Wednesday 23 November 2011

Overheard: Eithne Sang in Berkeley Square

I'm not sure if I can capture the enchantment of a walk I took in London a few weeks ago, but I'm going to try.


It was just getting dark when I said goodbye to my friend behind Selfridges.  I had the vague intention of getting the tube, but instead my legs pointed me down Gilbert St in the direction of Mayfair.

Mayfair encapsulates many of the things I love about the city ...  the opulence, the architecture, the history, the literary characters whose addresses you pass by (Lord Peter Wimsey over here, Bertie Wooster over there).  As the sky got darker, the lights of homes and shops illuminated my path: the art deco door into Claridges' bar was like a lantern on the corner of Brook St.

As I walked I played the delightful game of imagining which house I would live in if I had all the time and money in the world.  There was hardly anyone on the streets to see me running my hand along ornamental ironwork and skipping a little as I crossed the road.

From Davies St, I cut a corner into Berkeley Square.  Berkeley Square is one of the places that I can't pass by without singing its theme tune (St Paul's is another: I am obliged to hum 'Feed the Birds' from Mary Poppins whenever I'm within 100m of the cathedral.)

I kept singing (softly) as I turned into Curzon St and passed the lavish Lansdowne Club, once home of Gordon Selfridge - and his Hungarian cabaret artiste tenants (I think perhaps that should be 'tenants') the Dolly Sisters.

So from Selfridges to Selfridge's - a walk I would recommend to anyone, anytime.  But go at dusk if you want to hear the nightingales.

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