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My Love Letter To London

February 14, 2015
by the gentle author

Photograph of Fashion St 1990 by Alan Dein

London my love,

I loved you from the first moment I saw you and I can never forget how beautiful you were then.

Over all these years, as I have got to know you closely and we shared a life together, I grew to believe that you belonged to me.

Yet you have changed – and sometimes now I feel you are being taken away from me – but my love for you has never wavered even if, when I no longer recognise you, it fills me with grief.

Looking at old pictures of you, I realise you have always been changing and I was infatuated when I believed you belonged to me, because I thought foolishly that I had discovered you for my own.

Please understand, I do not blame you for seducing me, because I wanted to be seduced – and knowing I am one of countless thousands that have been seduced by you does not lessen my affection for you.

If I am possessive, it is because I want to protect you from those that would exploit you.

You have been through a lot – things that have formed you and things that have damaged you, but they are part of who you are and I cherish it all.

My old love, please have the courage to resist those who tell you need facelifts and want to tart you up with expensive trinkets.

They want to pimp you out and put your prices up, so you will be only for the rich.

Then you will have to turn people away, when you have always embraced all comers, including me – and that is what I love about you.

TGA xxx


48 Responses leave one →
  1. ROBERT GREEN permalink
    February 14, 2015

    I have never been abroad, I very rarely even leave the capital, I was born in LONDON, and have spent my whole life in LONDON and I will die in LONDON, and I wouldn’t want it any other way, because I LOVE IT.

  2. Robson Cezar permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Happy Valentine’s Day and Love to London and you! xxx

  3. Ros permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Oh gentle author, how I agree, on this Valentine’s Day and pretty much every day now.

  4. Kelly permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Dear Gentle Author,
    Every exquisite post from this most beautiful, human blog is a love song to your London town. For those of us who have yet only dreamed of it, seeing London here through this lens is such a gift. Thank you for helping others to know and to love London, even from a far. Much love.

  5. Lucas permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Happy Valentine’s Day to TGA and London from across the pond!

  6. Joe Clarke permalink
    February 14, 2015

    My sentiments, so beautifully put.

  7. February 14, 2015

    A wonderful love letter to London! I am sad that I don’t live there anymore, and always miss my hometown. Valerie

  8. Elizabeth P permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Always thought of writing a love letter to London! You have done it beautifully! Thank you!

  9. February 14, 2015

    Lovely <3
    xxx

  10. annie permalink
    February 14, 2015

    My feelings exactly. Even though I can no longer live there, London is my great love. I am real when I am there.

  11. Christine Osborne permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Simply the loveliest Valentine ever x

  12. Jaki permalink
    February 14, 2015

    <3 Happy Valentine's Day TGA xx

  13. February 14, 2015

    I too hold a torch for the city I grew up in, studied in, made my first home in and then sorrowfully left. Nothing compares to it. There are smarter cities, prettier cities, all sorts that could be levelled at London for comparison but little compares. Despite the rain, the grey, the hassle of getting around, London accommodates and tolerates and it is this largesse that creates the richness of experience and until recently opportunity. I can always tell someone who has spent time living there especially in the inner city. It shapes a person, a mind set, it teaches us to look beyond our own limitations. Your amazing blog keeps me connected to this worldview and I thank you for it x

  14. Maggie permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Beautiful. We all love ‘our’ places, believing our short glimpse of them is the way they should always stay but London is different. I only lived there as a young student nurse aeons ago but even I, from hundreds of miles away, can see the truth of this.
    If only the rich can afford to be there, the heart of here – that glorious melting pot of people – will ripped out of her.

  15. Ben permalink
    February 14, 2015

    a beautiful photo and a beautiful letter

  16. Victoria permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Dear TGA,
    Your love letter to London encapsulates the very essence of Spitlefields Life, the social cause. Happy Valentine’s day to you and the other readers! xx

  17. Elli permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Wonderfully put Gentle Author, I agree totally. I no longer live in London but its still in my heart and I miss it so much. Love to London and to you on this Valentines Day

  18. February 14, 2015

    Absolutely stunning words, I walked around the streets a few weekends ago and really nothing has quite as much soul. Love lasts forever.

