London – a city that sleeps quite sensibly really

Walking through the centre of a very cold, very quiet London in the very wee hours of this morning, it struck me again as a city which really does sleep. And it even puts the lights out at quite a sensible hour.  There are some cities which pride themselves on never sleeping – Las Vegas (which barely merits a time zone), New York.  But a couple of times now I’ve screwed up transport, as last night, endangered my homeward route for the sake of another one last pint and made a couple of drink-clouded tube-line decisions only to find myself at Waterloo after my last train has gone.

It means a growl, a withering shake of the head at being an idiot and the realisation that there’s nothing and nobody else to blame except me.  Never for a moment considering anything so lavish as a cab, it also means an eerily quiet half hour walk back over Hungerford Bridge, up the Strand, left through Covent Garden, weaving on through Soho – which you might expect to be the part which doesn’t sleep, but large parts of it really do seem to – then up to Tottenham Court Road.

Of course last night was an especially bitter, freezing one which may have dissuaded any potential partygoers, but even so it wasn’t unaligned with previous experience.  Well-insulated chefs and doormen smoked cigarettes at side doors and chatted with cabbies, but by and large it was deathly quiet.  You might expect something more of Soho, London, England, UK, baby.  As I zigzagged the blocks up through Soho with my music playing, covered by lifesaving woolly hat, gently lulled by the anomalous stillness, I pondered my chances of being mugged.  I couldn’t hear much outside my music, I didn’t feel as lightheaded as I had an hour previous, the chill wind serving some sobering function – particularly slicing on the deserted commuter bridge over the river.  But it was still very much in my system.  I should’ve probably turned down my music anyway, tried to be more alert.

Spewed out of Soho I hit the larger shopping streets again, other wobbly straggling drinkers now presenting themselves.  A red LCD display at the bus stop mercifully told me I only had five minutes to wait.


5 Responses to London – a city that sleeps quite sensibly really

  1. Niamh says:

    What a lovely post!
    I love London and the past three times I have been there have been in the winter time, bitterly cold, icy, windy – and wonderful 🙂

  2. swashbuckled says:


  3. I like the fact that being a fan of Sherlock means stumbling into your blog… Have to agree with Niamh, this is a lovely post. I’ve had a growing fascination for London and your post made it more appealing. 🙂

  4. swashbuckled says:

    Thanks SS. It is a great city and I would never have moved away if I was rich! This post feels very long ago now. If you’re interested there’s a bunch of other travelly posts from various places on here, click the travel menu at the top. Nice blog you have too, by the way.

  5. Yes, I’ve heard from friends who’ve lived or stayed there on holiday that it’s a very expensive city. Clicking on your travel tag now (looks like I won’t get any work done tonight, tsk, tsk)

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