Chilling By The River

After three days of full-on treats, and rather more walking than we’d promised ourselves, today is a fairly unstructured day. We are meeting friends for lunch, but otherwise the day is ours.

I am up before 5am, as so often happens, checking emails, chatting on Facebook and writing – I am amazed at how easy I find it to put words on a page when I am away from home. At my desk in Devon I can stare at a blank screen for ages before anything appears, but put me in a hotel room with a pencil and notebook and the words just flow. There must be a lesson in there somewhere. Maybe less keyboarding and more hand writing?

Michael goes in search of the Sunday newspaper before settling down with the phone for his weekly catch-up with his parents – just like being at home. I, on the other hand, find the early morning catching up with me and drift off to sleep – certainly NOT like being at home.

We meet our friends without a hitch – despite my misgivings that “the ticket kiosk in front of the London Eye” might not have been such a great meeting place to choose, given the huge crowds that seem to have the same idea.

Later we head downstream along the embankment, pausing to marvel once more at the myriad ways people are trying to earn a living: the troupe of African gymnasts are once again carrying a folded-up guy in a basket on their heads; a harpist and her band perform folk music on a Bullet Stage outside the Tate Modern; a giant Medusa head is carved and pounded into shape out of sand at Gabriel’s Wharf; a young girl plays the violin behind a sign that she is ‘saving to study’; rope structures are waved in the air to create streams of bubbles – I wonder if there is a word for a bubble artist; and the ingenuity of the living statues continues to astound.

We realise just how small the centre of London is when we reach the Millennium bridge – no longer wobbling as it did fifteen years ago – and find ourselves outside St Paul’s Cathedral. Deciding that even the concession price of £16 is a step too far on such a nice day, we retrace our steps and spend our own Sunny Afternoon drinking white wine and watching the world go by outside the National Theatre. A wonderfully chilled way to finish our trip.   

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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