Monday 9 May 2011


I’m a walker. Always have been really, and it’s probably one of the (many) reasons I live in a city in which I can do so. Stick me in a car city for too long and I start to get a slightly crazed look in my eye. Over the years friends of mine got used to me waking up two hours early just so I could walk to work, or knew that if time allowed, I would set out on some monstrous journey on the way to dinner. Why? Just because really, I am of the belief that we were given legs to use them. Call me funny like that.

I pride myself on knowing London better than most Londoners, and of course I attribute it to the fact that I have practically walked every inch of the place. When I first moved here it was all I did, rain or shine, I would hit the streets and wander across London with sometimes a map in hand, and sometimes, just a general direction. This of course could be at any hour; one of my most memorable London experiences was walking home one late summer night (I was with a very tall and able man, I figured he could take care of any freaks that came our way) from Westbourne Park to Wandsworth (trust me, it’s pretty far). 

As a tourist – which I was back then (I’ve graduated thank you very much) – it is by far the best way to take in the city, or shall I say feel the city. Cause when you’re walking, you are not only taking in the sights such as Albert Bridge, or where Freddy Mercury lived (who needs the crowned jewels when you can see the real Queen!) but you are essentially getting in the nooks and crannies of the place – the local atmosphere, that odd shop that carries just that item you were looking for, those small streets with hidden treasures. Then again, you can also stumble across something that is just downright amusing – like the two little five year old boys I saw the other day peeing on a wall. Ah, city life, gotta love it.

Just the other night my friend showed me a street I had never been down. No, no one was peeing on a wall thank god. We were in Notting Hill, people don’t pee in public [they leave that to the folks in Ladbroke Grove]. It was small and quaint, with little mews houses and one off stores, you know those stores that you just don’t see anymore - a milliner, a shoemaker, a small general store. Even the weeping willow trees looked like they were transplanted there from some far off land. Then again, it is Notting Hill, I wouldn't be surprised if they import their own trees.

The other thing about walking is it is quite a meditative activity… I work out a ton of stuff on my walks. I used to ‘write’ on my walks as I find that forward movement can help with ideas (my tip for the day for fellow writers). I can’t tell you how many times I’d leave the house and my partner would give me that look and say, ‘don’t walk too much,’ as I have a tendency to overdue it sometimes. [My partner hates to walk. He claims his legs are too heavy and his mother made him walk a lot when he was a child. I love the man for the gems like this]. 

Nowadays, my walks have become a bit shorter due to the King’s attention span. He’s yet to fully grasp the joy of exploration from the seat of the pram. I don’t blame him really as now that he can almost stand, he figures why sit when he can walk. I suppose the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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