Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dirty Pretty Things

Happened to find myself at Marylebone station this morning at 8am and while there was the option of joining the throng down the hole in the ground to the Bakerloo line I saw that it was shaping up to be a fine morning and thought, bugger it, I'll walk to Waterloo.

Passed Madame Tussauds and toyed with the idea of returning on my day off to spend 15 quid to sit in the Big Brother chair but that thought soon departed as I turned into Marylebone High Street. Down the road (not taking notes, no sir, at any other bookshops, at all) the street was yet to open for business and a pleasant ambulatory feel started to take root.

Through James Street as the waiters were putting the tables out for the day and the place where I always forget at which restaurant I had a particularly good spaghetti and clams, I had a sudden urge to look at shiny baubles on Bond Street. And what baubles they are! While normally a person morally, politically, philosophically and economically outraged by anyone spending fifteen hundred pounds on a handbag I had to admit that the wares on display in the Bulgari window did look really, really, really nice. Such materials and craft, I almost found myself submitting to their siren call...

But no! But then! In a maritime antique shop on Jermyn Street there was a nineteenth century Elm and Oak model of a spiral staircase. A thing of supreme beauty and not priced - surprise surprise (If you gotta ask the price, you're in the wrong place) but, I wanted it. I just bloody wanted it.

Ignoring my sudden urge to an acquisative nature I ventured down St James's Street, past St James's Palace and into St James's park where the daffs were out in full bloom. Then a walk along the lake (pond?) looking at Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Eye over the treetops and trying not to step on the birds. Through the arch at Horseguards Parade, trying not to get my eye taken out by the sabre-rattling sentry, across Whitehall and down to the river, trying not to get run over.

Across Westminster bridge and back to the shop my stroll took a leisurely one whole hour and anytime you hear London mentioned as just a dirty, big, grimy, rat-hole excuse for a city is just bloody wrong wrong wrong. It's beautiful. Really it is, very beautiful.

And if I had the money I would live in Mayfair in an absolute instant. And if you're tempted by the tube leave the house earlier and just walk. There are too many sometimes dirty but mostly pretty things to look at besides other peoples armpits.

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