LAURA CARTLEDGE Life’s like That...Mindless few are destroying the pride of Britain as anarchy reigns

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London and I have a love-hate relationship.

I love visiting – wandering around a gallery or watching children chasing pigeons in Trafalgar Square.

But I hate the crowds, the rush, the noise. It always seems to knock the air out of me and it is not until the train winds it way back into more familiar countryside that my lungs relax.

In short I enjoy being there, but mostly because I get to leave.

This week I was going to tell you about my weekend away in London.

I was going to say how walking along the Thames amid the hustle and bustle of street performers made me feel like a child again.

How I watched in delight as entertainers captivated onlookers, saw Darth Vader deep in conversation with a Queen’s Guard and witnessed several Michael Jacksons out for a stroll.

And I was going to admit the tour of Buckingham Palace might have brought a tear to my eye, which is no mean feat as anyone who has watched Titanic with me will tell you.

I just felt so proud to be British.

And lucky to have such a strong sense of cultural identity, something a trip to the gift shop showed other countries seem to lack, as people filled baskets to the brim with anything with a crown on it.

But in a flip of a coin, or rather a flick of the tv channel – all those memories have been engulfed in the fires, riots and chaos which have consumed the city.

We may have been brought to our knees by the recession, but now the mindless few are attempting to burn and bury the little we have left.

The next flag-waving celebration certainly seems a long way off.