An Old friend in London Town

What I’ll remember most about yesterday was the soaring temperature, the dry air and sticky skin, fidgeting and grinning from overwhelming excitement and anticipation and the shear relief of hearing an almost lost voice and having a hug I have missed. The last time I was in London was a little under a year ago and last time I saw Kat was a little over 2 years and 2 weeks ago. I love both immensely, for wildly different reasons but I don’t see either as much as I would like.

Kat was my roommate while I was studying in America, I hadn’t shared a room since I was eight and despised the idea of having no solitary escape. Kat made having a roommate not only bearable but a wonderful part of my experience in America. She made what had been a sparse and gloomy room, home by filling it with trinkets, colour, noise and friendship. When I finally returned to Britain and my own room, I felt like someone had ripped away part of my being, she had been such a big part of my life it was odd to now have a life and a room without her.

I can’t remember ever really doing the tourist thing in London but who could say no to that chance and seeing an old friend?? London has never disappointed me but to look at everything through the eyes of a traveller was incredible. No one cares that it is over crowed, with people rushing or the expense; we were idle and easy going, swapping stories, answering question (seriously who knew I could regurgitate so much crap about the Royals) and filling her in on a whistle stop tour of London and Britain’s culture and quirks.

We started at London Bridge before following the South Bank of the Thames to the Globe. I love it at the Globe there is so much history there and the white round architecture always amuses me. We than went next door to the Tate, which I have to say is an extraordinarily ugly building considering it houses some beautiful art work. Yesterday they also had a BBQ outside, expensive but good. We followed the burger with a walk across the Millennium Bridge (the one that gets destroyed in the Harry Potter films) to S. Pauls on the opposite side of the river. This is a stunning building and the  gardens at the beginning of summer smell fantastic. We strolled up The Mall to Buckingham Palace and down The Mall to Trafalgar Square where we people watched whilst discussing education, politics, art, music and sports just like when we were hiding in our room pretending to work.  We found time to squeeze in a visit to  St. James Park, Piccadilly Circus before it got dark and we arrived in Leicester Square  it got dark and finally we ate at a proper English pub (or at least as proper as it gets in London).

I loved every moment of it even when my camera died, particularly that I was acting like a complete  tourist. When I go to London I go to shop, to the theatre or an exhibition, for work, I don’t see London, it’s just another city. I adored yesterday because I felt like I was seeing bits I had missed and because I was with amazing people. I was with Kat and in a prolonged moment of a day, doing all those things was so much better. So here is the upside to being a bit older, I can afford to go to London and buy my friend dinner. I can spend the day doing nothing and it be a wonderful guilty pleasure because I can drop everything and still go to work the next day. I’m now old enough to have a friend from years ago who lives in a different country and maintain it.   

It’s good to get lost once in a while

No one likes to get lost, that’s why we have maps, sat navs and 5 year plans. Getting lost is unnerving and frightening; it puts us face to face with the unknown, the unpredictable and unsettles us. Everyone likes to be in control and it is comfortable to always know who and where you are. The thing about getting utterly lost however is that we can learn valuable lessons and occasionally it does us some good. Getting lost can be a wonderful experience.

There are some places where it is good to get lost, the best example of this is Venice. The only way to truly experience this labyrinth is to throw your map into the Grand Canel and go for a wander. Get lost among the ancient street and find all the riches that are hidden in this city. I think to truly know the rhythm of a city you have to get lost in it. Paris will always be a mystery until you found that one cafe tucked away down a forgotten street that you and you alone adore. One of the things that is on that list of things in my head I have to do is get lost in New York just for a little bit and watch the city rush by in all its vivid colour.

There are the times you get lost by accident, lost in listening to music that sings to your heart and in art that speaks to your soul. Everyone at some point has stared into space and meander through thoughts, lost, roaming over hundreds of ideas as the world has just slipped away. You can get lost in your own excitement and interest reminding you what it is like to be truly passionate about something. Then there are moments, moments when the world stops, you become lost in an instant that lasts an age, it fills you up completely and removes you from time and space, and you vanish from the earth.

