London is an obsession. Even in Penzance, I cannot escape it. Drifting into bookshops in search of local writing on megaliths and Cornish saints, vintage Geoffrey Fletcher falls into my hands. Opened at random, the first page scanned yields a description of St. Mary’s on Paddington Green – the church where exactly a week ago I was wedded. Taking this as a beneficial bit of bilbiomancy, I buy the book.
My city is not exactly an uncommon idée fixe. For me, the attraction may be down to the fact that the more I learn about it, the more I have to acknowledge it is ultimately unknowable. However many books read, regardless of how many streets are pounded, true knowledge of the city is an endless quest. London expands infinitely in the imagination.
At least I am not alone in this. London is ever changing, but remains an ever muse. All of us caught by it – even masters such as Fletcher – find that when you chase it up along its own streets and alleys, it will always be dancing just ahead of you.