All the King’s Horses

February 17, 2009

London is a paradox.  Though it is undoubtedly one of the world’s most globalised cities, it is also a very old city, steeped in history.  And every once and a while, these two aspects of its personalities come into sharp contrast.   I’ve mentioned in a previous post that my work is occasionally disturbed by the very loud bells of a 17th century church which is just outside my office.  Today, my walk to the tube was disturbed by a parade of cavalry.  Crossing Elgin Avenue, the beautiful main street of our neighbourhood (pictured above), I was faced with 100 or so horses, their military mounts and several 13 pounder guns (small cannons).  They passed down my street, leaving in their wake a lot of horse poop and a good deal of backed up traffic.

In fact, this is not the first time that I’ve seen the horses.  They belong to the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, which are barracked just 5 minutes from our house in St John’s Wood.  They perform ceremonial state services (firing the guns on state holidays, for example), but also have active duty soldiers as members.    And of course, they also bock traffic and messy the street every once a while.

Animals in the city always seem a bit out of place.  Often, riding my bike home from LSE, I see one lonely giraffe in Regent’s Park (where the London Zoo is located).    He looks cold, and very out of place.  And once, one the way home from work at JPMorgan at 2am in New York City, my cab driver was stopped so a parade of elephants could cross Park Avenue.  They were walking tail to trunk, about 20 of them, including babies.  If I hadn’t read the next morning that the circus in town, I would have thought it was a late- night figment of my imagination.

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One Response to “All the King’s Horses”

  1. […] me to thinking about the fact that one of the reasons M. and I decided to buy a flat in the same neighbourhood of London we currently live in is that we wanted not maintain the social capital we had already built up […]

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