Then suddenly it reared up, towering above the cheap, high rise blocks of flats. A wall of glass and steel, chrome and concrete, sharply defined corners and hard edges, bright lights, tempting, challenging. The City of London, the ancient Square Mile, city of dreams and towers, a city that can make or break you, destroy you and spit you out, or endow you with riches beyond your wildest dreams. Enter at your peril for it will surely change your life for ever!
I came to the City over 40 years ago, a young girl fresh from the provinces, weaving her dreams, with an exciting new job in the shadow of St Paul's Cathedral and an entire life stretching before her. A crisp, white page waiting for a story to be written on it. It's a rather tattered page now, with lots of crossings out, re-writing and notes in the margin but there's still space for more as I work my way through my story. I worked in the City for 10 years, met the man who became my husband, had children and moved out to the country, living the dream, and it has been a constant thread running through my life ever since, although the marriage has long gone. But life turns full circle and so last night I found myself yet again in the City of London, dressed up for a formal dinner with my partner at his club, sitting chatting with new friends and watching the dark waters of the Thames flowing swiftly past the windows on its relentless journey to the sea.
I rarely come into London now and it is an expensive treat but there is a sense that, after all that has happened and all the changes in my life, all I have gone through since I first came to this place, I am at peace with this great City. In the end it is a mirror. It can only do to you what your own spirit allows it to do.