  19. February 14, 2015

    I fell in Love with London in 1978, when I made my first visit. After I enjoyed it three or four days I felt I have to leave London again and enter the English Countryside…

    I think it would be the time now to return once again to London Town!

    Love & Peace
    ACHIM

  20. February 14, 2015

    *** Happy Valentine’s Day! ***

    By the way: Lots of Love & Peace to Viscountess Boudica of Bethnal Green and all others
    from
    ACHIM

  21. Jill ELjadi permalink
    February 14, 2015

    St Valentine’s love to all. Visiting London right nowxxxxx

  22. Margaret permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Thank you for expressing so eloquently the feelings so many of us have for London! We need to cherish it and hold onto its beauty and originality. Above all, we need to be anchored into our history to know who we are!

  23. February 14, 2015

    London deserves great lovers and you are one of them. Loved the blog

  24. Vince permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Lovely London Town. Always my Sanctuary. Always in my Heart. Always Resilient x

  25. Barbara permalink
    February 14, 2015

    There’s no place like it ! My heart will always be in London. xxx

  26. February 14, 2015

    I am with you all the way! Best city in the world!!

  27. frank hadley permalink
    February 14, 2015

    I echo your love letter to london, as samuel johnson said WHEN A MAN TIRES OF LONDON HE IS TIRED OF LIFE. i am london through and through i just love the place.

  28. Roger Carr permalink
    February 14, 2015

    I agree with Belle. Blame it on my youth – I only lived in London for ten years and I’ve been in New York for thirty, but London gets my Valentine and always will.

  29. Pauline Taylor permalink
    February 14, 2015

    You have the most wonderful way with words, and although I have never lived in London you have made me realize just how the thought of what is happening to her must tear at your heartstrings. I am not usually a city person, but perhaps because of all my ancestors who have lived there, I feel a compulsion to understand London’s history, and you are helping me with this so much. Thank you and Happy ST Valentine’s day!

    Pauline.

    Lovely photograph too.

  30. Bee [Tingey} permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Born in LONDON, met and married the love of my life in LONDON, moved to the countryside but my heart and spirit is and always will be in LONDON, so proud to be a LONDONER.

    LONDON deserves that beautiful Valentines Love Letter.

  31. Judith Haxton permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Brought a tear to my eye !!! Love to London and to you Gentle Author.

  32. Tanya Ambrose permalink
    February 14, 2015

    I too love London. I have been coming to London from Canada for 50 years, sometimes 2 or 3 times a year. My daughter moved to London and is now a British citizen, living my dream. I bring friends with me to share the less known places that I learn about from my daughter and from TGA. I never tire of London. It makes me happy in all its seasons. One of my favourite times to visit is in early spring when forsythia are blooming along the underground from Heathrow while Canada is still trying to shed its winter chill. These days I have to keep my eyes down. The shard was ugly enough but there are too many bizzare buildings popping up like poison mushrooms, monuments to greed and corruption. I hope you can take back the true character of London before it turns into ugly Hong Kong.

  33. Christine Carder permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Thank you GA beautiful words,although I have pretended otherwise London was the love of my youth and still walking those streets,lanes,squares and parks gives me so much pleasure and happy memories.

  34. TO Clark permalink
    February 14, 2015

    Perfect

  35. February 14, 2015

    So beautifully put. It brings a tear to my eye and makes me miss my hometown so very much.

    Happy VD to you!

  36. Brenda permalink
    February 14, 2015

    I have printed this and will carry it with me always. I was born in London and was taken to the country at the age of 8 by my parents for ‘better life’. I come back regularly to visit, my family go back more than 300 years on London and my roots are here. I am nearly 69 years old but one day I will be back for good.

  37. Barbara permalink
    February 14, 2015

    All that I think and feel but could not express in such an eloquent way. Thank you for the tireless way you bring past and present London so alive to us.

