When my daughter turned sixteen, we had a mother and daughter day out to The Shard in London. It was a deal with hotel booking and The Shard paid for as one. Unfortunately, the day we arrived from the hotel, the lift in the tower was not working for the first time. We stoically returned to the provinces by coach.
My daughter was not impressed and neither was I.
A courtesy visit was arranged and we travelled by train which is far more comfortable. (On our way home, the train stopped and we had to walk 100 yards or so the nearest station. Two trains were finally organized according to one’s destination. We discovered someone we knew was on that train too.)
In the feature photo you see Tower Bridge. A lot of tourists think, mistakenly, it is London Bridge as it is by the Tower of London. It is a lifting bridge and traffic is halted when a tall boat or ship sails through. It was built in 1894–1896. Wikipedia calls it a suspension bridge. No, it’s a lifting bridge like the one near my home.
There were bomb threats here in the 1970’s during The Troubles in Ireland.
The boat you see here is HMS Belfast. It is open for visitors like a museum. The River Thames is tidal for many miles inland but here we are fairly close to it’s estuary. There are many blocks of apartments, they are highly expensive and a prestigious. Sadly, many Russians, Japanese, and Arabs have bought a lot of property in London which keeps prices very high indeed.
People who work in London get paid with what is termed London weighting. Their pay reflects some of the cost of living there. My sister was a nurse on the outskirts and we’d go shopping together. I had a friend who had been a private nurse for Jacqueline Dupres, the famous cellist. While I knew her she was a private nurse for one of Prince Charles’s godsons’. He had a castle in Scotland and a huge apartment in Holland Park. She drove me to Heathrow when I moved to the US in his converted MPV which had a bed, fridge, and microwave. He, too, had M.S.
I also used to stay with friends in Worcester Park, and at my brother-in-law’s former flat in Croydon. I did work in London for one week with my job. That was enough.
I am always happy to go to London and always happy to leave.
To the right in the background are the Walkie Talkie and The Cheese Grater, nicknames given to tower blocks because of their shape. There is The Gherkin further in near The City of London.
The City Of London is the financial center and where the Guilds (craftsmen professions, Journeymen) have their home. The City has its own Lord Mayor and a few other distinguishing features like parking rules. St Paul’s Cathedral is in The City and was occupied by members of Occupy London after the financial crash. Some of the clerical staff resigned after it was notoriously decided to evict the occupiers of tents etc. It was a huge argument about what a church is and does.
While we were up in The Shard, a storm appeared in the north above Wembley. We watched it roll over London and over us before it went out to sea. The rain stayed with us on and off. It was quite exciting to see the lightning so high up.
This is Tower Bridge seen from London Bridge. We went down to the Underground Station of the same name to get some lunch. The are armed police down there since all the terrorism in London and in the rest of Europe. We ate hot dogs and Cherry Cola.
Although this was August, it was overcast and raining towards the end of our visit. We got very wet walking back to Waterloo.
This is a theater on Shaftesbury Avenue which we walked through on our first trip. Cat Stevens grew up on Shaftesbury Avenue, which is very famous for its theaters.
One of many pubs in Covent Gardens/Soho which we walked through on the first trip. We had a good pub lunch in a similar hostelry.
On our first trip, we filled in time by window shopping on Oxford Street. It’s like shopping anywhere, despite the fame of it. But the brand stores are eye-wateringly expensive.
A month or so later, my daughter’s friend wanted her to go to London on their own. I forbade this unless an adult met them. London is dangerous for young women and Black people.
Recently, someone I have never met or seen, told me they love me. We only know each other exist because of the internet. I know they are well intentioned.
Love, however, is not an energy like electricity. If it were, there would be much less war, conflict, poverty, and suffering in this world. Love is varied and takes many forms.
Hopefully, the first love we know is that of the adults who raise us. Whether they are our parents, grandparents, or other care givers. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have this, but most go on to find love with their friends and then probably with another person with whom they ‘fall in love’.
Real love, for a child, an adult, whether they are our life partner or a friend, is an investment of our time, and worldly goods. Love wants good things for the loved one and does whatever is possible to give opportunities that are enriching.
Love between two life partners is often the easiest love, if it is real love. Compromises are made, one chooses the other’s preference and vice versa. It should be an equally balanced giving and taking. If illness strikes, love accepts this as part of the loved one.
Often, the most difficult love is parental love. Children become their own person, this can be a pleasure to watch and experience or it can challenge the parent. Loving a son or daughter who make choices that are hard to accept is painful. Some parents do abdicate from loving such an offspring, but most go on loving and hurting.
The cost of love is grief
Love can demand every ounce of patience and forbearance. It is patient and kind. It is generous unless generosity is foolish. It believes the best and sees the good but without rose tinted spectacles.
It misses the company of the loved one. It sits through hospital appointments, dance rehearsals, it sews costumes when sewing is not a strength. It drives to sports events, to court hearings, it celebrates the joys and weeps when it time for weeping.
So love makes us vulnerable. The one we love has power to hurt us, to use us. They may lie or deceive. They may vanish from our lives.
Of course, love brings joy too. We celebrate success, milestones, spontaneous moments, rituals.
Then please don’t tell someone you never met that you love them. You may have been kind, you may have been gracious, but love is something else. It is not an energy, but finds energy to invest the loved one.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” C.S.Lewis, The Four Loves
For four years Woodhouse wrote malicious notes to my various neighbours.
Her life is so meaningless that she checks whenever the house nextdoor was available to rent. She did me a great favour with the second one to those who moved in after she left. They moved out and ended the year of misery they inflicted on me.
The next neighbour showed me a note he got. He photographed it.
The police know who the malicious notewriter is, Ms Woodhouse.
I have not posted in weeks and yet each day since my post on 24 12 2021 up to eight search engines have been at my blog. The least is two search engines. Also twitter and Facebook. It must be the idiot police in my town. Or the malicious note writer.
Well, I am fine. I know you waste taxpayers’ money by acting on a anonymous note which mentioned me. That you could have asked me if I had had a problem, I could have told you no. That would have cost you one phone call. But you prefer to waste police time and money.
If we should love, I will not let our union be described as two letters in the same word. No, our love will describe, create, and bring joy. How useless a verb with no adverb – it is tied down while the world dances along. A noun with no adjective bores readers or ears. We will not be a ‘room’, unless a cavernous one with space for beauty and color, not a meadow except it be joyous with blossoms, riotous with shades of red, of blue, pink and yellow. We will not run unless it be crazily, fast or slow.
Do not bind me to you in one word, but let my meaning partner yours. A rippled pond, a mighty sound, a sleepy hush. Let us not be happy except wildly so, not fight unless with passion. Two words have meaning but a single word is hostage to itself.
I wrote this some years ago after someone described himself and his love as two letters in one word. I found that so limiting.