Lifestyle Personal

my love affair with london

January 4, 2012

On the 15th january it will be 31 years since I first came to live in the uk. After attending a boarding school near oxford, I actually moved to london in 1983. I have had a love affair with london ever since and I doubt it will ever seize…

I consider london my spiritual home as well as my physical abode. It does nourish my need for world class culture, varied and exciting food, endless possibilities for how to live wisely and well and fills me with pride on a daily basis. For me, it’s the best city in the world and it would be nothing without the wonderful people in it.

Yes, we are all having a tough time. Some more than others, but let’s not forget how special the small things in life can be. A touch, a smile from a stranger, a generous gesture, a hug! Sometimes I have to pinch myself when looking up at amazing architecture, when seeing a beautiful painting in one of the ‘free’ museums, when attending a great theatre play or tasting real food at a farmers market. These are things that nourish me and I get plenty of it here in my ‘london town’. I love travelling but am equally excited when having a day out with myself and playing tourist in my own city. I adopted this habit since reading the artist’s way by julia cameron in 1995 which I highly recommend. Actually, it is now celebrating 20 years since it’s first publication in 1992.

Last year it was kate and william’s wedding. I was lucky to attend the amazing wilton street party with my friends Michael and Konni. Oh yes, and another Michael, who didn’t want to play along with the photograph below.

This year will feature the olympics and the queen’s diamond jubilee. Two major events. No other country does big events better. What about the NYE’s fireworks?

Here is a little story that sums up my sentiment for english folks and how very proud I feel of living in the uk. A few years ago my nephew, who was then 8 years old, came to visit from germany. Meet nathaniel.

As it was june and the weekend of trooping the colour I thought how great it would be for him (a real fan of changing the guards etc as you can see in the photo, taken at the guard’s museum in birdcage walk) to see this spectacular event. We went up to the mall and realised very quickly that it was impossible to obtain entry or see anything from a decent viewpoint. An elderly lady saw me nicely hassling the security guard and came up to me. She asked me what the problem was. No problem, I said, I so wished for my nephew, who lives in germany, to see this.

She walked away, had a few whispering words with her husband, came back and said: here you go my dear, handing me 2 tickets. We come every year and I can see how important this is for you. Enjoy! Oh, by the way, they are VIP tickets and in the first row.

I am welling up as I write this even though so much time has passed. I will never forget my nephews face as we walked to our seats. He felt that sense of anticipation, excitement, joy and pride. I felt the same plus a complete sense of patriotism. And then it started and it took our breath away. The pictures that follow were taken solely by nathaniel with a small digital point and shoot. Thank you to this wonderful, generous and selfless couple. You gave me something no money can buy. You gave me faith in humanity, a sense that there is hope for empathy in our world. You gave me a memory I will never forget. I often think about you and hope you are safe and healthy.

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  • Reply Sophie January 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    This was lovely to read Tina. I love being a tourist in my own town – in my case Oxford. There are still so many hidden treasures to be discovered.
    It is so heart-warming to read your story about the couple gifting you those tickets – good to see there is still some generosity to be found in hard times.
    Sophie x

    • Reply tina January 4, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      Thanks Sophie, i also love Oxford. I have a real soft spot for it, probably because I spent three years in boarding school just outside of it.

  • Reply Ann January 5, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Oh, my! I just balled my eyes out! What a very special experience! I think eventually we all get what we give and it sounds like you have a kind and generous spirit that was recognizable that day! Happy new year!

    • Reply tina January 5, 2012 at 1:45 am

      Ann, thank you so much. I am extremely generous but do get back 100 fold. I believe in living with abundance… I will never forget that very generous lady!

  • Reply Toni January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I am Danish Londoner and absolutely adore this beautiful city – its people, culture and life!
    What a beautiful post you have created! Thank you

  • Reply Mary Middleton Design January 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

    oh my goodness that’s amazing. Can’t believe it.
    So funny growing up in London I took it for granted, but now I don’t live tere I realise how special it is x

    • Reply tina January 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

      @Toni, I am very european in my blood and crave to travel within europe constantly. Once I get that fix, coming home to ‘london’ is always special….

