"London is a roost for every bird," Benjamin Disraeli.
We all have our own London. It might be among the sharp suits and smart eateries of Notting Hill, the arty, casual types of Hackney or Hoxton or perhaps the greenery and relative calm of suburbs like Hampstead or Greenwich. Wherever it is, it is hard to escape the conclusion that just now London is a city at the top of its game. It is, as it has for hundreds of years, growing, re-stocking its population, revitalising its landscape, renewing its confidence.
The people are its greatest resource. "The World In One City" was the slogan that won London the right to stage the 2012 Olympic Games. For once, you can believe the hype.
Once you have seen the Bangladeshis in Brick Lane (also known as "Banglatown"), strolled down Brixton market with its English, African and West Indian influences, or eaten Turkish food in Stoke Newington, there are still the South Africans and Australians to visit in their new enclaves in east London, and the grand Sikh temples in Stratford and Neasden. See how each claims their territory without ruining the fabric of the city.
Witness the architecture of the royal palaces and Trafalgar Square (now free of dive-bombing pigeons), but also the modernity of the cigar-shaped Swiss Re building (dubbed the Gherkin) in the City, with City Hall (often compared to a headlamp) and Tate Modern, the reclaimed pumping station turned modern art house, on the south side of the River Thames. And then, of course, there is the river itself: an unpredictable, evolving marvel, much like the city itself.
... and the novel to read