Only people who live outside cities realize the size of them. London turns out to be huge; there are great swaths, vast panoramas, a whole diaspora I'd never imagined. The place I live in tends to be manageably small, a few familiar journeys and destinations.
London is a city of ghosts; you feel them here. Not just of people, but eras. The ghost of empire, or the blitz, the plague, the smoky ghost of the Great Fire that gave us Christopher Wren's churches and ushered in the Georgian city.
The one thing politicians will always vote for is more politics, so in 2000 they invented the post of mayor of London without ever really thinking what it was a mayor would do.
If New York is a wise guy, Paris a coquette, Rome a gigolo and Berlin a wicked uncle, then London is an old lady who mutters and has the second sight. She is slightly deaf, and doesn't suffer fools gladly.
The London police have discovered that the best way to neuter demonstrations is not to move everyone on, or disperse troublemakers, but hold them close, cordon them into a diminishing space for hours and hours, as a sort of arbitrary al fresco arrest.
The French are never happy coming to London; this is an ancient and comforting enmity.
A lot of London's image never was. There never was a Dickensian London, or a Shakespearean London, or a swinging London.
One of the small joys that's easy to miss in London is the blue plaques on buildings. These are put up to commemorate the famous on the houses they lived in.
When Americans come to London they usually say how much they love the history, the tradition, the splendid tumpty-tum of things whose very repetition has become their point.
London does two things for me: it makes me feel connected, and it also makes me feel very isolated and quite lonely at times, and that's someone with two children in their family.