In Our Time

Seize No Day

When one is tired of London, said Dr. Johnson, one is tired of life.  I spent a week in London last November, a city I have visited many times and know well having lived a year there with my family while I was growing up.  The City of London remains largely intact, save for the erection of the new high-rises.  But beyond the City, the borough of Westminster, and that of Kensington and Chelsea (Tory strongholds all of them), London has been greatly altered since those days by radical demographic change and the cultural revolutions it has produced.

My wife and I restrict our visits mostly to those districts, and as they form an urban world unto themselves we never feel confined there.  In these three boroughs the wealth and elegance of London are concentrated; and it is hard to imagine anyone endowed with both to grow tired of their beautiful and exclusive world.  So I suppose they are content with it, while doubting nevertheless how much of it they truly see and experience beyond the excellent restaurants featuring every cuisine in the world, the lavish shops filled with the most exquisite luxury goods going for a king’s ransom, the stately townhouses facing upon gated parks, squares, and “places,” and the Rolls-Royces and Bentleys the size of small yachts.  The mobile telephones and earbuds do tend to detract people of all classes, high as well as low, from taking proper notice of these...

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