For having lived in Westminster - how many years now? Over twenty, - one feels even in the midst of the traffic, or waking at night, Clarissa was positive, a particular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable pause; suspense (but that might be her heart, affected, they said, by influenza) before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. Such fools we are, she thought, crossing Victoria Street. For Heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on doorsteps (drink their downfall) do the same; can't be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason: they love life. In people's eyes, in the swing, tramp and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June."
Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway
I loved what Jessica said about London on the Benah blog. Aside from writing a fantastic guide that is forming the basics (alongside Dead Fleurette's tips) for my upcoming trip, she touched on something that has always - to me at least - seemed so true about London. Having experienced it so often and so vividly in literature when I was younger, in everything from Peter Pan to Mrs Dalloway, Vile Bodies to P.G Wodehouse, my first visit to London was like going back to a childhood home or the summer holiday destination of your youth. Everything was familiar and then not familiar, everything seemed exactly as I had imagined - or had it imagined for me - and yet the city was still able to surprise me. I'd like it to continue doing that for as long as possible, and my upcoming trip seems like as good a place as any to start. So if anyone has any tips for London - places to eat, drink and be merry are most important! - especially in and around the covent garden/soho area because that's where I'm staying, please leave a comment or send them to email@example.com. I can't wait to see even more of this city that has always seemed to me like it could be, or become, a real home.