CUWAM- The Homing Instinct

The homing instinct is a term I am borrowing from a work colleague….a concept my workmate termed which I am a true believer in.

The homing instinct, somewhere in the world that you feel most at home, a place that you might be lucky enough to live in on a permanent basis, or a suburb, town or city, that each time you visit, you feel an instant connection.

After 7 years of living in Sydney, the cities Eastern Suburbs are where I feel most at home ( unfortunate that to actually OWN that home you would need to be a millionaire!!), and when I travel London is where my homing instinct kicks in ( although I would have to say that NYC is almost on par, followed by Paris)…actually, homing instincts are not exlusive…you can have a few!!

London…what can I say…I left behind Bristol, basking in sunshine and summer time temperatures, to find you also enjoying record-breaking heat….29.9 degrees on the 1st of October…..The city was on heat.

In every city park, Londoners stripped off, bikini clad women, men in swim shorts, lapping up the last of the summer rays….A site to behold, for the locals told me they did not get a chance to much sun baking  during what was meant to be summer ( June to August)….Summer had been, quote unquote ‘ rubbish’….

London, and the chance to catch up with my good friends Jo* and Yo* ( * real names withheld at subjects request…plus I think it adds literary merit to my blog…a bit of intrigue) Jo and Yo live in Canary Wharf, right on the Thames River, and on Friday night, I had the place to myself, so I cooked myself dinner, drank white wine, read the London Time Out guide and enjoyed the stunning views from their apartment.

On Saturday, I endeavoured to keep up with the pace of life that Jo and Yo lead….it is a lifestyle with no stop bottom, no pause, no rewind….just fast forward!! You go hard or you go home…..Dream big or leave…something like that…It is a lifestyle I admire but know that I do not have the energy for….I am happy to get involved when I visit, I love it…for it is a lifestyle far removed from the ‘ slow’ pace of Sydney…So to Saturday…

I excused myself from an 11am movie screening in Covent Garden, instead opting for breakfast at Burrough Markets, coffee from Monmouth Coffee company…I accepted Jo and Yo’s kind offer of lunch with friends in the city, and we sipped Champagne and ate in a Belgian Beer Hall for lunch….a city stroll, installation art viewing and then off Jo and Yo went into the sultry summer evening,…to a house party, a charity function in Mayfair, a house party, a kitchen tea and then a rave.

I took myself to St James’s Park and lay down..I was tired…Hard to keep up with the yo-yo pace of life of Jo and Yo…..But I soon gathered the strength to walk to the Young Vic theatre in Waterloo to watch an American Opera  called ‘ Street Scene’….This play was quiet special…Whilst in NYC I had visited the Tenements Musuem…an immigration muesum….at the play was based on immigrant life to NYC in the 1920’s…It was an out of the ordinary production…and as it was closing night……I was lucky to be part of the audience.

Sunday….Columbia Flower Markets, Brick Lane and Old Spitalfields Markets…Overground and underground tube and rail trackwork threatened to ruin my morning….but a cab ride and a strong coffee got me back on track…..Home early afternoon to touch base with Jo and Yo…who had both been taking it easy that morning….home renovations, bill paying, gym sessions…..With the temperature in the high 20’s , we took to the streets, for a late lunch and a stroll along Canary Wharf…collecting friend along the way, we drank Pims at Gordon Ramsey’s Pub, The Narrow….and then continued along to the oldest riverside pub in London, circa 1520, the Prospect of Whitby….for more Pims, and conversation…..

Jo and Yo are both bankers, they move in a social circle far removed from mine….I have been friend with Jo since Primary School…when as a young 12-year-old, Jo declared to our Year 6 class he wanted to be Prime Minister of Australia…..Jo was praised by our teacher for his big dreams,…me on the other hand….I think I said I wanted to be a teacher ( and my then teacher rolled her eyes and told me to sit down!!)

Despite the passing of time, home addresses, friendship circles and job titles, Jo and my friendship has a solid foundation….for growing up on the South Coast of NSW seems to ensure that most friendships are for life ( if you can survive the Gong…you can survive anything!!)

Anyway, back to the story, so Jo and Yo move in high circles….an example being that over the fourth glass of Pims, friend Antonio mentioned his dinner date with Gwyneth, scheduled for Tuesday at her house in St Johns Wood….Yes, dinner with Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin..Apple, Moses, the whole family….Despite the fact that Jo, Yo and their friends are banking elite, this was what I most impressed by…dinner with Gwyn..would she cook from her new cook book I asked….only time will tell….on my return to Oz I will have to ask Jo and or Yo for an update from their friend Antonio.

I left the Prospect of Whitby, bound for Loungelover in the East….to catch up with my Scottish friend Jill…..for a girly evening over cocktails, Turkish Food and Indian sweets.

Monday up at 8am and on a bike…Jo was determined to see me ride to Liverpool Street with the daily work commuters….ok….might no have the clothes for it…but up for the challenge….With flat tire, and lots of huffing and puffing, I eventually made it to Jo’s work….’ Have a great day dear’ I said, as I waved him off to work….

A breakfast date with Jill in Soho followed,  at the lovely coffee shop, Flat White on Berrick Street, Soho…A yummy breakfast of a strong coffee and avocado and hommus on toast….Delish!! Parting at 11am with Jill, who is Australia bound in early 2012….Yay!!…I hit the shops…..Oxford Street, Covent Garden….but I soon realised that I indeed was shopped out…London being my last destination….I had no energy left, and energy is a must for Oxford street, so I took refuge in DuckSoup, Soho…a devine little tapas bar on Dean Street… it has only been open one week…A glass of wine and some squid, tomato and bread and I was rev ivied….I took the tube home….shopped for dinner ingredients and cooked up a meal for Jo and Yo….

Over discussions of skinny/fat people we ate together…somewhat later than I would normally call dinner time…but that is the life of Jo and Yo…out the door and 8am, home by 8pm at the earliest…and in there spare time remaining socially active or aggressive travelling….

And today is Tuesday…Tuesday the 4th of October…and I have about 36 hours left in the city that is capable of bringing out the best in me…Today I will visit John Keat’s home in Hampstead Heath and tomorrow the V & A museum and the Chelsea shopping strip…and then my time is up and it is back to OZ on that big jet plane…

But no time for tears, time to go out there and get amongst it….it is what Jo and Yo would want….it is what I want too!!

Photo essay on London to follow over the next couple of days, including London summer soundtrack ( well homage to the October heatwave soundtrack)….xx

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