Out & About · Thoughts

Still South, Low Tide

From the Tower to St Paul’s

Yet another aspect of the art of taking pictures that I am yet to master is the ability not to feel like an utter prat while doing so. A self-confidence thing, I suppose. This time, experiments in clumsily fishing out the camera when everyone else around me is doing exactly the same thing.

The part that I most dislike is my concern that people passing me will assume I am a tourist. Mostly I’m concerned that I care at all, as opposed to concerned that London is my home now. Because, in truth, I come here on purpose to feel like I’m on holiday -since this is where we used to come on holiday. After my various disconcerting ENT appointments at Barts Hospital, I’d walk across the Millennium Bridge, pop into one of the cafes near the Globe, and then sit outside the Tate remembering the times I’ve sat here with my family, until I felt like I could keep going again.

This is a childhood spent scurrying around the Tower. Feeling dizzy in the Turbine Hall. Wishing I could see the view from the Shard. Forcing myself to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral, and feeling even more insecure on the way down. Queuing outside the Globe. Worrying we’d get our heads chopped off on the Tower Bridge tour. Going up St Paul’s a second time, and wondering what all the fuss was about. But mostly just walking up and down the South Bank: with my school, with friends, with a huge variety of family members over the years. This is the bit of London I know the best. And this is the bit that feels most exotic to me.

It’s been a funny old week. The sort where I’ve not known quite what to do with myself. So with an uneasy Friday afternoon to spare, I went to the river to walk it off.

The only thing I don’t like about this place is all the people. There are too many here for my taste. Which is perhaps unfair. Nevertheless, I made sure my pictures had nobody in them at all. If ever there’s an apocalypse, and I’m the last person in the world, this is where I’ll come, to see it empty for real. To realise it was mine all along.

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