Archive for November 14th, 2020

I can’t tell you how many many times I’ve visited and walked through and around Temple, exploring all the nooks and crannies, visiting Temple Church again and again, awed by the history.

I never for one second thought I would find myself working and living in the complex. And yet here I am and its strange.

If I had stopped to think about it, if I’d even imagined people actually lived here, I certainly would have thought it would be amazing to live in such a historical area; an area of myths and legends, of Knights Templar and King John…..he of Magna Carta fame.

You know how sometimes you’ve visited a place and thought “oh how much I’d love to live there!” – usually a cute thatched cottage or a beautiful mansion. But we never really get to know what it is like, because we don’t explore the opportunity of it. Would it even be as magical as what we imagine?

Weirdly it doesn’t feel any different to living anywhere else. There’s nothing special about the flat, its dingy and old with no mystery at all….no feel of the history of the area.

We’re located very close to the archway made famous in The Da Vinci code and yet it holds no mysticism.

Have I been away too long, lost my awe for these places, or is it still there but buried over time? Have I been keeping my eye for too long on other horizons to explore? Been here, done that type of thing.

Or is it that its wet, and cold and grim out and the flat too lifeless and uninviting? I can find nothing to excite me, no feeling of lives past, no ghosts…..

I’ve lived in a 16th century cottage in Montgomery in Wales with more atmospheric feeling and loved it. I’ve worked and lived in a castle in Scotland and stayed a few weeks in a gypsy caravan on the banks of the River Thames on Eel Pie island. I felt the atmosphere, I felt the air of people gone before.

And yet here I am, about to spend my 1st night in one of the most historic areas of London, and its leaving me stone cold. I’d rather be back in the guest house…

I think I’ve lost my sense of home. It’s so long now that I had a place to call home, a place where I returned to after each job. My own bed, my clothes in a cupboard instead of a suitcase in a storage unit.

I seldom even use the word ‘home’ now and if I say it, it’s a slip of the tongue. A habit I’ve yet to lose. I don’t belong anywhere, although I go back to the same area after each job, just different guest houses, none of them are home.

They say that home is where the heart is. That’s not true. I know where my heart is, but it’s not my home.

And so I’ll be sleeping in another strange bed (not a very comfortable one either 😜😜) and I know by morning my hips will be aching and I’ll be stiff and sore from metal springs pressing….

And in the meantime, reading The Salt Path has evoked a longing in me. A longing to just shuck my arms through the straps of my backpack and go.

The reviews of the book make it sound amazing and wonderful and romantic. It’s anything but. It about hardship and pain and hunger, and love…and a strong enduring love that overcomes hardship and pain and hunger, to find freedom and joy in living free.

It’s making me melancholic and pulling me towards doing the same thing. Do you think that once the walking bug enters your soul, it leaves you wanting more, with an uneasy longing to just go? To walk and walk and walk…..to walk despite the pain, the blisters, the hardships and the rain.

Is there a sense of home in having no home?

Meanwhile, besides the loud TV tuned into Midsomer Murders, its quiet and still as if the air is holding its breath, the lights of the city twinkling in the dark, the silhouette of St Paul’s Cathedral dark and foreboding and if I crane my neck out one of the windows I can see the shimmering movement of the Thames as it rushes out to sea…

Have I moved on from London? Or has London left me behind?

I can find none of the enchantment I used to feel coming into the city, and that saddens me.

So tomorrow I’m going to go out during my break and see if I can find the thrill, the excitement and my love of the city….hope it’s not raining, I’ve got 477.7kms to catch up on before 31 December.

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