IN LONDONCategory: Land + People
The next morning Tom found that the drizzle of the day before had been warmed and transmuted into thin layers of mist, which a Londoner might never notice, a haziness that turned streets and squares into watercolour sketches of themselves, a steamy thickening of the air that caught and held every smell, from the fragrance of the little flower shops to the reek of deep frying oil from the doors of restaurants. He passed these back doors because he spent an hour idly exploring, the complicated territory between his hotel and his cousin’s Ashtree Place. [...]
So to pass the time and to enjoy his street map — Tom was a map man — he. avoided main roads and streets, where the traffic was already beginning to build up and quiver with impatience, and turned down side streets or into those old Mews places. [...]
There was nothing historical, no guidebook stuff, in this region; but on this particular morning, with its haziness, its melting watercolour vistas, its occasional gleams of sunshine lighting a window box or a polished door-knocker, the whole urban conglomeration seemed magical. He felt as he had never felt since childhood that it might suddenly reveal a life of infinite unimaginable possibilities.
(From It’s an Old Country by J. B. Priestley)