One of the reasons I love to travel is because everything I see in those moments is completely new to me. I pay attention to every little detail, trying to absorb all of it, trying not to miss anything. A simple walk through a city I’ve never explored before becomes an exciting adventure.
In London, I walk a lot as well, some 40 minutes to work every day and the same amount home. The daily grind. Passing through the same place day after day after day – usually in a rush and caught up in thoughts of what I need to accomplish that day – I barely notice my surroundings most of the time (unless it’s annoyance over being caught behind a group of slow walkers who spread across the entire pavement). And so the magic in the ordinary goes un-noticed.
A colleague and I took a short walk around Earl’s Court near our offices on a sunny lunch break one day, exploring this odd area of the city like the tourists we aren’t. It is a strange area of the city, a mixture of cheap and scruffy (pawnbrowers, budget grocery shops, homeless beggars), the usual high street residents (Prets and Barclays banks), lovely family-run fruit stalls and Russell’s Family Flowers stand, high volume traffic streets and tiny winding car-free back streets, cheap and dirty hostels and The Boltons where mansions are on the market for upwards of £20 million.
There’s history here. As we walked, a perfect ball of light gleamed above the station entrance. There was the historical Grade II listed building that was designed by Harry Ford in 1906.
Earl’s Court has The Troubadour with its quirky interiors where the likes of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon and Elvis Costello jammed and the first place where Bob Dylan performed in London.
There’s a pub now called The Pembroke which used to be the Coleherne. Between the 1970s-90s, it was a stalking ground for three separate serial killers: Dennis Nilsen, Michael Lupo and Colin Ireland.
Earl’s Court was the centre of gay nightlife before Soho took over and was also known as Kangaroo Court for all of the transient expats from New Zealand and Oz who moved in.
There’s the lovely Brompton Cemetery, which I’ve blogged about before, beautiful (though private) garden squares with traditional cast iron railings, and rows of pastel houses that would sit nicely in Notting Hill.
I love walking the side streets just across from the Earl’s Court Road station entrance. It’s a hub for London’s Filipino community and there’s restaurants and small grocery shops with Asian fruits and veggies in boxes outside, grubby old gum ball machines attached to the wall and plenty of pubs in the vicinity that seem to compete for the most amusing blackboard outside. Beyond that, the colourful homes and Instagram-worthy doors.
Here’s to remembering to seek out the extraordinary in everyday life.
I made a dandelion wish, but there’s one left for you. What’s it going to be? ^^
- A perfect white shirt for spring.
- Love this!
- Bought this cookbook on the weekend to add to my growing collection. Can’t wait to mark up the pages.
- A sweet hair clip.
- A father’s day gift for nature lovers.
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