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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I Knit London...I heart/hate London...

It's been an interesting week, starting last Sunday (24th), while gerard was chatting with the world's media we were setting up at the Vauxhall Park Summer Fair, sadly damp and rainswept. We set up a pitch making pom-poms, knitting with the giant needles and teaching folk to cast on...plus Jon joined us with his spinning wheel,but his fleece didn't react well to the damp air! We still made a day of it in the park and had a good day in our little knitting tent - Joanna Lumley, local resident and crocheter, opened proceedings. The weather has put a depressing stop to many events so far this summer, but it managed to stop for the Bonnington Square Festival on Sunday 1st (see previous post).

It wasn't the case last Wednesday when we held our knitting group meeting at the Bread and Roses in Clapham - I decided against all obvious wisdom to cycle up the road to the pub and arrived rain-sodden and mud-speckled. It was a small but dedicated turnout for the knitting,
and some of us ventured upstairs for the Frenzic Theatre's Victorian do, where they were partying like it was 1899 (as Prince Albert might have said). The evening was most memorable as the farewell knitting night for long-serving IKLondoner Chris who has moved out of the city for Leicester and who we'll really miss. Chris first arrived on a Wednesday night at The Salisbury last summer and has been a Wednesday knitter off and on since then. She is completely lovely and has the distinction of being IKL's first ever customer, when we opened the shop in September last year she made the inaugural purchase and for that, and much else (not least a LOT of sewing of blue squares) we will remember her. Leicester isn't too far away, she's already sought out a new knitting group there, and hopefully we'll see her back in London shortly. Thanks Chris, for being part of this adventure with us and that friendly smile!

While Chris leaves London, we continue on, and tonight has seen the usual contradiction that this city offers in infuriating chunks. Our crochet lesson finished we headed to the Retro Bar for our first smokefree pop quiz (the Retro has always been a smoker's haven, but tonight it was genuinely nice not be so smelly). We found ourselves in Trafalgar Square at 11.30pm, which isn't late when you consider this a 24 hour city...but, sadly, I don't think it is! Those of us who want to go dancing are foiled by friends who can't get home afterwards, those of us who want to move on for somehting to eat have no choice except Tesco Express pre-packed sarnies, and those who need to use the boy's room are in for a long wait before they get home! Don't get me wrong, I love London - neither of us here at IKL are Londoners born and bred, but after 10 years I am proud to be here, and proud to be part of this city (especially at times like these), but comparisons with other world cities just doesn't wash. NYC is alive, 24 hours a day, and London just doesn't compare...the capital is all but closed after 11pm, and we'll never have the same vibrancy as New York unless we sort that out. 24 hour Tubes, black cabs that most of us can actually afford, 24 hour culture and PLEASE some more public toilets! Some of us don't like urinating up the nearest alleyway! (Don't worry folks, I didn't). Having said that, the trip home on the #87 was a blast - Battersea-living, not-quite-in-Fulham-yet couple discussing the pros and cons of police stop and search procedures under the new terrorist climate was worth the wait - "yah, but Rosie...where's this Utopia, this Meccaland that we're all striving for...?"

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