At around 6 o’clock on a weekday evening, London goes crazy. I have only lived here for a month or so but I realised quite quickly that it’s best to avoid 6pm. The streets are not safe, they are filled with a stampede of people who will walk right through you to make sure they get home in time for their dinner. It’s even worse underground, that is, if you can even make it underground. The entrances to tube stations grind to a halt as men in suits clog the ticket barriers and the streets outside.
No, London is no place to be at 6 o’clock. It is best to find refuge until the worst is over; somewhere like the garden of St Dunstan in the East. Formally a medieval church, the building burnt down during the Great Fire of London (it was located a few streets away from Pudding Lane, where the fire started). It was rebuilt and a steeple designed by Sir Christopher Wren was added, but the unlucky church was then bombed during the Blitz. Rather than demolish it completely, the ruins were turned into a garden.
Situated near Cannon and Bank tube stations, this beautiful garden is quite rightly packed during the lunch rush, but in the evening there are plenty of empty benches available to sit and while away an hour. In fact, when my friend and I visited yesterday, we only had a few magpies and a pigeon for company. Equipped with a Thermos flask of tea and two mugs, we were able to sit in peace, talk and rid ourselves of the day. All the while London was bustling away around us.
So, instead of pushing your way through the crowds of London to get home it is perhaps advisable, once in a while, to take an hour to relax somewhere beautiful and wait for London to calm down too.
Music to drink tea in a church garden to: