Yet Another Account Of Yet Another Weekend

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Today literally felt like the first truly relaxed weekend after a really long while. Which is odd because I can’t remember doing much over the last weeks at all and I haven’t been travelling either. So I put it down to feeling for the first time in a really long while that I won’t be having a horribly crazy week ahead. Life since I got back from my holiday in Turkey this august has been a blur – a series of no breakfast, lunch at desk, 10 hour plus (on good days) workdays, followed by the cleansing (i.e numbing) of the mind by television and the weekends of doing who knows what. There was a brief and sweet interlude in Thailand and India followed by the same craziness and frenzied work travel. Why do our lives move at such a fast speed?

Anyway, this weekend I woke up relatively early on Saturday. Relatively considering I was out with colleagues Friday and overslept on the night bus and had to walk back home in the cold once I did wake up. If only I had crossed the road I could have taken another bus but that never seemed to occur to me.

Something else that didn’t occur to me as I struggled to find my row in the cinema – first by the light of my iPad and then with the light from my mobile – was that in a seven-row theatre, row D is likely to be the fourth. I even asked a guy in the third row what the alphabet was. I realised how stupid I’d been only after I took my seat. My cheeks burning with embarrassment I finally felt I was proper awake. The movie itself, Nebraska, was great and I do recommend it.

I strolled down Mare Street and found myself face to face with Tre Viet and so had my second lunch of the day. The first had been leftovers from Thursday night.

Then a train ride to Central London (after accidentally walking over to London Fields which looked lovely with its autumn leaves laid out as dense carpets. The warm orange-yellow evening sky made it seem even more surreal.) and I was headed in the general direction of the National Gallery. Passing through soho, I lingered at the old books displayed on the street outside the store. Buying some shampoo at a hair salon I didn’t resist when the assistant wanted to show me how to make ringlets in my straight hair with a straightener. He put in two, I didn’t buy the product but walked about for the rest of the evening with ringlets in one section of my hair.

I reached Trafalgar Square. A street musician had started to play the opening notes of Spanish romance, I stopped to listen but he started chatting with someone and broke off. The gallery was open for less than half hour. So I ran up the stairs, passed through several eras by just crossing rooms and just let the paintings fly at me. I looked at some I knew and some I didn’t know and then the adoration of the Magi pulled me into its room and I wondered again why the other walls of that room were so poorly lit in comparison.

I went away at closing time and paid my respects to the Thames. I tried not to notice the whole world there. The eye looked grand. The river grander – dark liquid lit by scores of lights.

All the city has its Christmas lights on. It’s a magical wonderful feeling and this year doesn’t fill me with loneliness because I know I won’t be alone anymore in less than two weeks.

Moggie seems to have left me for good. She turned up just once over the past several weeks and that already has been more than a fortnight. Did I just dream that cat up? Once when I was returning home from work, I thought I spotted her in alley close to home. I ran calling out her name. I must have looked ridiculous chasing cats in dark streets with a can of milk in my hand (I’d just bought it since I’d run out) like some sort of cat stalker. Anyway it wasn’t even Moggie but that imposter that looks like her.

Photo from my birthday. At Richmond, by the Thames.

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An Afternoon In Luxembourg

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On a chance trip to Luxembourg city last week I took an earlier flight to walk about. It was cold and raining, made London feel warmer (if only by 2 degrees). I had an omelette and some local beer in a cafe, watching people go about their lives battling with the wind and the rain. Later I lost my way a little, but not for too long.

You never know if you’ll ever return to some places.

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Tourist For A Day

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London’s iconic landmarks make it very easy for us locals to take out-of-towners sightseeing. And no matter how many times you’ve done it, it’s not easy to tire of the walk from green park towards Buckingham palace (assuming you’ve avoided the changing of the guards ceremony) and then towards Westminster and the London Eye. The Thames looked smashing today, reflecting the lovely blue sky. The parks were full of crisp, fallen autumn leaves, the sun shining through the trees. We took the tube from Westminster station to South Kensington to take in the natural history museum. Winter is coming and the ice rink is up and running outside the museum.

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These Boots Are Made For Walking

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I’ve been doing something ridiculous. A sort of inside joke with myself, an influence of banal and excessive television viewing in my free-time (yes it was one of those modelling competitions where one lucky girl will win a contract and be the face of blah blah blah). Over the past couple of weeks every time I walk, I pretend I’m modelling an outfit. The idea is so silly that I have to laugh inwardly. But I make myself go through the charade and I’ve realised it actually does make me a bit more confident. It definitely works better than the time I used to pretend I’m invisible to other people. This makes me stand taller, hold my head higher, walk with a spring in my step (though that depends on what I’ve chosen to mentally model), and not avoid eye contact with people. It’s also a good laugh and helps to lighten the stress.

I thought it had to do with wearing my trench coat. But that I lost a few days ago in an airport in the Balkans. (There is something very sad about losing a coat, something that’s kept you warm and protected, has been your outer shield against the world, a constant travel companion, whose pockets your hands know well. Goodbye dear friend, I hope you’re with someone who loves you.) And yet I continue to mentally strut. I realised it’s to do with the boots. High heels that go klackety-klack.

I’m next going to pretend I’m a ghoul. I’ll float noiselessly pretending my feet don’t touch the ground. And that people are afraid of me when they can see me.

Disjoint rambling

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I’ve been travelling, I’ve been away. There’s been loads to write about and I’ve dealt with it by not writing at all. The past few months have had ups and downs, with the ups trumping the downs. I’ve got to travel a bit, not just because of work and I’ve taken loads of photos. Work has been crazy and months have gone by in a blur. I’m investigating myself for brain fog, causing much amusement among my parents and leading to a score of private jokes for them. Nice! It feels like my only time in my London apartment has been to do my laundry and cook up some instant noodles. That’s not necessarily true but it sure feels like that. I’ve been reading a lovely travel book and though the language and vocabulary is well above my grasp, I enjoy reading it. I’ve been taking the bus back from work because it slows down the pace of life a little bit and remains one of life’s sweetest, simplest and loveliest little joys. That and taking a ferry. I’ve discovered I love water ways and jumping onto a slow moving ferry, whether in Helsinki, London, Istanbul or Thailand melt away problems, both real and imagined, for some time at least. I keep realising everyday that all I want is to have a simple joy that will pay for my travels.

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