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London Calling

A little while after the sun rises tomorrow morning, no doubt after gazing at the ceiling for a little while, I will untangle myself from the safety of the bedclothes, stumble downstairs to the shower, have a shave, pull on some clothes, and wake my eldest daughter. With a little luck we will make it to the railway station on the edge of town in time to purchase two tickets, find a seat, and sit in worried silence with masks on, and disinfectant gel in our pockets.

We’re going to London.

This used to be our thing. Before the world locked down, we would regularly travel by train into the centre of London and join the river of people flowing from Paddington Station into the underground – squashing ourselves like sardines into the trains far below the ground, before climbing into bright sunshine at the foot of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, and of course Shaftesbury Avenue and our destination for tomorrow – Forbidden Planet.

It’s been eighteen months since we last set foot within the city walls. We are not brave enough to risk the underground trains yet, so will walk from Paddington – tracing the path of the Serpentine across Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park – visiting the statue of Peter Pan, and experiencing our first taste of “life” since the world fell into shadow.

After a litte exploration of Leicester Square we might watch the entertainers at Covent Garden before making our way to Forbidden Planet – the biggest comic book shop in the country. My daughter will peruse shelves of Manga while I marvel at artwork, and wonder quite where to start. I’ve never been much of a reader of comics, but I’ve always admired their art.

I wonder what London will feel like after so long away, and after the events of the last year? Will the streets still be quiet, or will the people have returned?

Postscript – the visit to London didn’t happen. Anxiety got the better of my daughter – a journey she has been on for many years. Let’s see what the day brings.

15 replies on “London Calling”

I was chatting with a psychologist recently and she told me that last year was her worst year of work since she started in the field. And that is in a country that has been barely affected. I can’t imagine the effects in a place where people have been shut in for so long.

I hope your daughter’s mental health improves as things “get back to normal”.

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It’s hard to “ease back in” after this past year. My dislike of crowds has intensified and now that I know people spit when they talk, I like plenty of room. I doubt I’ll ever shake hands again. There are long lasting effects even for us “normal” people.

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I’m sorry that you weren’t able to go to London, though I will admit that the idea made ME anxious for you. Sigh. When you finally do make it, you might be interested in the Graphic Novels section. One that really opened my eyes to the genre is The Tale of One Bad Rat, by Brian Talbot or something like that. I have a section on my blog, book reviews, that is a horrid mess and I haven’t updated it in years, but there is a section on Graphic Novels for a challange I did probably 10 or more years ago…if you are at all interested.

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I love graphic novels. I have several indie graphic novels on the shelf alongside me – perhaps a favourite is a called “This One Summer” – a coming of age story about the summer a family fell apart – told from the children’s point-of-view. I’ll go check out your blog later this afternoon (after writing a blog post – I really am getting very lazy at this whole writing thing).

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Sorry to hear the anticipated London day out didn’t happen although I understand the anxiety over it. I don’t think I could go around central London right now, either. I haven’t gone anywhere other than work and the local seafront since the pandemic became life. The comic shop sounds interesting, though. Brian’s brother designed one that seemed to do well in comic shops and was given copies of it myself. It’s amazing the work and creativity that goes into them. I used to bring my nephew back one each year from the USA when I went. Can you even just get on a train these days and travel places like before or do you have to pre book every route as they socially distance the carriages?

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You can get on trains and buses – you have been able to for a long time. During full lock down they were asking people to only travel if they absolutely had to.

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Oh no. I’m so sorry the trip didn’t happen. This darn lockdown has done more damage to our younger people and anxiety than anyone could have anticipated. Hopefully, things will be better soon.

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I’m pretty sure everybody that has followed the guidance is thankful they have stayed out of hospital, and done their bit to slow the spread of the virus. My daughter has had anxiety problems for some time – we will return to London soon 🙂

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