This delightful book promises to recommend one thing a day to do in London. Perhaps one year, when I’m not spending all day indoors reading, I will try and do all of the things recommended by the book. It would be a very busy year, and I would have to be very organised.
The book makes a slightly unrealistic start by suggesting that on 1st January you should watch the New Year’s Day Parade. Every true Londoner knows that the only thing to do on New Year’s Day is to languish on your settee with an icepack on your head trying to figure out the likelihood of you surviving to enjoy the rest of the year. But, the book is endlessly optimistic about our enthusiasm and time and so we plough on.
The suggestions range from the whimsical “experience a London fog” or “see the snowdrops in
Petts Wood” to recommendations of niche little museums, like the Fan Museum, to suggesting some charming places to eat, the floating cafe in Little Venice, and an irresistible invitation to “drink in the pub where Pepys watched London burn”.
It is full of interesting facts. For instance, I didn’t know that London has lions along the embankment wall, designed to hold mooring rings in their mouths, which can be used to predict flooding. Apparently the old rhyme goes:
“When the lions drink, London will sink
When its up to their manes, we’ll go down the drains,
When the water is sucked, you can be sure we’re all…in trouble”
The suggestions are also seasonal, so on Christmas Day they recommend watching the Peter Pan cup in Hyde Park, or in the week before watching the Nutcracker, while August recommends playing croquet in Golders Hill Park or searching for butterflies in Roding Valley meadows.
If you do read this book, I recommend having google to hand. I had to google some of the suggestions, for instance, the London Boat Show in January, to see if they were still happening, and was delighted to discover that they are! I love London, but even after living here for years there are so many things on this list that I have yet to do. It truly is a wonderful city.
A final little pleasure that this book affords is that it is written by Tom Jones. If have no idea if this is THE Tom Jones, but in any event it provided me with an instant playlist to listen to while I read it. All together now: why, Why, WHY, Delilia….