It is easy to forget that there is more to the journey than getting you from A to B. I love my little journeys within London. In this heaving city, I find that many of my favourite moments are when I find some time to myself and I’m on my way. The walks to work, and home and the bus rides when you’re not in haste.
With the exception of hot and stuffy tube rides, I find London a really nice city to catch a bus in and an even nicer city to walk in.
I like the days when I have French classes. I get the walk and the bus ride.
I love it more in summer when you step out and the sky is still light. It was a hot day today. To step out into some fresh air was pretty special. I listened to Metro Area and walked to Oxford Street for the bus.
When buses are packed and stuffy, I disappear in to my books. Commuting is good because it gives you time to read. When i am not commuting, I take months to finish reading a book. But commuting when it’s busy gives you a chance to disappear into the pages of your books.
I love sitting on the left-hand side of the bus. I always sit upstairs on double-decker buses. The best spot is the front left-hand seat. This is the prime seat for seeing things. The massive windows provide the best views. I love that it’s a completely different perspective for being so high up. Being just a little over the standard rate for petite, I am not used to seeing things from up there. But I like being that high. I have always like looking out, looking down and just thinking, wow.
So really, for 90p, being on a bus and going over one of the many bridges in London is one of the best things this city offers.
One Christmas a couple of years ago, Hayley made these wonderful smellies. Made from old cashmere jumpers, these little monsters have buttons for eyes and have strange stitched smiles, giving them rather entertaining expressions. They are filled with lavender, they feel and smell nice. Once mine sat at the bottom of my pants drawer, but I missed looking at its face. Now it sits on my bedside table and that’s where it’ll stay for a wee while. It is incredibly calming to catch a whiff of lavender as you close your eyes to catch some dreams.
When you walk with a certain type of music in your ears, you can feel your life slowing down. It is the track that is playing and you, walking or sitting and catching sight of the little things around you. When I have Cat Power on, I always think that it is the perfect cushioning to the daily (mundane) activities like walking to work, catching the bus or buying groceries. You can be doing these things and feel completely detached from the situation because it is just you, your thoughts and the soundtrack to everything.
In these moments you spot little things. Like that robin that was perched on the wall facing you for a second and a half before spreading its wings and flying away. Or the space invader graffiti that is on the pavement, half hidden by some overgrown weeds. Or the movement you catch in the corner of your eye and when you turn it’s the old man you see every day walking. He wears a hat and a smile in his eyes. He says “Good morning” to you but you have never known what his voice sounds like because you have your headphones on and can only hear the music.
I admit to being thrilled by new things, but sometimes the most comforting things are the most familiar. This morning I woke up thinking of how much I needed to listen to The Last Song by The Smashing Pumpkins.
They were probably the last band I sang along to. Much of the music I listen to today is electronic and have no lyrics. So apart from a few rare songs that I’ve actually learnt the lyrics to sing along to, singing to music is something I associate with being a teenager.
I took the box set from the shelf and took out the Thirty-Three single and sang while I got dressed for work. It reminded me of being a teenager and how carefree life was in retrospect. There are some very sad songs in this box set and I was reminded of the teenage angst and depression I used to write and talk about. How trivial it all seems now!
I also remembered saving all my allowance to buy this beautifully-designed set and how precious it had been. And now, although I brought it with me when I moved to the UK, it just sits on this shelf, along with my other CDs that hardly get played. And I felt both comforted and saddened by this lost youth.
Sometimes it takes a hot shower and some camomile tea to help soothe a grey and rainy day. I love standing under a hot shower and letting it wash over me. It’s like standing in a storm and I always feel like i am disappearing into a film.
Stepping out of the shower to a cup of hot tea is nice. If you get a calming one like camomile, it is a luxury.
I love Chinese tea. I think that part of the charm of eating dim sum is having endless cups of tea. I have never been a big PG Tips kind of a tea drinker. I have always preferred coffee. Although after discovering how soothing it is to have a cup of slightly sweetened, milky tea for nursing a hangover, I now welcome the idea of having tea and would have maybe a cup every other day.
Brewing tea is an exercise in patience. A good cup of tea is worth the wait. In Istanbul, the teashops were heavy with the fragrance of shisha and the scent of fruit teas. Served in beautiful tea glasses, I remember thinking that life should be about having a sit down and letting what’s around you pleasure your senses.
I found these little delights in Cybercandy in Covent Garden. If you’ve never been to Cybercandy, then you should make it a point to make a trip there. It is where you go to feel like a kid in a candy store because there is something for everyone. Even if you do not have a sweet tooth, you’d struggle to leave without buying something. Tanseid is the brand of these sweets. As you can see from the photo they are very petite indeed. The manufacturers of this peculiar sweet treats are in the same opinion as me: Cakes and most desserts are as visually pleasing as they are to the tastebud. To be honest though, I have not actually tasted these sweets. I bought them because they were miniature cakes. I bought into the idea. I was sold on the concept. Sweets disguised as slices of cake? Love it! So they sit on a platter on my mantelpiece together with my badges, pins and brooches. In another bowl sits the donut marshmallow puzzler that Sarah brought over from New York. Is it a donut? Or is it?
I love the idea of things in disguise. Heidi Kenney is an expert in giving personalities to random objects and food items like used tissues to mushrooms, donuts and tampons!
I am happy thinking about these funny objects, looking through Hello, please! and listening to Ant’ Waltz on repeat.