"It's been a very... sensual day... a day of senses..." said Mikhaila to me this afternoon, as we stood in the V&A at one of the 'Please Touch' cabinets, she rubbing a rock while I grasped a small, stone owl statue (and just thinking to myself that doing this was making me feel oddly content.)
"Yes! That's really true!" I replied, and we proceeded to list off some of the lovely ways that our afternoon together had invigorated our senses...
- Cast members of 'Wicked', 'Billy Elliot' and the West End Gospel Choir performing at Victoria
- The streets of Kensington and Chelsea- wide and lined by rows of regal, beautiful, Mary Poppins-ish apartment buildings
- Gold mosaic neighbouring blackened brick in Westminster Cathedral
- John Cleese, shopping for a fancy chair, in Harrods
- The florist we walked past somewhere in South Kensington
- Incense in Westminster Cathedral
- Our shoes on the steps in the V&A
- The man farting in a spacious V&A gallery (and the giggles from us that followed)
- Goats cheese
- Arnott's BBQ Shapes
- Orange chocolate in Harrods (the sweetness of which was only slightly tainted by the offerer's pushiness following our tasting: "So which boxes are you getting? Those ones or these ones? Hmm? Hmm?!")
- A Versace dress in Harrods (my entire London savings in a piece of fabric)
- The cool owl-statue under my hand
I recognise, in part-agreeance with my friend James, that London is, in some ways, not all it's cracked up to be. It's expensive to live in, and it feels too-close-to-home-to-be-excited-by at times because of the cultural similarities.
But then I do things like hang out with Mikhaila and unashamedly take photos of ourselves in front of amazing white-washed buildings with big black iron fences and bright red telephone boxes next to them. Or I put my feet in the sand of the fake beach of the Southbank and drink Pimms with my friend Heidi. Or I watch West End performers on a rooftop at lunchtime, sitting amongst tourists, theatre nerds and business men on their break. Or I sip wine on the top floor of a building on The Strand and look out at The Thames, Big Ben and the London Eye, all three awash with drizzly orange light at 7pm. Or I have a rehearsal for a musical with excited people who love muscials, too. Or I go for a run at 5.30am or 9pm with sun involved in either choice.
And then I think it's also kind of freaking cool.