The Reef

Facebook post, September 29th, 2015:

Though I was in London 16 days, I feel as though I barely scratched the surface of it.

That’s in part because of the role I was there to play in Christian’s life, but mostly it’s because you have to live in London as Christian did to begin to grasp the magnitude of it and the way it draws people to itself.

I think Christian found the best metaphor to describe London.

He said that to him, it’s like a choral reef.

The more I thought about that image, the truer I found it to be. Choral reefs take ages to grow and to find an equilibrium. They are vast and varied, offering shelter to multiple living layers that learn to live in balance with each other and even to offer protection to each other.

London is an ancient city built layer upon layer, attracting life from the vast ocean of human populations. Life within it is multicoloured, stratified, fluid and fragile, and circulates through its Tube network.

Its most colourful spots are its gathering places, like Portobello Road, Borough Market, and all of its theatres and pubs.

Thank you Christian for showing me YOUR London. xoxoxoxo

 

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(Images: Coral Reef and Portobello Road, London, UK)

Final week in “Christian’s London” Part 3: PORTOBELLO ROAD !!

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Do you know the lyrics to “Portobello Road” from the movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks?

I remembered the tune straight off, and the first couple of lines, but I had to look the rest up.

They proved to be absolutely true:

Portobello road, Portobello road
Street where the riches of ages are stowed.
Anything and everything a chap can unload
Is sold off the barrow in Portobello road.
                                                You’ll find what you want in the Portobello road …

Christian actually took me to Portobello Road twice: once on a week day, on a kind of reconnaissance mission (and a night out at The Electric Diner that I’ll never forget), and then again on a Saturday afternoon, when it transforms itself into a legendary street bazaar that stretches as far as the eye can see, over the heads of  hundreds and hundreds of happy, jabbering visitors, shoppers and gawkers.

September 27th Facebook post:

Christian took me once again to Portobello Road,  a place that is the best of London in its energy, its openness, it’s eccentricity, and most especially in the way that Londoners and visitors from around the world intermingle there with ferocious energy and spirit.

We shopped with success! We tried to take in every sight and sound and smell (as well as a few tastes). We felt part of something great!

*****

 

In fact, Christian steered me through the roiling multicolored human river as though from the prow of a ship. I don’t remember ever feeling as delighted and safe in a crowd.

It was the best of times.