Getting lost is about gaining a new perspective, strolling off the beaten track and finding your own individual way in the world, to look through your own fresh eyes and not through the used eyes of hundreds of people before you. Getting lost means you can find something new, something unique, it’s how you find that beach with no one on it, that shop with the amazing nik naks, that place with the chef who creates the best food and that view that you don’t need a photo of because it shines brilliantly in your mind.

The really good thing about getting lost is not just losing yourself in something because of your zeal, but just losing yourself completely no matter how terrifying or daunting that is, because losing yourself means you can find yourself. How are you meant to know who you really are until you lose everything you think you are? Sometimes you simply, for the briefest of occasions, have to lose yourself and for a scary time not know who you are, to then find that fantastic thing that is the authentic you.

Maps are great and plans are excellent, the problem is they don’t help us when there is an obstacle in our way. They don’t teach us not to panic when we are lost or come up against the unexpected, that sometimes you have to embrace the unknown, navigate the unpredictable, to throw away agony and just see what is around the corner. Plans and maps don’t change but people do and it is people who have to alter the maps and the plans. If you don’t get lost once in a while how will you ever know where you really want to go?    All things lost on my Tumbling Pretties

There are some things that happen once

There are some things that happen once and that’s it. For example everyone should go outside in the evening just now and look toward the night sky in the west if you are in the Northern hemisphere. You will discover that after the moon, Venus and Jupiter are the brightest objects in the night sky; they are there until at least Saturday side by side in the dark sky. A few weeks ago the Northern Lights were seen in Britain and my sister and I stayed up all night to wait for an opening in the cloud to see them. Okay so this is event is going to happen again and there is a chance I will see them again but it may not, this may only happen once in my life time. I think sometimes people are just too busy to notice the once in a life time things that will happen.

I could continue by telling you that every moment you have in your life will only happen once, and things like ‘you’ll never be as young or as old again as you are right now’ but I think that’s a bit clichéd. I am nevertheless a full believer in living in the moment and never regretting something you do because at some point ……it was exactly what you wanted.

There have been times when I have scarified a good night sleep for a night that was truly inspirational; a night I that will never get back or spent money I didn’t have to do something incredible. And that doesn’t include the time I have had to exert myself twice as hard in order to reconcile the time I spent on the unique experience I just had to have at that moment. I’m not saying working for a future is bad, I just worry that I’ll miss the life now, the moment that is once. There will be a life time of good night’s sleeps, of money saved and days worked hard. There will only be one moment to meet an idol, to watch the sunrise from a mountain to go somewhere you’ll never go again.

There is a possibility my children will never see the Northern Lights but I have stood in the dark and star gazed at the awesome night sky. There may be a possibility it will happen again, but there is a possibility it won’t. So live in the moment once, to live that once in a life time instant…. try it.

Picture Perfect

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and as much as I adore the written word there is something undeniably pleasing about those frozen moments in time. At one glance a photograph can convey complex and wonderful ideas. I have hundreds; I’m not good at taking photos, just catching the atmosphere and those fun-filled moments that only happen once. Photographs evoke personal emotions and refresh faded memories.

A single unmoving image can characterise the feeling of a nation or an individual, it can record the faces and emotions of any number of people. We are able to share photos like never before; in this digital age at every moment there are flashes lighting up the air. We cherish photographs that have hundreds of random strangers in the background. We share in the moment of strangers, the happy ones, the unique and meaningful moments that can never be replicated only remembered.

  I can spend hours being surprised by the soap opera of my family played out through these still images. They are strangely comforting with familiar and smiling faces gazing at you from a moment forever preserved. My favourite photos are often nothing special just a single moment of smiles, dancing and laughter. I would photograph every moment just to keep it safe and with me forever, just so I could smile one day with someone special as I tell them my own story.

Tumbling Pretties here