Last week was the week of my birthday.   No-one would choose, certainly not in the UK, to have their birthday celebration in winter (though I rejoice in being a Sagittarian).   I have spent my birthday in places as far apart as Sydney, Australia and Dumfries, Scotland (that was an accident), with Stockholm and Hamburg thrown in for good measure.   This year I was happy to spend it in London where Elisabeth and Robert had kindly lent us their lovely flat.

Perhaps because it’s the UK’s own capital city, I’ve never really rated London as one of the beautiful cities of the world.   In the UK, I’d rank the lovely cities as Edinburgh, Bath and York, in that order.    There are cities also which possess vitality and charm – Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle.   But London – well, it was just there.

But this time, driving from Rory’s in the South to Elisabeth’s in the North, right through the city centre at just that time of day when the setting sun illuminates the buildings in a golden light, I was struck by the iconic and lovely scenes that just unfold before you, one after the other.   Pugin’s parliamentary building, shining by the dark river, with Big Ben, so symbolic of the city’s pulsing heart, were quite catch-your-breath  beautiful seen from the nothing-more-fair Westminster Bridge.   Then on to the lovely Trafalgar Square,  vast open space, water from the fountains sparkling in the dying light, the great shadowy lions on guard, Nelson on his high column with the backdrop of splendid museum buildings and the graceful James Gibbs church of St Martins in the Field.

We had discussed our journeys across the city.   I was unwilling for John to have the stress of driving to the city centre, but was decidedly nervous of descending into the dark crowded bowels of London’s underground where my lifelong mild claustrophobia and dislike of crowds combine with my present illness to make me liable to panic  and freeze.   We decided to take the wheelchair with us to give me confidence, and attempt the buses.

The No 13 (would it be lucky?) was the one most suitable.   I actually found the whole business enjoyable.   We never waited more than 5 minutes for a  bus.   The driver, when he noticed us, would generally make a fair attempt to park right beside me.   Passengers, even in a crowd, would become anxious for me if I failed to board the bus (I always walked on) within the first two or three people.    Our Sussex tickets took us everywhere just by showing them.    John would fold the wheelchair and carry it on to the designated place.   People vacated seats for me without any request on our part.

Passengers were also helpful to women with prams and people often fell into conversations both with us and with other people.   We enjoyed the drives through London.

When we got to our destinations, if I did not require the wheelchair at that point, everyone was very helpful about leaving it f or a time in a safe and suitable place.

The bus service in London is effective, helpful and efficient.   London is a lovely city, and its multicultured people are courteous, patient  with those who have difficulties, and kind.

I’m sorry I haven’t previously rated London.   For sixty or so years I’ve visited it and never really seen it.

Top Ten Cities of the World (Annie’s List.)

St Petersburg (for its extreme beauty)

Syndey (for its stunning location)

Rome (for its beauty and its history)

New York (for its stunning iconic style)

Tokyo (for its beauty and its unfamiliarity)

Copenhagen (for its elegance)

Antwerp (for its stylish comfort and charm)

Edinburgh (for its beauty)

Glasgow (for its wit, style and joie de vivre, and because it’s ours)

London (just because.)

It’s never too late to fall in love.


About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

3 Responses to TOO LATE TO FALL IN LOVE?

  1. Kate Kent says:

    Lovely Anne and yes, I agree with you about London having spent a lovely evening and overnight stop recently but you have left out San Francisco which is clearly on a par with Sydney!

  2. adhocannie says:

    I have been to San Francisco and it is certainly photogenic. But there’s no logic to falling in love with a place, any more than with a man. Just as well we all have different taste really. Thanks, Kate.

  3. adhocannie says:

    Kate’s comment doesn’t seem to have come through to the blog page (above) but she said she agreed about London, but I had forgotten San Francisco which must surely rank with Sydney.

    My brother also remarked to me he was surprised I hadn’t rated Paris, but again, though Paris is undoubtedly beautiful, it’s a personal rating. I’ve never cared for Paris. Unless things have changed drastically the Parisians are the rudest people in the world and certainly in my experience could never be described as kind. And Jacques Chirac said our food was disgusting… mind you he lost the Olympics.

    You are influenced by your experiences with the people. A city is an entity. It’s not just the buildings and the geographical location. Zurich is very Swiss and pretty, (says she damning with faint praise…) but it’s never going to feature on any favourite list of mine!

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