My London wandering didn’t start without problems. My morning wasn’t too joyous this time, I dragged myself out of bed at about 10 am and went to take a shower, I wasn’t feeling 100% positive about the day, and I didn’t know the reason. I have, nevertheless decided to leave the house at least at 11am to go see the laying of the flowers at the Second World War memorial in London, as it was the 9th of May, Victory Day in Russia. While walking to the underground station I was still considering just going off my route and heading somewhere else, forgetting about all the troubles in the world.
I stay with my original plan and go to Lambeth North station, where Imperial War Museum is located, and it is already the end of the memorial service for the Victory Day, the 9th May, where I see many war veterans, a few young Russians boys and girls playing in the grass right by their parents, who I should probably call young Londoners anyway, now that they are living in England and probably don’t even utter a word of Russian. There is also a buffet which I decide not to attend as I don’t really know anyone. I see people wearing St George’s ribbons – a traditional sign of WWII commemoration in today’s Russia. I feel like getting a ribbon too, so I pluck up a courage and go get it. I walk up to the table and ask a young man handling food about where I can find one. Without saying a word and whilst biting on a sandwich himself, he takes off his one and hands it to me. I smile and thank him, leaving the Imperial War Museum and walking towards The Thames with it, showing everyone that I remember. Not that people know about it anyway.
The little Russian picnic is behind me, but right in front I see Westminster Bridge in the bright afternoon sunlight, one of my favourite parts of London. The sun keeps shining steadily and I get thirsty and pop into a corner shop to get myself a can of cold Coke. I reach the bridge and walk along Southbank sipping the precious liquid.
It’s Monday, there aren’t too many people there, I look around and I see that the tide is out on the Thames and so the treasure hunters are on the beach and are looking for whatever it is that they are usually looking for.
I am walking towards that little ladder leading to the Thames, in the OXO building, and I see a tall curvy woman with a huge cup full of strawberries, cream and a 99p flake. I smile at her, feeling a bit envious. Next time maybe. I mean I had strawberries and cream before, not on Southbank, but still. That day I seemed to care a lot about the calories, absolutely forgetting the fact I just gulped through a whole Coke can which holds precisely 139 calories.
From the comfort of Southbank I watch two men carving sand sculptures for money. A sign next to sculptures reads: make a wish and throw us a coin. There are several metallic bowls on the ground with coins from all parts of the world lying around. From up here I see lots of 2p coins too – they are the easiest to spot. Some people don’t believe anything but still like throwing money to see where it takes them. These sandmen would have to work hard to pay the bills, the coins are there but they aren’t in abundance.
I see live statue people on their lunch break. The statue of liberty is chewing on a sandwich and sipping something from a cup from a nearby McDonald’s.
I see skater boys down under the Royal Festival Hall.
The graduates in the mortar boards up on the Royal Festival Hall balcony, the sun reflects in the Appearing Rooms fountain, and merrily lights up their happy faces. Isn’t it too early for a graduation week?
Dozens of people are out for a jog. I see a bloke promoting some new brand of tea as he runs after one of those joggers, whilst trying to hand them a brochure.
I get down to the beach, the ground, the sand, the river’s actual bank. My ballet pumps leave noticeable prints. I bend down and scoop a handful of that sand. The tiny grains run through my fingers, down on the ground as if trying to reunite with the mother sand, other parts fly off in the growing wind.
I walk a further hundred meters and stand right next to the water, on the pebbles. I’m not listening to music, I listen to the sound of waves that Thames boats are making. The London pigeons bravely splash through the shallow waters, whilst seemingly enjoying the sun as much as I am.
Thank you for reading.