In love with London
AS I approach my 55th birthday, I realise that, with the exception of the 1990s, I’ve spent all my working life in London, yet have never established roots in the city I’ve grown to love. Having lived in 15 houses before I was 21, I seem to have inherited the nomadic gene: there are few parts of Zones 1 and 2 that I have not perched in for short, sometimes longer, spells since 1979. Terraced boxes in Clapham, Brixton and Shepherd’s Bush; a cottage in pre-fashionable Notting Hill; a tower block in Battersea; the basement of a Chelsea linen shop; a Mayfair bedsit; a Clerkenwell house with an outside shower; a William and Mary mansion in Stepney; a former potting shed on Hampstead Heath.
However, last Wednesday, I encountered a view I’d never seen before. Strolling late on the heath as the intense heat of the day cooled, I came to the top of Parliament Hill and there below me saw the city, pin-pricked with myriad red lights, suspended between a gleaming white dagger and a low-slung copper orb. A crowd stood gazing in wonder: The Shard, it seemed, had stolen all the Moon’s silver light. What would Keats have made of this futuristic fairyland, I wondered. MM