I invest a significant amount of time just looking at London.
It is a hobby that gives me great pleasure; meditating on seams where young and old buildings join up, gothic Victorian ironwork, new bricks added in ancient walls.
There is evidence of working and reworking spanning centuries.
There are many who share this passion, studies of Flickr photos regularly place London at the top of the list of the world’s most photographed cities.
To fully appreciate London, and England in general, you have to know what it is that you are looking at.
For example, a deteriorating building occupied by squatters today inspired Charles Dickens more than a century ago to use it as a setting in Oliver Twist, an unassuming park the place where Virginia Woolf regularly took walks and a painfully bumpy bridle path (if you’re on a mountain bike) in the country the remains of a major Roman road.
It is a place where big history speaks in modest tones.