Archive for the ‘North London’ Tag

Windy day   Leave a comment

At the weekend I walked across North London to Highgate passing through estates of affluence. For some reason I can cope well with places like Richmond to which I mentally attach redeeming features like scruffy dogs and mad old people. But when it comes to North London I can’t seem to find that internal charity.  I also got lost during my  walk, so a large part of my time ‘up north’ was spent wandering around the faux olde worlde houses, muttering names of streets, turning maps upside down and peering down unfamiliar lanes.  This may have added some grist to my mill.

However after various findings and losings of path, I found myself sitting under a tree near a cafe (with some of the most expensive coffee in London) watching a very windy day blowing up a storm in the park. Overhead the metal cafe sign creaked on its hinges. The trees were dancing. No, more than dancing, they were threashing in the wind. Only their deep roots kept them in one place. It was like watching dancers chained to the ground, desperate to move. Or how a wild symphony might look in your imagination. The grass rippled in a frenzy underneath the trees.

Humans were infected too.  Hair was blowing in all directions. There was a wildness in the air that caused children and dogs to skitter around the park with the wind up their backsides. Parents became infected with their children’s skittishness and the fear of their being hit by a falling branch or something from a building, and called them back to safety.

I bravely held onto my paper coffee cup and used it to stop my useless maps from blowing away. It was completely exhilarating. I wanted it all to end in a crash of thunder and a flash of lightning followed by a huge downpour. I felt that only this would do proper justice to such a big introduction.  But like many things in life, it didn’t.  A few drops of threatening rain, a bit more blowing and that was it. But the wind tearing through the trees is still creating beautiful re-runs in my mind.


Capital Ring   Leave a comment

Almost at the 3/4 mark of Capital Ring today. I never realised there were so many hills with wonderful views around this city.  My collection of places to run to for perspective has increased markedly.

I also now realise that I seem to have unconsciously chosen to live in the flattest bit of London.

Today, beautiful meadows full of buttercups at Fryent Country Park and views all the way to the Gherkin from the top of Barn Hill. Also Welsh Harp Reservoir – never even knew it existed!

This is what I like most about this lovely walk around secret London. It is the constant feeling of surprise. It is so typically London. All my pre-conceived notions are shattered.  I was blown away by South-East London and now want to move there.

Today my silly notions about North London are already coming under fire. To me it has always seemed a concrete place, without character. Today I crossed over the A41 leaving Asian London and hit Hendon and realised I was in Jewish London. Once again, never even realised this existed. My favourite picture from today was three young teenage boys kicking a stone down a quiet street. ‘Naw bruv’ said one, ‘you’re not doin’ it right bruv. You’ve got to do it like this bruv.’  They were two Jewish boys with skullcaps and one Muslim boy in a white gown, completely oblivious to the mshamba staring. So London.