Sunday, January 18, 2009

It almost makes up for the pain of moving

This on my backyard, that is. Well, okay, not backyard but 7 minutes is not bad you have to admit.

If there is one thing in which this city comes out on top against comparable cities (and take it from me, there is only one thing), it must be the availability of open spaces within reach inside its limits. And the Queen of them all, as much as I love Regents Park, has to be the Heath. If in that city by the lake, my favorite way to spend a Sunday morning was to run to the river to catch a glimpse of the 333 Wacker Dr as the sun comes up over the lake, in London, it has to be to run and get lost in the planned wilderness of the Heath.

I know I have posted this before but some things are worth posting more than once.

"A sprawling North London parkland, composed of oaks, willows and chestnuts, yews and sycamores, the beech and the birch; that encompasses the city's highest point and spreads far beyond it; that is so well planted it feels unplanned; that is not the country but it is no more garden than Yellowstone; that has a shade of green for every possible felicitation of light; that paints itself in russets and ambers in the autumn, canary-yellow in the splashy spring; with tickling bush grass to hide teenage lovers and joint smokers, broad oaks for brave men to kiss against, mown meadows for summer ball games, hills for kites, ponds for hippies, an icy lido for old men with strong constitutions, mean llamas for mean children and for the tourists, a country house, its facade painted white enough for any Hollywood close-up, complete with a tea room, although anything you buy from there should be eaten outside with the grass beneath your toes, sitting under the magnolia tree, letting the white upturned bells of blossoms, blush-pink at their tips, fall all around you. Hampstead Heath! Glory of London! Where Keats walked and Jarman fucked, where Orwell exercised his weakened lungs and Constable never failed to find something holy"

- Zadie Smith, "On Beauty"

PS: SB, happpy now? Got your Heath pictures?

PPS: SB, as I was posting this, Bill asks: "and here I thought the only Heath SB (or BM for that matter) cared about was Ledger"


Szerelem said...

Oh, I love the Heath so much...I was staying very close by during one leg of the London visit and I was always amazed that it was, well, in London.
And lovely pictures.

Fëanor said...

Very romantic pic, that third one, with your shadows in the foreground. :-) Pics with your iPhone, then?

Veena said...

Szerelem: Good good. Now we can go hang out in the Heath when you get here!

Feamor: Yeah, I saw the shadows and I didn't exactly think it was romantic. I just thought it was a bit inaccurate - as you well know Bill is not taller than me.

Ya ya, can't behave like a tourist and carry real camera to the Heath even if I had remembered to get it so had to make do with the iPhone.

Space Bar said...

Yay! Thank you. Love the hand-like tree stump.

And Bill, that Heath's gone. This one remains. I'm fickle like that.

Oh, and Veena: can't behave like a tourist and carry real camera to the Heath ...Say that to Szer.

Szerelem said...

space bar: Yes I know. I was reading the post and was all - Can't wait to got here and take pictures - and then I read that and decided to keep my mouth shut.

Fëanor said...

See, I knew you really thought it was romantic, otherwise why would you say fe(amor) in your response? Heheh.

Veena said...

Szerelem: There is a difference between toursists and photographers, no? I have no problems with people who can actually shoot carrying cameras around.

SB: Don't scare her even before she gets here alright? You can do that later.

Fëanor: This time I even got that accent thing right. Happy now?

But yeah, definitely was feeling very romantic when I wrote that comment last night. Bill had just baked the most amazing rum cake. The best part is that he is leaving for ACM today so I get to eat it all by myself. Cool no?

blackmamba said...

very nice.

But the blue sky and sun?

I see you have been working on your photoshop skills.

Szerelem said...


Being called a photographer makes my day

Falstaff said...

Personally, I think the best thing about the Heath is the word itself. Such a passionate, desolate word - redolent of witchcraft and doomed love.

Which, incidentally, is why I think these pictures are all wrong. When I think Heath I think of someplace altogether wilder and more barren, with gray lowering skies (this is London, after all) and the sound of distant howling.

Veena said...

BM: We just hide the sun when you come. Otherwise its all sunny and blue here. Promise.

Szerelem: Good, now run along and post some pictures.

Falsie: Wait till next weekend and we will get you your Heath. Barren might be difficult but we will get you everything else.

jessica london said...

oh yeah, it really is a headache....

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