THE BREEZE has picked up by the time I reach the lake in Regents Park, so I draw
the wind riffling the foliage of the weeping willow from Pizza & Pasta by the Lake,
over coffee and a croissant.
I pause to sketch Bactrian camels and prairie dogs as I walk past the zoo.
Barbara says she finds London tiring, probably because whenever she’s here with me
and I always want to walk everywhere, so I’m here on my own today. For me the city
- or at least the rectangle with Kings Cross and Hyde Park at diagonally opposite
corners - is like village because of all the familiar corners and all the memories
it holds for me.
Although the city isn’t built on a grid iron plan like some cities, I find that I
can even navigate with confidence through the maze of little back streets because,
every 10 minutes, I can be sure of popping out on some familiar thoroughfare - such
as Regent’s Street or the Tottenham Court Road, or a park or square (such as Russell
Square behind the British Museum). Soho in particular has a village atmosphere with
its narrow back streets with little bars, cafés, food shops, an art materials shop
(got to have one of those) and even its own village green - Soho Square.