Last Monday, the first morning in the new house, I didn't sleep that well, so I got up with the workers and went for a walk. Of course, whilst moving, we'd been examining the A-Z quite heavily, and I'd noticed that the new house is on the same double page as Hampstead Heath, and as the forecast was for one of those lovely crisp autumnal days, it seemed a good plan. So after an hour and a half's fairly gentle stroll past Caledonian Road and Tufnell Park, I wandered up Parliament Hill and looked at the layered skyline over the City and West End.
That was going to be my walk, but it was only half past ten, so I headed off, half heading for Primrose Hill, with perhaps the hint of the idea to go down to the Regent's Canal instead. Two and a bit hours later, after glimpsing the Trellick Tower from somewhere in the vicinity of Swiss Cottage (which is one of the scariest bits of road I've come across in London yet) I was near the tower itself. It was somewhere around here I had this (not amazingly original, probably) thought:
London is fractal. You can look at one part of it (say, the area around my house in Islington) at a number of scales and, whilst there are bits that break the overall pattern (scummy housing, say, in a nice part of town, or a small block of shops), generally it's self-similar at differing scales. (I also like the influence on the geography of the city of natural features; the incursion into the north-east of the city where the Lea Valley reservoirs live, industrial areas around the contours railway lines stick to, and so on).
I carried on up to Harlesden, which is a pretty grim industrial area nestling in a knot of railway lines, run through with the more-or-less abandoned Grand Union Canal (Paddington Branch). It was a bit annoying to find that the train back from this five hour walk takes only thirty minutes, but that's pointless walks for you.