  38. Linda M permalink
    February 15, 2015

    Beautiful! When I visited London last autumn, I took a trip on the Thames, and remembered the stories of the mudlarks and the hard graft that generations of my family had done as lightermen on the river. It was such a joy to experience that connection, I will never forget it. Until I can return, I find both solace and enlightenment in reading your fascinating posts.

  39. Jan permalink
    February 15, 2015

    I arrived in London aged 30 and for the first time felt I could be myself. You feel all the energy around you, and in a short tube journey you can go from a dirty old suburb to the most expensive part of town. It really does feel as if it belongs to you. Whatever happens to London, even being burnt down, bombed or built over, it still retains its character and always will. Thanks so much for your tribute.

  40. February 15, 2015

    What a beautiful letter. It expresses wonderfully so many things that I have often thought in my muddled fashion. And it is up to all of us to try to keep the feeling alive.

  41. armier permalink
    February 15, 2015

    When a tunesmith crafts a beautiful song, one that forever expresses something I’ve never before found a way to relay, even to myself… Well, that lullaby becomes a treasured thang.

    Today TGA, you’ve written a love poem that supplies same kind of necessary magic.

    Its a wee gemstone, that (like brenda above) I’ll carry with me always.

    RA

  42. Viv permalink
    February 16, 2015

    What a beautiful article, TGA you are a master with words!!! Thank you.

    I lived in London, Westminster, until I was 21 and then we had to move out. We ended up in Beckenham, boy did I miss London even though I worked there. Unfortunately we could see what was happening in London even then. It was always an exciting city to be in and yes, quite right, it had a vibrancy about it and it used to hum, the sound not the smell!! It saddens me no end to see how it is today!! I am an Australian now and absolutely love the place, but am unbelievably sad at what’s happening in the UK today.

  43. Sal Shuel permalink
    February 16, 2015

    XXX

  44. February 18, 2015

    Only just discovered this wonderful piece of writing. I am so jealous because I wished that I had written it! It’s exactly how I feel about this great city of ours. Yes it’s changed, yes it no longer belongs to the chosen few, yes we all ( in some way) want it to come back to us and be how we remember it to be as a child. But…we still LOVE it!

  45. Loraine permalink
    February 20, 2015

    Dear Gentle Author,
    Another heartfelt post which encapsulates the feelings and emotions of so many of us.London holds such power and magic over those of us who stop and stare amid all the rushing.If you look closely, as you do, she will smile back at you and reward you with a multitude of thoughts.Occasionally she will proffer a glimpse of what went before and place you in the footsteps of Londoners now long gone.You have the ability to still hear their distant voices.Thank you so much for a wonderful post.
    Lorainex

  46. February 22, 2015

    If I shed a tear at reading your post it is because I too have a deep endless love for The Old Smoke.

    It is without question.
    It is profoundly emotional, which is sometimes not logical but I don’t care.
    It is and forever will be unending.

    This proud, ancient city which welcomed my eastern European Jewish ancestors into its East End heart holds me there also and I don’t ever want to let go.

  47. Martin permalink
    February 25, 2015

    My heart is still in the heart of London. Love it.

  48. Stephen permalink
    March 24, 2015

    I have just discovered your site, and I think I might loose my job if I can’t stay away from it during the day.
    My first visit to London was when I was a child growing up in Scotland back in the late 70′s. I then moved to Canada and thought no more of it till I spent my summers between college terms in London. As soon as I graduated I moved back and lived there for most of the early 90′s.
    Eventually I had to move back to Canada for family reasons, but I’ve been back almost every year since. I have many great memories of London and plenty of friends, of which only a handful were actually born in London.
    I just read your love letter, and as I was reading it, I was nodding my head yes to every single line. I sometimes hate to see some of the changes that are happening, but as you said, London has always been changing, so that’s given me a little solace.
    I may have been born Scottish, but London is part of me. It runs through my blood like the Thames through London. I don’t think I could ever be without it. When I’m not there, I’m always thinking about it, and in 22 weeks, I will once again feed my addiction.

    Thanks for sharing
    Stephen

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