Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The past is another country

Unlike other Royal Parks, the gates of Primrose Hill remain open long after dusk. Faux gaslights line the paths, enticing lovers and other nighttime eccentrics to come have a wander inside.

From the top, lights spill out into the distance, making London look less like a human financial services treadmill, and more like a magical fairy civilization in the region of Alpha Centauri.

Conversing with the memory moon. 
If you used to live here, this is the place to trace out the streets that correspond to the memories. This is the perfect spot to remember only the fond bits. 

Visiting one homeland from another is a strange feeling. On both sides, someone greets me with a smile and says: "Welcome home." And both greeters are correct. 

I hit the third trimester for the third time somewhere over the Atlantic, which means I won't be visiting Primrose Hill again for a spell. It also means that I will mostly be napping through the scorching hellfire summer I have returned to.  

But be it two or twenty years when I return, I know London will be precisely as I left it. This is because of the somewhat distressing reality that no person can ever change the fabric of such a humongous, crazy, fairyland.

Primrose Hill is covered in rain 98.9% of the time. But from the very top, William Blake speaks from the stonework: "I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill."

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


Like any over-reaching parent, I discuss career options with my offspring. And like true professionals, my children never limit their ambitions to tangible reality.

Ana wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. She wants to work with guard toads and battle toads, who sustain many injuries in their line of work. She would rather switch careers than work with bookworms (they are abominable).

Battle toad. 
Much of her current veterinary training takes the form of sketching unicorns and hundred-tailed cats with a purposefulness that any scatterbrained grown-up can admire (she formerly wanted to be an artist).

Ali wants to be Papa when she grows up. Upon graduation into life, she will promptly grow a beard and become a guitar ninja.

While this was Ali's standard answer for yonks, but it abruptly changed the other day:

Mama: 'So kid, what do you want to be when you grow up?'
Ali: 'I don't know.'

Aside from a lack of grey hair and a profound disinterest in the Financial Times, this new answer may mean that she has already grown up. I reckon the typical age cycle of the question goes about like this:

Q: 'So, what do you want to be when you grow up?'

Toddler: 'Astronaut!'
Adolescent: 'Rockstar!'
Grown-up: 'No clue. Better-rested?'