I’ve lived in London for two years now. It’s been amazing but overwhelming. London is filled with smog. On the train at rush hour, you have to get cheek to cheek with a stranger, not knowing what they’ve put in their mouth that morning. At the end of the day, if I blow my nose and the tissue isn’t black, it’s an anomaly. When it’s hot, for some reason London becomes a microwave that makes you cook in places you’ve NEVER cooked before.
Every time that all of this gets too much I get on the first train back to the Cotswolds. To the grass, to the fresh air and to my own personal space. I don’t run away, I escape. For me, clearly not a ‘city person’ I crave the open air and the calming, settling effect of nature. But, low and behold Pia Ashcroft (my new boss) has shown me a whole new world. Like Aladdin, she put me on her magic carpet – she took me to Hampstead Heath.
Fuck me. If I knew the Heath existed. The happiness I could have filled my soul with. All those days spent sitting in parks surrounded by buildings that penetrated the sky and empty fosters cans, could have been avoided. My desperate attempts to feel connected to nature by staring at the murky brown ripple of the Thames, blown out the water. I could have been on the Heath. I could have been walking through vast rolling hills, covered only by the shade of ancient trees and a wide brimmed sun hat.
I think it may be the romantic in ,e. Or maybe the fact that I was forced to study Jane Eyre at A level. There’s something enticing about this kind of scenery. Ruby said it reminded her of an illustration brought to life. Family picnics, balls flying through the air, kites soaring high and dogs running through muddy puddles. It definitely doesn’t feel like London. Some days I enjoy the hustle, the bustle, the noise, the fumes. When it all becomes too much, I think the Heath might be calling.
Is it normal to have fallen in love, with such vigour with a place. I’ve only been once. We’ve practically had a one night stand and I’m planning the wedding.
The ladies pond is like a sacred enclave, bordered by mystical trees, sun light and female energy. Swimming in amongst the reeds and the pond creatures, women talk, laugh and swim.
On the Heath, the history of poets circulates in the air. You can smell the creative energy. I’m not being dramatic, you can! It smells like grass, bark and magic. I could write anything up there. I could be Shakespeare.
(re-reading this blog just proves my point. I wrote this on a tube and it’s filled with typos and inconsistent metaphors – If I was on the Heath – the quality would have been so much better.)
This place, that so many know about, write about, use as film scenery and visit daily; is all new to me. I couldn’t be happier to have found it. To have finally ventured to the North of London. It made me realise that in a new place, a piece of home can be so important. In a concrete jungle, a chunk of nature is a necessity. Sure, people make the place, but so does a space where you feel alive and safe all at the same time.
Thank you Pia. Thank you Heath x