A few weeks ago, I went to a humanist naming ceremony to celebrate the birth of a child of a friend of mine. One parent is German Jewish and the other is non-denominational Sierra Leonian/Nigerian.
At the quite small celebration, which took place in an Welsh Cultural Centre, there were guests representing five continents. We listened to music and ate food that represented the cultures the child was born into – with a Welsh Male Voice Choir practising in one of the other halls.
The ceremony was a beautiful acknowledgement of all the cultural elements that make up this child and its place in the world.
I know this probably happens in many different places over the world but for some reason, it seemed to me like a particularly London kind of event.
She is oft-maligned, this city, especially as the violence grows but there is as much goodness to outweigh the badness. She is a haughty maiden aunt – a little stuck in her ways, but prone to shock – wearing her shabby shoes underneath a finely tailored dress.
I have lived other places – urban and rural, in the UK and overseas. I have never found anywhere with as much heart and disinterested acceptance as there is in London.
People like to deride her, she is an easy target. Of course life is better, cheaper, safer in the ‘country’. But she’s seen a lot, this city. I doubt Edwardian, Victorian or even medieval London was safer. And she’s been good to me.