Today in London was for wandering. We woke up to the sound of a fire alarm at 11am and grudgingly began the day with tea (for me) and risotto (for D) at Exmouth Market. From there we went everywhere and nowhere: Saint Paul’s Cathedral, the Globe, the Tate Modern, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, the Eye of London, Covent Garden. It was windy and fitfully rainy, so we took our cues from the weather and skimmed restlessly around the city, traversing miles of streets and monuments but failing to stop anywhere. I learned where north was and felt satisfied. The thorough exploring will come later.
The day ended, as days should, with champagne on a roof —to celebrate the engagement of two people I’d just met— and then generous glasses of red wine at a nearby pub with old acquaintances. We toasted new things and old ones and talked about love and sipped from green plastic flutes and watched the sun set.
There’s no neat place for this image to go, but it left the strongest impression of anything I saw all day: There was a man sitting on Southwark Bridge, which delivers you from St. Paul’s Cathedral to the Tate’s front door. He was crouched by the side of the bridge in a gorgeously tailored three-piece suit with a silk cravat and shined black shoes. He was perhaps 30 and handsome, with slicked back hair and an affable smile. In his hand, he held a sign: “NO JOB. NOWHERE TO LIVE. PLEASE HELP.” Now, what do you make of that?