Friday, 29 November 2013

The streets of London

Our family treat was often a trip to London. I fell in love with it straight away. Whether we arrived by car driving through Knightsbridge past all the museums or arrived by train at Marylebone or Paddington, it was thrilling. Even though I am not a Londoner, "I get a funny feeling inside of me ... just walking up and down". It was the city of heroes, people who had stared the enemy in the face and won, at great cost. They had had to send  their children away, many never seen again. They were colourful, bright and interesting. Cockney slang showed a great creative use of the English language, apples and pears - stairs. If London was a man he would be brave and strong, generous and forgiving, all embracing and understanding. Also very, very interesting and inspiring.
Our main treat was often a show and we immersed ourselves in them with gusto. We went to see The black and white minstrel show and learned all the songs off by heart. We went to see Ben Hur and clung to the edge of our seats to join in the chariot race, we went to see How the west was won and crossed the Wild West frontier in a wagon. We went to see Mary Poppins and didn't want it to end.
We knew we were privileged to do this, it all seemed so spectacular. We went to see Thunderball on a huge screen and came home with a glossy souvenir magazine. It all seemed very daring.
Sometimes Grandma would take Thekla, Debbie and me up on the train for the day. Just to walk around and have a cake in Lyons Corner House (now the Swiss Centre). She always wore a red hat, and told us to keep an eye on it at all times. No nagging, no dire recriminations about what would happen to us if we got lost. Just look at her red hat, and we did.

Knock knock ... "Who's there?"
M-A-B is a big horse
M-A-B is a big horse who?
M-A-B is a because I m a Londoner
that I love London town
I get a funny feeling inside of me
Just walking up and down
So M-A-B is a big horse I'm a Londoner
That I love London town.

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