I am grateful that I live in Bloomsbury.
It's come to my attention recently that people actually envy where I live. My new (ish) work colleagues seem to think it must be fab living in the middle of London. I've tried very much to convince them otherwise, telling them about the filth, the noise, the dirt, the proliferation of flesh, the litter, the constant drought, the disgusting sidewalks.
The other day while strolling about in a relatively cheerful mood, I tried very hard to see Bloomsbury through different eyes. Granted, in spring it does look very pretty, but even a dung heap would look pretty if a tree grew out the middle of it and smothered itself with pink blossoms every March. I tried to get the "vibe" of Bloomsbury (it has about a million poncy restaurants and eateries) and its youth (millions of students living crammed into ex-council flats ponced up by money-grubbing right-to-buy owners) and its future (Kings Cross is quite happening these days).
But it was only today that I really began to appreciate what I have. I had to enter a rather hellish part of London to make a desperate purchase (or pay six times the bus fare by ordering it online). Coming back on the Bus Ride From Hell, I suddenly longed for the "quieter" streets of Bloomsbury. For the orderly sidewalks. For the dreaming squares. I longed to climb up the four stories to my flat and lock the door behind me and move about in the rooms that are now, and have been for nearly twenty years, home. And, really, Bloomsbury isn't so bad after all. I don't much care for student life (durrrrr), nor the noise (fuckers), nor the litter (hope the litterers all burn in hell with their mouths stuffed with all the shit they dropped), nor the pollution (I worry a bit about my lungs getting me into old age), but as this is about gratitude and I've missed seven days, I'm going to try my best to find seven things about Bloomsbury that I really love and am truly grateful for:
- Being able to walk to work in ten minutes
- Being able to rush home for lunch, bolt some toast, and rush back, curiously satisfied
- Being able to walk to a supermarket barely two blocks away
- Being able to see a patch of sky from my top floor flat and, sometimes, a moon sailing across it
- Being able to walk away from myself and walk through streets of all kinds, to all kinds of places that are nearby, places that I sometimes forget are there, and then being able to walk back again, back to myself and finding that I'm not so bad after all
- Being able to appreciate that my flat, for all its faults and broken bits and signs of gentile poverty, is actually quite quirky, charming and interesting with its sloped ceiling, heavy crossbeams and bizarre walls (there isn't a single wall that isn't flat - there are peculiar corners everywhere)
- Being able to write because it's while I've lived in Bloomsbury that I've produced the most work, the best work, the most mature work, ironically, since Bloomsbury is vaguely associated with the Bloomsbury Group (though I wouldn't put too much emphasis on that as it's hardly the same world as it was 100 years ago.)