The Golden Boy prefers the gentle rhythms of trains and Overgrounds to the inhuman howl of the Underground. He stares entranced out of the windows in trains, but in the Tube he becomes drowsy and dimwitted, and we shriek in fear that he will not Mind The Gap.  I too think trains synchronize better with humans.


The stations in London sound like poetry.  Mansion House. Monument. Crystal Palace. Tower Hill. Bethnal Green.


Reading a novel set in the same place that you are living is thrilling. I squeak with pleasure when I stumble on words like “Crystal palace” and “South Kensington”.


I keep expecting to meet all the characters I ever read about in London, in London. Deptford was bombed in “Good Night, Mr. Tom”. The servant was out, visiting her relatives in Maida Vale.


I love dim sum. I’ve already spent something like 50 pounds eating dim sum. I don’t know if there is dim sum in Halifax, and  will it be like eating dim sum in by St. Katherine’s docks in Wapping, London?


I learned about Zandra Rhodes, who looks like an authentic Lady Gaga.


I love Wapping.


But in general, I don’t like these big rich cities where foreigners are hired to do their dirty work for them. Like Dubai. Brown-skins and east-europeans, staffing and serving and cleaning and driving.


The Princess loves the London Evening Standard. We learn that some women have been threatened with rape for asking for a picture of Jane Austen on banknotes. And there are vans which drive around with “Immigrant, Go Home” on them. But we do not talk about such things, preferring instead to giggle at the story of how One Direction was turned away from Mick Jagger’s club in London. “No, I haven’t heard of them, but I do know that they’re only walking in one direction, and that is away from here.”





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