“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

And so said Samuel Johnson – essayist, author and poet – to his biographer James Boswell – Scotsman and occasional visitor to London. Would Boswell’s enjoyment of the capital wane if he were forced to live there, rather than enjoy London in tidbits?

London is a fantastic tourist attraction. There is so much to do here, eat here, drink here, see here, experience here. It is behemoth. A metropolis made up of a million universes. It defies the laws of physics in terms of matter it can condense into any given volume. Odd things happen to time here and odd things happen to your mind here if you linger too long.

London is a bit like how I imagine Blackpool to be – a head spinning and over-priced fairground ride – except people try to actually live life here. London is not designed for living in. When an average of two hours a day are spent in transit from A to B (A and B being anything including home, work, a friend’s house, the shops, a nightclub) a vast portion of life is wasted. Think of what one can achieve in an extra two hours a day. And think of what can be gained from avoiding two hours of potential stress. London is exhilarating. And so is Alton Towers, some may say. But would you want to live there?

After six years living in this city of parallel universes, it is still possible to escape your hamster wheel and become a meandering sight-seer, if only for an afternoon. Last weekend I wrapped up and walked along the river from Battersea to Tower Hill in that dazzling Autumn sunlight capable of nuking the cobwebs away. I ended up in St Katharine’s docks – its still marina and polished yachts a bountiful haven – and was taken by London down a rabbit hole yet unexplored. This rabbit hole was small, cosy and called White Mulberries. It had a wooden counter filled with newly baked goods, decent coffee and great tea. And with a window seat looking out onto the boardwalk and water, toasted cinnamon banana bread and 82% extra dark hot chocolate with a side order of sunshine, the city had yielded and given me nectar.

Less than a week later and I was treated to more nectar and guided to La Fromagerie – another wooden-interiored nook – off Marleybone High Street for a cheese board, marinated olives, hand-crafted caraway crackers and a velvet Grenache-Syrah Cotes du Rhone. A spanking good Ceylon tea from Richard Wilson and a moist and fluffy banana and chocolate chip slice of cake topped with even fluffier cream cheese topping made the week’s grime fall away.

A brisk and chilly walk up Regent’s Park later I arrived at St Katharine’s Church – Den Danske Kirk i London. The second Friday night in as many months I have spent in a Danish church, in fact. How bizarre life is.

Instead of Trentemoller, the church played host to Peter Schaufuss’ ballet rendition of our Bard’s Hamlet. Schaufuss was on hand to give an extended introduction to the performance – the production was conceived in 1998 and has been performed at Kronborg castle in Helsingor – and likened St Katharine’s atmosphere to that of the antic  surroundings of Kronborg. The church is beautiful, stone-flagged, hushed and simple – and its sketches of old ships and an intricate model of one hanging from the ceiling did not go either unnoticed or unappreciated by me either.

Hamlet was performed by a troupe of decent enough young dancers to the pre-recorded music of Danish composer Rued Langaard and an extremely poor quality recording of John Gielgud reciting Hamlet’s eight monologues. So poor in fact one had to pretend we were listening to Hamlet’s eight monologues.

I enjoyed the excursion to the very welcoming church and especially enjoyed that invisible language and emotion which only ballet can impart – a language that totally bypasses the conscious mind. But not enough to prevent me sneaking off at the interval to start the expedition back home over the river.

I rail against London. Against its chaos and stagnant air, at its people and their attitudes. But like the ugliest among us, it has beauty. The Shard does something magical to me every time I look East in the morning when cycling over Battersea Bridge. I enjoy how Chelsea Embankment and its river reflection always look like an oil painting at night. It makes some of the world’s finest theatre. And I suppose there is some comfort to be found in the fact that nothing ever really changes here – I can go away and come back knowing I have not missed anything. But none of that is enough to keep me here, as grateful as I am for the things it has given and taught me.

My kind of philosophy – how British!