On a visit to London recently with Anne, I bought some books after browsing in the Tate Modern shop in the basement. A shop that often reveals some tempting books, including this time most of the shelves on London just inside the shop to the left windows.
Over the years I have visited London with my family when I grew up in the Medway Towns (pre teens 1966 – 1974). Visit favourites included Royal Festival Hall for Ernest Read concerts series, the Nutcracker ballet; Selfridges and Hamleys; London Zoo and memories of Pipaluk the polar bear cub, camel rides and the penguin enclosure. As a teen I came up to the Royal Albert Hall for The Proms and space in the gods. The museums in S. Kensington. Visits tended to be to one area then a return journey on the tube and then a return journey by train.
Gradually I became a bit more adventurous and would walk from area to area when exploring on my own, finding streets where I got away from the main crowd. Favourites included Camden Market, area around Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden.
These days at last I try to avoid the tube and either walk or travel by bus so that I can admire the areas I pass through. I am more confident about striking off the beaten path and have walked back from meetings depending on a rough sense of direction. A walk with Dan Raven-Ellison looking at play spaces in London between Whitechapel and Islington added to that sense of adventure.
As a geographer – back to that post – do I always think about geography? – I love to see new places, I enjoy the walking even though I have ended many a n unplanned walk at Liverpool Street station with sore feet. Now I have more ideas to follow up on, more areas to take obscure pictures in and places to discover thanks to the two books I have read since that visit that I started with 8 days ago.
The photo story of Joseph Markovitch and his life around Hoxton – an area I know for the Circus school and square with its varied exotic bicycles chained to the railings – cargo bikes and fixies.
An idea that appeals – rediscovering the smaller communities amongst the London sprawl. I have been through some of these areas, even looked through some of these store windows. Now I have a guidebook to discover more areas, possibly even plan a route in advance.
So, yes I have started well, but remember we are in the holidays, the book reading challenge will be more pressured once I return to work. However, maybe fewer tweets or blog posts and more books – it’s not as if we don’t have plenty of them around the house in shelves or in storage in the loft. Time will tell. Maybe if I post about the books I read it will also make me think more about them and not just rush onto the next task / project.