Wednesday 2 May 2012

Urban Diary

There it is again. The invisible hand leading me down this road, so often trod, and yet, still so unknown to me. The heavy traffic resembles an urban forest in motion, racing past me with the tall double deckers looming large like ancient oak trees. This time the hand invites me to walk slower in order to soak up my surroundings better; they're still bathed in the fast-vanishing sunlight. The sky is quickly losing its metallic blue and a cool shiver reminds me that, although spring has arrived, winter's not totally gone yet.

Euston Road, part of the New Road since days of yore, is the last frontier before crossing into north London. I negotiate my way deflty through the thick, early Saturday evening traffic with fellow pedestrians. Together, we all follow the same route travelled by sheep and cattle traders in the 1700s on their way to Smithfield Market. Bearing in mind that some bus drivers don't seem to have learnt how to use the clutch and brake correctly yet, you could be forgiven for thinking that we're still living in the eighteenth century. As cows.

Trees grow on both sides of the three-lane road looking more like a green excuse amidst the sea of concrete office developments around them than natural pieces of this urban jigsaw puzzle. The invisible hand leads me down Duke's Road (off Euston Road) and on to Flaxman Terrace to one of London's temples of dance: The Place, where I'm scheduled to teach a six-week Afro-Cuban dance workshop. Nearby is the Cathedral of Words: The British Library. One has students pirouetting in front of mirrors; the other metaphores and similes dancing off the written pages. In between them both runs Euston Road, on whose surface sheep and cattle traders once walked on their way to the market.

© 2012

Photo taken by the blog author.

Next Post: “Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music”, to be published on 7th May at 10am (GMT)


  1. Delightful!

  2. That certainly pressed the nostalgia button for me -I used to live in North London and often found myself making similar journeys on foot around there - often to Camden Town Hall, as I worked for the council.

    I like the idea of the city as a form of nature created by human animals. It often occurred to me when I lived in London. My friends then and I were into hill walking, and often planned elaborate walks through the city, though we rarely got round to doing them.

  3. your photo brings back many sweet memories. i really enjoyed your post, i always find myself making similar trips on foot around london. it's been almost a year since i last visited london.

    i thoroughly enjoyed your so well-written post!!

  4. You seem to have sized it all up pretty niftily - the bus drivers particularly. I consider my self an ex-pat now, so far as London is concerned, so always pleased to have old memories revived. Thanks.

  5. Thank you for taking us along and good luck with your class.

    All the best from Boston

  6. I could almost feel myself walk down the street as I read through your words. And even in the scorching heat wave in my city, I can imagine May in London!

  7. I had never been to London so I'm glad for the tour. And I can't get over that you ARE a dance teacher.

  8. Many thanks for your kind comments.

    I wrote this post back in late March as soon as spring started. The course I taught took place between March and April. It's funny that we're having a similar temperature to that described in my post. Lots of rain in the last couple of weeks and a cool breeze today.

    And I'm working on a special project now as a dance teacher. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  9. I can tel you love your adoptive home, Cuban!

    Your piece makes me wish I could take a vacation right now and explore the quiet lanes of rural England -- I fell in love with it via many books over the years, but haven't had a chance to experience any of it firsthand as yet....



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