I have always loved London, from the moment I first went there as an adult. I had been there as a child, when I was 7, and we were enroute to Geneva, Switzerland, where my father was on a year’s course in business. We were taken to Harrods and to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards. That’s about it. But when I returned at 18 – this time on a visit from Smith College in Northampton Mass, where I was enrolled as a student in English Literature – I truly fell in love with England.
My parents were living in Holland Park in London at that time so when I had to go home on holidays from school, I flew there.
My parents have lived in London ever since, except for a short stint in Australia. After I finished Smith, I came to London
and worked in advertising and public relations for almost 2 1/2 years in High Holborn.
Part of my job was to work with editors on Fleet Street – when they still worked on Fleet Street. There were many boozy lunches – and an in intriguing look inside an old newsroom. I fell in love with that world a bit, too. But Visa trouble sent me back to Canada. Short of marrying someone so I could stay – there were some offers – I had to leave.
My husband, who is British, and I travel to England about twice a year – and for last two years, I have also done a short work
stint there for a few months for The Globe and Mail. I wrote about the poppies at Tower of London to commemorate the centenary
of World War 1. I volunteered as a ceramic poppy planter – a quite overwhelming job, to be down in moat with others, planting a ceramic flower, each one representing a fallen soldier. There were close to 1 million. Canada, alone, lost approximately 65,000 in that conflict. I wrote about it for The Globe and Mail, and was subsequently invited by the BBC to do a television interview about Canada’s feelings about WW1.
What I love most about London is the creativity, the ideas, the sense of cerebral activity that fall from the sky like rain.
There is always so much going on – in the theatres, art galleries, even the fashion stores are like dreamscapes. I could walk along London streets for hours, thinking about what came before, and who came before, strolling down those same streets. There is always a tension between the past and the present. One of my favourite things is to walk in Kensington Palace Garden and Hyde Park – not far from where members of my family live and also where we tend to rent when we stay for a length of time. The vista across the green, the statues, (Albert Memorial, Peter Pan) and the people.
We once came across a gentlemen seated on a park bench in the early morning light with his obedient dog seated in front of
him, unleaded, waiting for his master to stir. It was such a perfect and serene scene in the heart of this wonderful city.