Coming out of a client meeting the other day, I found myself at the top of Victoria Street waiting for a cab, right in front of Westminster Abbey. As usual, it was taking ages to find one, so I stopped to take a picture using my phone (it’s not been often this summer you get a blue sky like that).
At which point I realised that despite living in London for nearly fifteen years (it’ll be exactly fifteen this saturday), I’ve never actually been inside. Which is frankly rubbish.
I’ve never been inside St Paul’s either. Or Southwark Cathedral. Which I suppose you might find unsurprising for an atheist. Except going to cathedrals is normally one of the first things I do in most European cities, so I’ve been a worst tourist in my home town than I am abroad (of course, being a good Catholic atheist, I’ve been to Westminster Cathedral several times, in fact it’s one of my favourite buildings in London).
It’s not just cathedrals though. I’m rather embarrassed to admit I’ve never been to the National Gallery. This year I missed the (apparently brilliant) Psycho Buildings exhibition at the Hayward, and the Frank Gehry pavilion at the Serpentine (just like I’d missed Zaha Hadid’s last year, and all but one in previous years). Yes, I make it to most things at the Tate (and there is no way I’ll be missing the new Rothko exhibition, but still, I’ve been pretty useless at making the most of what London has to offer: each week Time Out lands in my letter box and despite reading and planning loads, most weeks I fail to make it to any of them. And yet again despite promising not to miss it, I yet again failed to see anything at last weekend’s Open House.
It’s too late to make Open House before I go away (it’s only once a year), but with only six months left I seriously need to get out and see more before I go, not least to help keep me distracted as the big day approaches.