      @Mary, I so get that. We all take things for granted when it is part of our daily lives. You live in Brighton. Another beautiful spot. Would love to explore more. Don’t get down there often enough… because when I get to travel I am nearly always off to europe:) that will change!

  • Reply Chi @ Carousel January 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I spent three wonderful years living in London as a student and I, like you, fell head over heels in love with it. I miss having easy access to all the delights you so eloquently describe!

    P.S. Your nephew looks so handsome and proud in his uniform! I’m so glad that he was able to have the experience of a lifetime, thanks to that sweet couple.

    • Reply tina January 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks, Chi. It was an experience of a lifetime… I am so very greatfull to that couple. All I did, at the time, was embrace her (in tears).

  • Reply annie January 8, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Wow Tina what a great post! I don’t know where to start!
    How handsome is your nephew? And I didn’t know you went to boarding school in Oxford, how very glamorous.
    I’m interested in what you’ve said about Julia Cameron – someone gave me this book recently and I started reading but put it down as the commitment to get up and write your outpourings every morning seemed too much of a commitment and I thought it would get in the way of everything else. Is it really that good? Perhaps I should have another go.
    What an amazing story about that lady and I bet it gave her such a huge amount of pleasure to do that. And those photos are unbelievable. I’ve never seen it and I think now I’m going to have to make sure I do. It just looks extraordinary .
    Thank you for such an inspiring post and have a great Sunday.

    • Reply tina January 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Annie, I do like calling you Annie, is that alright with you? Thank you for your comments! You know, only do what feels right to you at a given time. Yes, ‘The Artist’s Way’ is very good but now that you have it on your shelves just leave it there until a time when you feel inspired to pick it up again.
      Do try and get some tickets to Trooping the Colour. I think it operates on a ballot system. Not quite sure. However, my advise is to go prepared, not like I did!! It is truly magical:)

  • Reply Heather @ Canal Notes January 11, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    What a fantastic post! Thanks for sharing! Even after 10 years, I still get a thrill out of those special London moments. And so nice to hear of your encounter with the couple who gave the tickets to you and your nephew – such a special experience for him too!

    • Reply tina January 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Thanks Heather! I know how you feel about London:) Hope to see you soon!

  • Reply Tina B. May 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Hi from a fellow lover of London. Fantastic story and pictures by the way! I live in Northampton so it’s pretty easy for me to just hop on a train to see the best city in the world. My family think I’m crazy when all I can talk about is London (I’m actually IN LOVE with the place). There is just something so special about it. I’m actually sending this while sitting on a bench in Regent’s Park after shopping in Camden market. It was so nice to read about that couple giving you and your nephew the tickets. It looks as though you both had an amazing time. It’s also nice to know that there is another like-minded soul in the world who loves London as much as I do. I’ve been visiting London for almost 22 years now and my love for it is still as strong now as the fist time I saw and fell in love with everything about it. X

    • Reply tina May 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Hi, you really Tina B…. so am I!

      Your message just put a smile on my face. What a gorgeous comment, while you’re sitting in Regents Park on this sunny Saturday.
      Thank you for your lovely comments. I am indeed after so many years completely in love with this city. On a sunny day like this very few places can beat it.

      You hold to your passion for life and London and there are many like-minded souls out there. I call them my Tribe. x

  • Reply Tina B. May 4, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Hi Tina B! Wow, that reply was FAST! I’m just leaving Regent’s Park now and you’re absolutely right; the weather is doing the decent thing for a change 🙂

    Love the idea of being part of a ‘tribe’.

    Health and happiness to you and may you make many more happy memories of this place. x

  • Reply trooping the colour - colonel's review » colourliving colourliving June 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    […] acceptance, the excitement started to kick in. This was my second visit (read about my first one here) and on both occasions tickets were gifted to me at the last […]

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