Walking home through Trafalgar Square

I needed some salty hot chips after work tonight. After indulging I needed to walk home. It was far from a trial.

This evening in London had a blue, cloudless sky. It’s warm. London was sparkling as I wandered through Trafalgar Square.


St Martin in the Fields

Everyone was smiling.


Except for this guy.


The trees are starting to sprout green. I am fascinated by how, every day, the streetscape changes as the trees bloom. It was a gorgeous walk down to the Thames. Big Ben sparkled in the sun this evening.


The Thames was sparkling too.



Arty Shot

It felt like a summer party.

Now sipping my sparkling water, and eating my fruit and yoghurt. The salty hot chips were definitely worth it.






Being Cool and Arty at the Tate Modern

Number 3 on Lonely Planet’s “London’s Top 16”, I thought the Tate Modern might be a good option for my Sunday afternoon. Had a look on Google Maps – 6 minutes walk away! I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be so close to amazing works of art. One of the main reasons I longed to go to Europe when I was younger, was to see amazing art. And here it is – 6 minutes away.

So off I trotted. Started pondering the idea of joining up as a member – being so close and all.

The Tate Modern is famously inside an old power station.


Quite an impressive entrance.


As it turns out membership is only £69 a year. I was in. So I signed up, and headed up to the Members Room for lunch. An awesome chicken and chorizo stew, with a drink – all for under £10. And this was the view.


Not bad (apart from the cranes – man they are everywhere in London – supposedly a sign of an upwordly mobile city… ). This may be my new coffee spot. Perused my membership kit, and decided to start with one of the free tours at 2pm: Structure and Clarity.

Was great! Pete took us around and showed us some truly cool pieces. I really liked this one. Fascinated that metal can be made to look fluid.


Emma Dipper by Anthony Caro

We started with the cubists. This was Pete’s choice.


Clarinet and a Bottle of Rum, Georges Braque

We had a lovely trip, all the way to the minimalists.


Supremist Painting by Kazimir Malevich


Paintings by Elsworth Kelly


Bird in Flight by Elsworth Kelly


Painting by Elsworth Kelly


Fish by Constantin Brancusi

Not everyone’s cup of tea I know, but I love the colours and shapes.

But we didn’t stop at my favourite. I had spotted a Kandinsky – I had to go back and have a look. Kandinsky is as close as I can get to choosing my favourite artist. I really love Picasso too. His pictures are amazing, I can at look them for hours, seeing more each time. But they are so dark, and dismal feeling…


Seated Nude by Pablo Picasso


Bust of a Woman by Pablo Picasso

Kandinksy, or at least the paintings of his that I love, are full of colour.


Swinging by Wassily Kandinsky

Paintings never look the same in a photo – it flattens them, both in colour and perspective. This painting is vibrant, wonderful. I love it.

And it’s only 6 minutes walk from my flat. I shall be paying it a visit quite often, and then retiring for a quiet bevvie in the Members Lounge, overlooking the Thames.




A Walk Along the Thames

So much to do in London – it’s exciting! So much to do – it can be overwhelming. Where to start?

After spending a rainy morning poring over Time Out (I don’t know why Time Out can’t just give you a list of what’s on by date. Really – how hard can it be?) – I was more confused than ever. When the sun came out after lunch (notice I’m getting British already – talking about the weather), I decided to do what is always important to do in a crisis: go and find a book shop and a good coffee.

I wandered down to London Bridge (about 10 mins from home), where I had a vague idea that a book shop might be lurking. Hoorah! Found one, and as fate would have it, right near the door was a copy of Lonely Planet London. Ah – Lonely Planet my old friend, where have I been without you?

Round the corner I wandered into this;


found a nice cafe, and settled down with my Lonely Planet. Just opening it made me excited. After perusing it for a while, I decide that I have a new mission: to see if I can tick off everything listed in the Lonely Planet to do in London. Quite an ask – oh but it will be fun!

With a nice full belly, and the sun now shining in full, a walk along the Thames was in order. This is the view that greeted me as I walked outside:


The modern London. You can guess which one is nick named the Walkie-Talkie, and which one the Gherkin.

From here I crossed the road at London Bridge, went beside Borough Market (to be explored another day), to Southwark Cathedral.


Southwark Cathedral is the oldest cathedral church building in London (wow!). I’m guessing that would be because it is on the south side of the river, and escaped The Great Fire (but don’t quote me on this). Archaeological evidence shows there was Roman pagan worship here well before that. Some believe there was a church here as early as AD 606.

I loved that the courtyard was filled with young people eating food they had bought at the market next door, relaxing with a cigarette (or if they were cool hipsters, an e-cigarette).

I ducked in to check it out. Wow – awesome stuff. I didn’t have any cash on me for the photo permit, so no photos to show you here. I saw Chaucer’s window, dedicated to pilgrims aka Canterbury Tales. William Shakespeare’s brother is buried there as well. There is a lot of wood inside – and it made me wonder if this is what the old St Paul’s might have been like. Oldest wooden effigy of a knight – unknown identity. Was quite moving and beautiful. Truly beautiful place. Will definitely be heading back to explore some more, and maybe check out a choral performance or two.

I followed my feet, and within a few hundred metres found The Golden Hinde. Evidently Sir Francis Drake completed the second-ever circumnavigation of the world between 1577-80 in this galleon ship.


You can do tours – another thing to add to the list. I couldn’t concentrate on the ship because I was distracted by some cool loud music nearby. I had to go and check it out.

Was great music actually. Playing right beside the ruins of Winchester Palace, one of the largest and most important buildings of medieval London.

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Wandered some more…



And finally came out by Southwark Bridge. IMG_0769

I say finally, but this whole walk (slow wander really) took me about an hour. Every inch of this city has a story to tell. I’m not sure if I crossed anything off my list, or just added to it.

What’s next?


The Adventure Begins

London is huge. It’s like a country unto itself, mini-cities within a city. Every corner has it’s own story. Like a never ending jewellery box to explore. Tiny pieces of beauty, telling a story.

On my first day, Peter Pan leapt out as I rounded a corner, transforming an otherwise ordinary building into a trip to Neverland.


The next day, on Oxford Street, this happened:

You never know what you are going to get. The first couple of weeks I was staying in Pimlico. The walk home from Tottenham Court Road had some nice treasures.

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I’m now in Borough, and can walk home in 40 minutes, across the Thames.


Spring is here, with daffodils, and spring blossoms everywhere.


Last night, I had a drink at the Royal Festival Hall – just a 15 minute walk from home. The sun was out, a beautiful Spring evening, with joy everywhere…

A whole fresh weekend ahead. More treasures to find, and joy to be had. As it said over a pub door, my first night in London: