Quite by chance and with fastest fingers first dexterity, the booking was made and I was due to stay in A Room for London in February 2012.
Having lived in London for most of my life and worked on the South Bank, I was already familiar with the river and its surrounds. What struck me, though, was the unexpected tranquillity of the experience. Hoisted, what felt like, several hundred feet above sea level, the Roi des Belges acts as the perfect vessel in which to step out of time.
As luck would have it, it rained for most of the first day, which seemed befitting of the ‘out at sea’ metaphor, and made us less-inclined to go ashore. We people-watched from a fantastic vantage point: commuters, tourists, students and others. All moving in various directions to various places with little time to stop and contemplate. The River’s bird life occasionally stopped by to pay a visit. We investigated the boat’s nooks and crannies and discovered fascinating curios, maps and books: the attention to detail was impressive, and transported the visitor to some otherworldly time and place.