The Knowledge …



I LOVE London cabs.

I caught a taxi home from the theatre tonight and it was a delightful journey.

That statement will mean more when I tell you I’m a girl that will go to great lengths to avoid hailing a cab when I’m home in Australia, as well as most other countries, which include walking great distances and negotiating public transport.

But here there was a cab available where I was and when I was ready to travel, it was clean with the passenger compartment smelling like a Provence lavender field in the middle of August, and the driver darted through the back streets with such expertise that I never doubted we were travelling anything but as the crow flies.


The driver spoke to me with cheer in his voice, knew how to get to The Dorchester without consulting a map or activating his GPS, and charged me the exact price that appeared on the meter without adding mystery tolls and fees.

It made me wish that every cab driver complete some localised version of The Knowledge, and then take pride in his profession.

It has been a royal day with guided tours of Westminster Abbey and The Royal Mews — Buckingham Palace’s stables — but instead of being all about love and weddings, which was the theme of the day thanks to William and Kate’s pending nuptials, it was about death.

I heard about all the gory and suspect ways that ancient royals died, and the disrespectful things their surviving relatives did to their remains to belittle their lives, and walked over the graves of people who seem like characters from historic novels rather than real people who lived centuries ago.

The day finished with a visit to the theatre to see the stage version of Love Story which, those who know the movie will tell you, ends with one of the main charters dying young which only went to reinforce the day’s theme of doom.

But the sun came out which, I’m told, is remarkably rare at this time of the year, so all my rambling explorations were done under a blue sky which made it all rather pleasant and only cold rather than freezing.

Visit the London website



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