Final Day in London

After the initial shock of getting up and leaving the house before sunrise, the routine became easier throughout the week. I didn’t read the books queued on the Kindle, and I didn’t write blog posts every lunchtime in the Moleskine notebook. I just sort of “existed” – a small cog in middle of a much bigger machine.

It’s been a strange week really.  Not being in the office, and not being a member of staff at the client site has made me anonymous – coming and going with an “access all areas” swipe card. I only realised today – my last day – that I didn’t have to swipe the card to leave the building.

For several of the days I have walked from Paddington to Euston – to get a little exercise, a little fresh air, and of course to people watch. I commented to a co-worker at lunchtime about the huge diversity of people in London. While walking you pass perhaps ten different nationalities in every 100 people. That doesn’t stop a huge number of people being self-absorbed, rude, and ignorant though.

This morning a guy sat opposite me on the train and kicked me four times in thirty seconds. He didn’t apologise, and I didn’t react. Later in the day a middle aged woman walked straight into me in the station as I stood still to let her make her own mind up about what the hell she thought she was doing. She didn’t apologise, and I didn’t react. At lunchtime a woman walked up to the table I was sitting at in a cafe, and took the chair opposite me without saying a word – just walked up and took it. I stopped eating and stared open mouthed as she walked off with it.

Anyway – it’s over. The brief return to the city has come to an end. Tomorrow morning I get on a train with the children and set out for the depths of Cornwall to spend a few days with my parents. I confidently predict roaring fires, wine, junk food, and movies. I will also wrap the kids up like arctic explorers, and lead them on route marches to the beach. If the cafe is open we will hunch over mugs of hot chocolate, and laugh about buying ice creams in the winter.

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