November has come and gone. London plane trees left their fallen offerings all over the sidewalks, never being swept away and turning into rain sodden street stickers which have only just disappeared. There has been less time for kitchen adventures, although more weekend getaways and I have the photos to prove it. I have been sucked into structuring essays about subjects I only thought I knew nothing about.
Last year I started running. However slowly, it is the only form of explicit exercise I attempt. Jogs were a welcome addition to my morning routine and this has been surprisingly easy to keep up once I got going. And as I fell in love with Central Park, so Hyde Park has won me over. Mornings are the best: if the sun is going to come out at all here mornings are the only time it reliably does. I cannot believe I actually get to live by HYDE PARK, which has featured in so many of my favourite novels…. In as much, there are also some surprising joys of living across from a shopping mall but I’m not sure I will elaborate as much.
At the end of October, I bought a Barclay’s bike membership. It seemed like the perfect compromise: cheaper than maintaining a bike, the opportunity to test a popular urban phenomenon, and I wouldn’t have to sacrifice another year of my life without riding. Well, I’m not sold on the idea anymore. Perhaps if I had a smartphone it would be simpler. The bikes are clunky and the parking stations can be inconvenient. The weather is rarely amenable. But all that rigamarole can’t make cycling in London any less of a delight. On my way to visit a friend in Chelsea- incidentally in Daniel Radcliffe’s apartment complex!! but no I didn’t spot him- I was able to forgo the underground, hop on a boris bike, and weave across the park when the trees had just become bare. Such timing cannot be planned. It had not yet rained and the entire broad walk was yellow. Surely some tourist captured the moment, but I was just streaming by and in my minds eye this part of the world was fall.
As I learn London by commute, I continue to think buses are better than the underground. Although where it comes to windows it might be a tie. Double-decker buses have an unsurpassed view upstairs, but curving train windows turn the whole car into a funhouse… The Scottish station director finally noticed that there are indeed 126 stairs and corrected the overhead announcement accordingly. He now includes a special shout-out, “We kindly request that those of you who choose to take the stairs to please keep right and not to run.”