Finding my way in London

London tour guides

Here in the UK, “orientate” is actually an acceptable verb. And it’s one they use often.

You've got to be quick

The London Underground map is a thing of beauty, but this is not that map.

winter parrot

There are flocks of wild parrots in the parks,


but the true avian symbol of the city is the crane.

green wall

Cities are made of walls. In London, these walls rarely stay in one place for long.

London brick

London is built on clay and with bricks made from that same clay. No wonder everyone seems so self-absorbed.

talking Shakespeare

Statues stand by to call us on our mobiles

fountain app

and fountains let us control them with a sweep of the hand.


One art college puts its students on public display

Grant Museum scientists on display

and a natural history museum incorporates its staff into the exhibits.

Jeremy Bentham pub

The spirit of Jeremy Bentham is everywhere,


his panopticon an accepted dimension of British life.

Regents Park 4

A squirrel can’t gather leaves for its nest without being followed and photographed multiple times.

watched by the ancestors

Someone is always watching,

King's Cross

someone is always plotting their escape.

Matthew Flinders and Trim

Dead white men are still lionized

Paolozzi's Blake's Newton

with their mighty compasses

Cock Tavern sign

pointing the way to the Age of Enlightenment.


I’m still not sure how to bridge that gap.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. I love this visual/verbal summary/assessment. So how does it compare to the USA?


    1. Thanks. Gosh, where to begin? I’m not actually the best person to make such a comparison, since I’ve never spent any appreciable amount of time in a large US city.


  2. On re-reading I realise this is a poem as well as a succinct portrait of London. Hope you don’t mind me borrowing your last photo – it popped into my inbox just when I needed it!


    1. By all means. I think I still have a Creative Commons license at Flickr. Regardless, as long as you credit me you’re free to use or modify it however you like.


      1. Thank you. I did credit you and provided a link. Lots of weather! Hope you brought waterproofs.


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