- I love St Paul's Cathedral, The Tower, The Eye, Westminster Abbey, Camden Town market, the Imperial War Museum, Trafalgar Square, Madame Tussaud's, Hampton Court Palace, Hyde Park, St Bartholomew-the-Greater, the Golden Hinde, the Globe, Somerset House, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, Leicester Square, the Tate, the Tate Modern, St Bride's, Soho, Harrods, Harvey Nicks, the London Dungeon, the V&A, Borough Market, the Houses of Parliament, the Portobello Road market, Southwark Cathedral, Oxford Street, Lavender Hill, want more? I've got more....plenty more....don’t even get me started on pubs.
2. I love the fact that you have to hail buses. You might think that standing at a bus STOP would be enough of an indicator that the bus should perhaps do something other than keep right on going, but you would be wrong about that. No, you actually have to wave them down to make them stop. The first time I did it I felt like an absolute idiot, but I have since seen the error of my ways and realized that this is a stellar opportunity for me to strike a pose. I now hail my bus with all the flair and élan of Audrey Hepburn hailing taxicabs in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - admittedly, I'm not dressed in Givenchy and I'm not a European aristocrat, but I do my best.
- Speaking of European aristocrats, I recently applied for a job working for Prince Charles. Okay, not actually for Prince Charles himself, but for someone who works for someone who works for someone who works for him. I didn't get it, of course, but I love the fact that these opportunities exist here.
- I love the situations I find myself in. I was in a Japanese restaurant in Soho last weekend where they sit several groups at one large table and this is what was going on around me: a couple of Asian students with approximately 600 books on astrophysics, a middle-aged French couple who ate their body weight in sushi and never spoke except for grunting with pleasure and ordering more food, and my personal favourites: an earnest lesbian vegan couple sitting beside me (sample of conversation: "If you left me, I'd have nothing but my dog." Hee!). As we left the restaurant, we were almost run over by a huge group of Hare Krishnas in robes and woolly hats (well, it was cold out), out for a night on the town with their bells and gongs. Interesting.
- I love the people you meet. Due to circumstances which would take too long to explain, I was at a big charity party last night. I had just gone to get my 470th glass of champagne when I suddenly realized that I was standing next to Elle Macpherson. (Yes, someone who grew up next to a swamp in the deep dark wilderness of rural Ontario is now hanging out with international supermodels – that's right, check out the coolness of me.)
Q - Is she really that tall?
A - Yes. I looked waaaaay up at her from my pathetic 5'8" (cursing my the genes inherited from my tiny mother) and she's about 6' tall. Hate her.
Q - Is she really that gorgeous?
A – Annoyingly, yes. I comfort myself with the fact that she's obviously a member of an alien species trying to conquer Earth and not actually a woman at all. Hate her.
Q - Does she deserve her nickname of "The Body"?
A - Yes. Really hate her.
Q - Is she sweet and charming and gracious?
A - Yes. Hate her, hate her, hate her.
Q - Is it incredibly vexing to discover this?
A - YES!!! TOTALLY HATE HER.
So there you are: "10 Things I Love About London". I leave you with a final image: as I was leaving the Tate Modern a few weeks ago, the setting sun turned the sky behind St Paul's into a wash of gold and lavender, the river smelled like a fresh spring day, people were smiling and happy and I was suddenly exhilarated beyond my powers of description to tell you about it. I was broke, I was unemployed and I was more celibate than the Pope, but all I wanted to do was sing and dance my way along the South Bank. If I had been wearing a hat, I probably would have twirled around and thrown it up into the air (even though you can only really get away with that sort of thing when you're Mary Tyler Moore and it’s the 60s and you have your own TV series). That particular moment has passed, but they do happen pretty often. Frightening, isn't it? Hey, if the thought of the ol' kid acting like a frisky kitten hopped up on speed is disconcerting to you, imagine how alarming it is for me.