Story and Photos by Nancy Kirkpatrick
London calls to me on so many levels. My romantic nature wants to fly Mary-Poppins-umbrella high over the rooftops to collect sweet images of blackened chimney sweeps against an orange-red backdrop of Hollywood drama. I want to get lost in the tangle of make believe clockworks high above the busy-bee railway station marble floors. That place where time forgets itself in hidden passageways populated by gargoyles and carved stone gardens.
Then I’d disappear in pieces through the brick wall of Platform 9 3/4, off to an adventure somewhere in the London only the few are privileged to wander.
Then there is the call of the historical novels I’ve devoured since eighth grade, when I hid cumbersome tomes beneath textbooks that didn’t lend enough color to the world I knew was there…somewhere. London brings those novels to life. The tales of bridges dreamed and marvels built from ideas laid down from the long before. History becomes life for me in London.
There is the Tower that London built of stone, iron, wood and rack. The place where names leap from pages into a warren of rooms and dim hallways. Rooms that held the promise of pain and death. The infamous gate, wet with the green, murky Thames, that surely emblazoned a big black “T” on the forehead of the unfortunate as they passed beneath its unyielding bars. Its storied keepers, now merely ghosts, brought alive by the threads of generations present tense, telling those gruesome stories with their iconic British wit. The Tower fascinates now, as before.
My London loves its Eye. Grandly seen from odd angles and vantage points around the teeming city; framed by traditions built long ago, it claims a giant corner of the London sky. This fascinating, mesmerizing circle of life beckons the curious with every sure footed turn. Calling, tantalizing, hypnotizing, it’s everywhere but only in one place.
The bridges, the boats, the Thames, Big Ben and Parliament. All of it is a city at its best. Discovered by foot, by boat, by taxi or red bus, London unfolds its treasures before your eyes like a dancer’s fan. Undulating to reveal a quiet garden this way; then twisting gracefully that way to showcase a beloved Queen’s palace, protective bobbies standing at the gate. Dipping swiftly now we glimpse old-timey performers in green, yellow, white, with simple instruments nearly vanished from the now.
This is my London. The one I looked for; the one I saw. Write and tell me about your London!
By Nancy Kirkpatrick
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