Not Tired

I’m getting the tiniest bit restless. I don’t know why. But, it’s a feeling that has been hovering around on the fringes of my consciousness for a little while now and it’s getting harder to ignore.

A bit like all those floaty things in your eyes – not quite there, not quite not there. Annoying, but not really a problem. At least, not yet.

When I think about it rationally, and count off the things I have on the fingers and toes of all my extremities, I realise how lucky I am: loving family, good friends, interesting job, house that hasn’t completely fallen down yet, an adoration of dogs, an up-and-coming trip to Barcelona to see my boy, etc, etc, etc.

I have to admit that it doesn’t sound too bad. In fact, if I were to go on Wife Swap, the other woman might not give me my life back at the end of it.

So, why am I getting restless?

I’ve thought about it a lot, and talked it over with Tom. A lot.

He thought about it, a bit, and said:

You need a challenge or a hobby or something (that you can do quietly somewhere else and leave me alone). Ok, he didn’t actually say that last bit, but you could tell he was thinking it.

So I pondered, and examined, and reflected… and decided that he was right. What with the children grown up, and my book finally finished, and my diet dead, there actually is time for something else in my life. A door is opening.

But, on to what?

It could have been cycling, but some creep has stolen the tires off my bicycle. Both of them. Again.

Or it could have been wine tasting, but I don’t like the fact that you have to spit it out.

Or it could even have been bridge, if Tom wasn’t so annoying to play bridge with.

I toyed with the idea of joining a flute choir, and after some serious research, found one that rehearses nearby.

‘What do you think about me joining this’, I asked my flute teacher as I played him a clip from their last concert. After he stopped laughing, I’m really not sure at what, he mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like ‘in your dreams’. He has a point.

Ok, so perhaps that’s one for the future.

Professional cat feeding? I don’t mind cats. They aren’t dogs, but that’s not their fault. I would get to poke around lots of houses in the neighbourhood, which would be really good fun. The problem is that after you had poked, you would have to keep turning up to feed the cat. Hmmm…that could get tiresome after a while.

Tai ‘chi? Choral singing? Wood carving? Glass blowing? Marathon running?

Uhm…no, no, no, no and…definitely no.

And then a recently-moved-to-the-country-friend said: ‘Why would anyone live in this big, noisy, dirty city when they could live in peaceful bliss out in the countryside?’ Or words to that effect.

No mud, for one thing, I thought. Plus, shop windows to look at, and neighbours to talk to, and pizza places to frequent. Not to mention the occasional Art Trails, and major sporting events and festivals, and historic walks and…

…and then I remembered Samuel Johnson.

Yes, that Sam Johnson – English poet, essayist and lexicographer who once famously said:

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

His London, of course, was a bit different from ours, being in the 18th century as it was, but the basic sentiment still applies. I suppose. At least that’s what the London Tourist Board never tires of telling us.

And, he gave me an idea.

Try to do one thing a week for the next 52 weeks that can only be done in London.

That could be an amazing way to spend my newly-opened-up time. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I don’t want to just stick to my little bit of London, I want to explore all those parts of it I have never even heard of. Yes, lots to learn. Lots to plan. Lots to do.

It certainly beats cleaning the house.

Tom’s up for the challenge. In fact, he has been thinking along those very same lines for quite a while now and thinks that we should turn our findings into a book. He wants to call it something mundane like: 52 Things To Do In London.

Whereas, I already know what it’s called…Not Tired.

Any suggestions for fun, interesting, unusual, exciting, wonderful things to do in London anyone?

Not Leo Tolstoy (aka Eileen Riley)

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8 Responses to Not Tired

  1. Bob Arms says:

    Eileen, you are such a great writer. I am so looking forward to vicariously enjoying your London experiences. – Bob

  2. Cousin Margie says:

    Great idea. It is the same everywhere….the only time you explore your surroundings is when you have visitors. When guests come to Minnesota, I always discover new and wonderful things. You may have an empty nest, but you now have a full plate. Enjoy the adventure.

  3. Serena Perkins says:

    Johnny and I did a walking tour the other day, my old Mum was meant to do it but her foot prevented it, organised by Art Fund, we met at Tower Hill and walked through St Katharines Docks, to Wapping,, onto Limehouse and ended up at Canary Wharf. We were the youngest by about 20 years, always good, and absolutely loved it. If you find something like that, count us in!

  4. Imogen Graham says:

    A friend of Matthew’s has just spent the last few years travelling the length and breadth of every single bus line in Buenos Aires, has written a book about it and is now a celebrity on the strength of it. You could do that in London starting with the Clapham omnibus! Just think of the book deal!

  5. Sam Thomas says:

    Being a tourist in your own city (or adopted!) is fantastic & never to be underestimated. Two things that I’ve done that remain truly memorable are:
    A tour of the Tyburn Convent at Marble Arch, you just have to go there to believe it. A trip down The Thames on a cold, bright blue November day & knowing that the guide was just making a few things up as he went along – was it because he couldn’t remember or just a bit bored of telling the same story, no matter the real tourists were perfectly happy & we enjoyed the stories! And just walking around & keeping your eyes open. Can’t wait to read all about it!

  6. Tanya says:

    There is a book already….i have it but alas I am in Cambodia just now so cant recall the title but its great, I’ve lived in London all my life but the book has some new ideas.
    Recently I walked along the Regents Canal from Little Venice to Angel on a quiet week day and it was fantastic – would highly recommend.
    Enjoy your challenge, think its brilliant

    • Eileen Riley says:

      Those are such great suggestions everyone. Thank you so much. I’ve already learned about places I never heard of before, and I haven’t even left my front room. Yet! Yes, I’m sure there are several books already, but there’s always room for one more book on London…or maybe not. But, it will be fun doing the research.

  7. try visiting the London Charterhouse, one of the very few monasteries surviving from Henry VIII’s time (he gave it to a relative). It’s near Smithfield market. I believe they do tours every Wednesday afternoon. It was once visited by Washington Irving (Rip van Winkle) and it hasn’t changed much since then. The great thing is, no-one knows about it – it’s a very well kept secret. Well not now, obviously, because of your many readers, but you get the idea.

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