A Little Piece of Mine

London Eye

London Eye

My heart belongs to Paris but sometimes I lend it to London. Here’s why…Westminister Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament glinting in spring sunshine. Big Ben chiming. Bobbies (almost) mugging for the tourist cameras at No.10. The blue of Tower Bridge. Orla Kiely’s shop in Covent Garden. The Shard. The Gherkin – it’s all in the name. The seminal, and free, British Museum and Director’s Neil Macgregor’s got-to-listen-to “A History of the World in 100 Objects”. Fortnum and Mason at Piccadilly; not for the jams and 50 quid aprons but the The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship exhibition with Deidre Hawken’s hats: the so-real-I-could-eat-you Chocolate Box, the French Radish, the Salad with French Onions. The flashy and cashy Burlington Arcade. Ahh Mayfair. Prince Phillip, of course!. Fish and chips at the Paternoster Pub in the shadow of protesterless Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Lemon sherberts and choc-covered caramels from Mrs Kibble’s Olde Sweet Shoppe. Cornish red chicken roasted with allspice and cardamom at Dock Kitchen, all brick arches, beamed ceilings and Tom Dixon furniture perched on a real canal in Ladbroke Grove. David Hockney’s lurid English landscapes at The Royal Academy. Lucien Freud’s fleshy bodies at The National Portrait Gallery. The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons with its 3000 jars of pickled animal and human parts – diseased organs, quintuplet foetuses, spinal cords, skeletons, even a pox-marked face! Plus, the dinky area of Lincoln Inn’s Fields. The lavish embossed glass in the ink-well sized Red Lion Pub in St James. The Montague on the Gardens Hotel – a proper little gem of an inn with genuinely warm staff (e.g. Mark the doorman from Kent), cups of real tea (thus the excellence award from the UK Tea Council), poached eggs at breaky, dapper Bloomsbury-styled rooms and a porter in safari garb. OK, not so sure about the last bit, but with the “Lion King” on down the road and the British Museum across the street. I’m willing to run with it.

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