Before we lived in Bristol, we lived in Wapping, East London. It was the start of our married life. It was just us, and our old dog. It was a very joyous time in my life, I loved it there. Frankly, it made me feel alive, every single day. I ran. I mudlarked on the Thames Foreshore every week. I met my husband from work for strong drinks in dark bars. I saw Tower Bridge every single day. I’m a Mancunian with London deep in the heart of me, wearing my love of Bristol like a big coat!
Last week, because of work, I stayed overnight at Shoreditch House. A private member’s club and hotel, it sits squarely in the epicentre of Shoreditch, somehow managing to dominate the street despite its very discreet entrance. It’s an absolute exercise in luxury London style, and was a real treat. I’m only putting one photo here, of my bedroom (number 21 if you’re planning a stay, is internal facing, therefore quiet, and quite roomy for a ‘small’ listed room). You’re not supposed to take photographs at any of the Soho House properties, you see. My favourite aspects were the chunky sisal carpets, the body-drenching rain shower, and the Cowshed products. The rooftop, heated pool is something else. It really is. As is the bar. I felt far from home, a mum with a rucksack in a Seasalt Parka, stranded clutching a flat white in a foreign land! Very few places raze me to my bare status, but Shoreditch House did.
Before I arrived there, I walked streets so familiar to me and let the memories buoy me along. The cold-lit warmth of Spitalfields at night. All Saints, still dotted with browsing shoppers at 8pm. The Golden Heart, the Commercial Tavern, even Shoreditch Station where I would wait excitedly for D after work. It’s such a wonderful part of London. I met a great friend and we ate at Rosa’s Thai, packed in amongst the gossip and the cold-eared couples warming up. We thought about Dishoom but the queue was huge. The queue!
I boarded the East London line in the morning, cheerfully joining the commuters as if it was my first time. London smelled incredible. The trains sounded beautiful. The dance across Commercial Road to avoid cyclists was thrilling.
And then, I went to work, and by the time I was back at Temple Meads, I was someone’s mum in a parka again, looking forward to the smell of the hair of the baby we made in East London and a hug from the man I married and loved there. A strange, wonderful 24hrs.