkin, a huge phallic symbol of power that reminds me of a bullet-shaped rocket about to launch into the sky.
If I can’t have the natural beauty of a beach or a mountain while working in London, a big sky scraper shaped like a penis is a good second best.