So after the trauma of thinking I had lost half my family and would live a life destitutely and bravely raising my son by myself, we thought, why not more walking! So we walked to Borough Market, through a series of places crammed with history, and alternatively super new. Shockingly new. New as in it looks like a part of the Blade Runner 2049 set.
We walk over the Tower Bridge, a bridge that seemed to have too much building in it, for my tastes. A bridge should be a road over something. Not a road over something, and two towers that are also buildings, and a see through walk way, and ornate carvings everywhere, and memorial plaques every 5 feet or so. But this is London as I understand it, just dizzying me with it's history, it's, for lack of a better word, ornateness.
I'm not sure what this is saying but the world famous London Bridge actually is the most unassuming bridge of them all, looking like it came out of a real down and gritty movie shot in Detroit, 1977. Steel clad, low, just a road over a river. A proper bridge. But also, if I'm being honest, almost an eye sore, which feels bad to say but after experiencing the majesty of the Tower Bridge I guess I've become a bit of a bridge snob.
Borrough Market was charming and lovely. Lots of stalls of fusion food and selling things that look wonderous and enchanting on the table but I'm sure as soon as I bring it home and put it anywhere I'll wonder who bought that and why did they leave it there.
Then from there, the kids and I are beat. Beat down. Beat up. Feet just pulp, will to continue living in this world quickly going, let alone will to keep walking. But Mrs. Owl, the hiker of the family. And the If Something is Worth Doing Its Worth Doing Now person of the group, is decidedly miffed that we, her family, wish for some sort of reprieve, any reprieve, push us into the onrushing traffic just give us the sweet sweet mercy of Not Walking.
Which, of course, there is only one thing for it. We'll, uh, walk a shorter route. To St Paul's Cathedral.
It's truly magnificent. The sheer size of it, the dome, the gravitas. The fact I had to take a tylenol for the crushing foot pain I was enjoying. No no, it really was quite grand.
And from there we went for dinner with a second cousin we have here. It was lovely, she's the sort of bubbly personalities who can keep the conversation going at a brisk but not punishing pace. We caught up, although not completely, for we had to end our dinner early and see the world's longest running play, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap.
We bought up in the nosebleeds, statosphere. And I'm fairly certain St. Martin's theatre was made for the Mouse Trap, about 70 years ago, and never again checked for safety standards. Back when an asbestos blanket for your newborn was quite the rage, and shoe salesmen used x-ray machines willy nilly for fittings. Back when there were so few vehicular injuries, since most vehicular accidents simply ended in death to all invovled. That's the era this theatre was built in.
Or at least I hope that's the reason that the raking of the rows of seats were angina-inducing extreme. I felt like I was in a Dr. Seuss book where the audience seems to crane and arch over the stage. One got a sense of forever falling. The only thing keeping me in was a seat that felt like it was supposed to be made about a foot deeper. To add to the peril, the entire seat also seemed to be tilting forward, as if it wanted nothing to do with me and soon to be life paralysing fall.
I didn't fall. The play was great, with only a few anachronistic jabs at humour that made sense 70 years ago and not at any other time. But actors and delivery were fantastic, it was very Agatha Christie, and we left, threaded through the seemingly impossibly busy street and took a double decker home.
Now, traffic doesn't go terribly fast in London. It's just always going, everywhere, all at once. Against traffic signals that seem to be hidden, at best. It's also a city of brazen jay walkers, and bikers and e scooters and everyone is just in a terrible hurry. Being on the top, perhap the perspective is different but the bus driver (and every bus we've been in) seems to move with the aggression and speed of a ten year old hatchback driven by a teenager still convinced of their immortality. And there is something in the perspective, but some ofthe traffic gaps the bus weaved in,and some of the pedestrians darting in front of and past the bus had me thinking we'd destroyed at least 3 cars and killed enough pedestrians to certainly call for an inquiry, at least.
But we made it back, safe and sound, braced for the next day.