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.