Views in London: playground for imagination
Last week I wrote about the civility of Chelsea pensioners. This week, I’m compelled to mention pensioners in Chelsea outside of the Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC).
Let’s just say that they are quite the opposite of civil. Tuesday as I made my way from the RHC to the King’s Road, I encountered retiree after retiree hogging the sidewalk; some even edged people off onto the road.
So much for the English genteel! Maybe it’s the frigid weather that has them ever so cantankerous. Though the official word is that spring came last week, winter remains unofficially and stubbornly. Strong winds and snow flurries continue to unsettle London while heavy snow and ice plague other cities throughout the country.
No wonder folks are stupefied. Never mind. I am not writing about civility this week. I’m writing about things I can see from my windows. So I guess that means I’m stuck too, albeit in my flat.
In these frigid temperatures, I’m lucky that there’s so much to see from my windows. At my former residence, I could see a winged lady on the building behind me–Miranda, my muse. End of blog.
Here, however, I have a bird’s eye view that makes for a great playground for the imagination.
So imagine if you will, rolling hills that seem to meet an idyllic body of water, though the water is actually the sky in the distance. What a striking panorama. Then envisage endless row houses with jutting chimney stacks. At a stretch, this could be Edinburgh or even Dubrovnik. Suit yourself!
Coming in a bit closer, imagine trains whizzing by and then periodically a cloud of white smoke appearing and out of that smoke comes the Orient Express. Actually, it’s the British Pullman, sister train to the Orient Express. All the same it’s easy to imagine yourself relaxing in one of the 1920s vintage carriages of the svelte train.
Now imagine a day trip to another city in the country or even a jaunt to Venice.
Next, notice the traffic crossing the massive roundabout below. Boring, right? Wrong! From a high vantage point, traffic doesn’t faze you. In fact, it intrigues you. Vehicles seem surreal moving on quietly. It’s like watching a silent film.
And now and again something extraordinary enters the scene such as a horse drawn carriage followed by six limousines.
Imagine gazing on as if you somehow knew the departed and then feeling sympathy and reverence simultaneously. When the moment passes, imagine reflecting on the giant sculpture at the centre of the roundabout. Like most feel about Anish Kapoor’s Orbit, you either like it or loathe it.
Undecided, you look to the faithful Thames where you can imagine boats and barges sailing by and people running and walking nearby despite the frigid weather, but you don’t have to imagine they are there. Thank your lucky stars for the windows. What would you do without them? You’d probably imagine anyhow, but not with such a wide open playground at your disposal.