The very first time I put my feet on London soil, must have been in 1986. At that time Mr. G. attended English classes and at the year's end they organized an excursion to London. Unfortunately we both don't remember the only reminder of this journey is a photo from both of us at Westminster.
I really discovered London in 1996 when our son went to London to work with an English fashion photographer. I still remember when I and his (at the time) girlfriend's mother stood at the ferry in Calais and see them going with their backpack on the boat, leaving home forever. I had a very heavy heart, a new life started for him and also for us.
As soon as he had found a flat with the help of his boss rather quickly I visited him. His flat was in Sydenham Hill an affluent locality in South East London. It was a council flat which belonged to a lady who was abroad and had rented it to him which normally was not allowed. Anyway the flat had two rooms, bathroom and a kitchen. His girlfriend had made it to a very cozy place all freshly repainted and nicely decorated. I really felt home and went there as often as I could. There I really discovered London. First of course all the touristic sites and then over the years more and more. When they bought a house in South Norwood, we bought furniture together and made it to their home. Each time I was there I discovered more from London. While they were working I visited all corners of London and loved it.
I loved to sit in a Pub and in my little sketch book I draw the people in the Pubs sitting in a corner. Nobody ever disturbed me. Some of them I later painted in acrylic.
I was there one week after Princess Diana died and saw the with flowers covered Kensington Park. There were so many flowers that I hardly saw the park. The same was in front of the Buckingham Palace it was very sad. When the garbage lorry wanted to shovel all the flowers away, people got so angry with their Queen, that they stopped the truck and didn't let them through. I thought I would be in a riot !
We also spent all Christmases in London and I could see the different decorations each year. Unfortunately my son had to go to Amsterdam for the company he worked for after the photographer and my visits to London stopped for almost 7 years. Only in 2008 I saw London again. I had stopped there on my way to Eastbourne at the English South East coast. I was lost ! London had changed so much nothing was the same anymore. Even the people on Oxford street.
Ever since each year I make a break in London and tried to find my favorite places where I loved to go. Meanwhile the whole dockland had disappeared and most of the old Dockland wharfs and warehouses have been demolished, some have been restored and converted into flats. Most of the docks themselves have survived and are now used as marinas or watersports centres. Although large ships can - and occasionally still do - visit the old docks, all of the commercial traffic has moved down-river. A huge to me strange looking building had shown up called "The Shard", I saw it but never went in.
Each year there are other changes and works are going on everywhere in London. Sometimes I thought that London had become a big building plot. They work underground and streets are closed, new buildings show up each year. Trafalgar square has shrunk, no pigeons anymore to feed.
Despite all these changes I still love London and continue to go there whenever I can.
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday