• Sylvana Farrady

London in my pages

London must be the most written about city in the world. Surpassed by New York or Paris. Possibly. Maybe. I haven't done the math. London is ancient, the settlement of Londonium dates back to Roman times.

London is so layered that Ben Aaronovitch in his wonderful series of "Rivers of London" can portray a magical London with underground dry rivers that walk around as humans among us. It still rings entirely truthful.

We believe Harry Potter can have a townhouse in London that is hidden from Muggle eyes. Harry can mount a train in Kings Cross- although nowadays he'll have no problem locating the 9 3/4 platform. One last mention of a parallel magical London - if you haven't read Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere - do so right now! I mean in one minute after you've finished reading my blog.

Conan Doyle wrote his short stories for the Strand back in the late 19th century. Baker street wasn't nearly as long as it is today, and the fabled address of 221B was exactly that: fabled. Later, the street did lengthen into the 200's and Abbey National, the mortgage bank used to reside there. An urban legend circulated that the bank has hired a dedicated secretary to answer fans' letters on behalf of Sherlock Holmes.

Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway goes to hunt for flowers and has a grand time walking around posh London.

In my second (as yet unpublished) book, "A Leaf From Her Book" I dedicated two chapters to London: Devonshire Place and Regent Park. They are my own take on London. John Eliot who is one of the two main characters, lives in the posh neighborhood of Merylbone on the street of Devonshire Place. I've only tackled two post codes: W1 and NW6. and I'm afraid I haven't done them justice. London can be and is a charming city, but I decided that for the duration of my characters' stay, it would be gray, cold and, of course, raining:

John opened the building’s door, and the freezing, English morning air made him catch his breath. Living and wintering in Tel Aviv made one forget how chilly early spring can get in London. He tightened his hoodie’s laces beneath his chin and started jogging. Turning left, he headed toward the park. The route felt natural to him. He used to run the same route regularly only a year ago, and it was easy to go back to old habits. His steps thudded in the quiet street, heavy and fast. He ran across Marylebone Road, the six-lane travesty that cut his village of Marylebone from Regent Park. It was gray and cold. A light rain started to fall.

(an excerpt from the chapter Regent Park, A Leaf From Her Book)

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