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More Joy: Steps - Laura Wise

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January 27th, 2012


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02:21 pm - More Joy: Steps
This year has begun with an avalanche of Things to Be Done, and it's taken me a week to dig out from under the last rocks. But here to start the weekend -- More Joy.

janus_74 asked me to talk about favorite places (plural!) in London. At first I didn't think I could choose: Cheyne Walk, any of the footbridges over the Thames, Somerset house, Hyde Park or Green Park or.... No, it is too much. But then I remembered one place, one small, seemingly hidden place, that is always part of my Embankment-and-nearby love.

I'm talking about a spot not far from Temple Place -- the Milford Lane steps.

Here's a straight-on view (thanks, anonymous flickr person!). Here's a better, medium-shot view, courtesy of another flickr person -- note the darkness of the staircase, the rise of the streetlamp above, the light beyond that.

If you want to see from inside the steps, if you want to see your way to the sky, scroll down to this image of Secret London.

Why do I love this fairly unremarkable set of steps? I don't know. Perhaps it is because they do feel secret. You can't find them on Google Maps or in the London A to Z. Cartographically there's nothing between Milford Lane and Essex Street, no way of connection. But if on foot you wind around in that maze of brick and stone, always with the river behind you, there they are. (I've always come upon them from Thames-side -- it would be a different experience, perhaps, from the Strand-side.)

Who knows what might happen if you walk up those stone stairs, aged by footsteps and water and time? Who knows if at some point you might slip from now to then, from sun to fog, day to night? Who knows what lies at the top, who knows when the river might rise again?

Cheers to all, and may your weekend be full of secret possibilities.

(32 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:mamculuna
Date:January 27th, 2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
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How delicious! That description makes me want to go straight to London to see them.
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From:laurawise
Date:January 27th, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
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I do love a secret staircase, and hidden doors, etc etc. :-)

Cheers and a wonderful weekend!
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From:janus_74
Date:January 27th, 2012 07:44 pm (UTC)
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Very interesting :) And now I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon reading through the Secret London webpage...
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From:laurawise
Date:January 27th, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
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Enjoy, T! Secrets are always fun to explore. ;-)

Hugs and a good weekend!
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From:headrush100
Date:January 27th, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
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You make the steps sound so good. We need more magic and mystery and possibilities in our lives these days.

*hugs*
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From:laurawise
Date:January 27th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
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I do like staircases, and doorways, and... ;-)

Hugs and a good weekend!
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From:freixenet
Date:January 27th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
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:drive by hugs: We will not in in your fair city this evening--D is flat out exhausted. But I send you hugs and as much joy as you can contain, and maybe just a bit more.
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From:laurawise
Date:January 27th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
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Happy weekend to you and D! Rest, recovery, and beachtime, I hope. :-)
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From:stateless82
Date:January 27th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
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oh! Those are wonderful, and I love how you write about them.
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From:laurawise
Date:January 27th, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, S -- and I hope you find joy rather than strained-muscle aches this weekend.

[hugs]
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From:kathyh
Date:January 27th, 2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
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I've lived near or in London my whole life and I had no idea those steps were there! Now I want to go and find them :)
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From:laurawise
Date:January 27th, 2012 10:36 pm (UTC)
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Heee! Best way to find them is to go to the east end of Temple Place and then take the small path north beside the Middle Temple Gardens. The path takes you to the steps. :-)

Happy weekend, K, with cool discoveries!
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From:anne_d
Date:January 27th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
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The stairs sound so magical, I wish I could walk them!
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From:laurawise
Date:January 27th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
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It's probably best if you bring the magic with you. Or a vivid imagination. ;-)

Cheers, A! Have a lovely weekend!
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From:paratti
Date:January 27th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Its very liminal:)

((hugs))
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From:laurawise
Date:January 27th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
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It IS! [beams]

Hugs and a great weekend, L!
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From:gwynnega
Date:January 28th, 2012 02:48 am (UTC)
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Those are marvelous! :-)

::hugs::
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From:laurawise
Date:January 28th, 2012 11:49 am (UTC)
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Thanks, Gwynne! :-)

Cheers, hugs, and a fabulous weekend.
(Deleted comment)
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From:laurawise
Date:January 28th, 2012 05:41 pm (UTC)
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Thank YOU, L!

Cheers, hugs, and a great Saturday for you. :-)
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From:stevie_carroll
Date:January 28th, 2012 03:14 pm (UTC)
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I should investigate those steps when I'm in London tomorrow.
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From:laurawise
Date:January 28th, 2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
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Pretend they're magic stairs, if you find them.... (They're really sort of unremarkable, if you're not me. [grin])

Cheers and a good day to you!
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From:justhuman
Date:January 28th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
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I *love* features like this in old cities and towns. Things usually privately enclosed opened up to the public. You're absolutely right about it being a potential magical gateway - not to mention a more practical escape route for nefarious activity.

Thank you for sharing :-)
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From:laurawise
Date:January 28th, 2012 06:46 pm (UTC)
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Yes -- there's just something about secret staircases, hidden paths....

:-)

Thanks, JH, and a happy Saturday to you!
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From:laurawise
Date:January 29th, 2012 12:23 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, C! No secret possibilities here, but opening up the spaces I have... ;-)

Hugs and strength for your week ahead.
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From:mobile_alh
Date:February 1st, 2012 06:43 am (UTC)
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"Who knows what might happen if you walk up those stone stairs, aged by footsteps and water and time? Who knows if at some point you might slip from now to then, from sun to fog, day to night? Who knows what lies at the top, who knows when the river might rise again? "

Hmm...the Shadow? Or really, perhaps you could use this locale as your next prompt for a ficlet? It seems perfect. Thanks for sharing!
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From:laurawise
Date:February 1st, 2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
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I'm reserving this location in case I do something substantial with the Lucifer Matches story. ;-)

And hee, the Shadow!

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