So, a landmark post. Normally I try and do something impressive for this milestones but we’re only just getting in gear doing “mildly active” things, let alone anything properly impressive.
But I have had two exciting trips out lately, and as happy luck would have it, I was out of the house for almost exactly 3.5 hours each time. So 7 hours of adventuring for the 700th post. That’s neat.
The reason I was Out Out was that I was, somewhat inexplicably, summoned to Guys and St Thomas’ for my Covid vaccination. I’m not sure why – I had the kids at Tommy’s but haven’t been a patient there since. So, in late February, I left Highams Park for the first time in 7 weeks to go all the way to London Bridge for dose #1. With more of that happy luck, my friend and neighbour was also adventuring to Guy’s at the same time for hers. It was a truly epic day out after so much confinement. I even saw my office building for the first time since March 2020.
And then last week, I went to Tommy’s for dose#2. Sadly without my vaccine buddy this time as she’d been there the week before. But it still felt like an incredible day out and for such an incredible reason…the needle that brings with it the prospect of more days out in the future.
There were so many things to see and do along the way but here are 7 Incredible Things I wanted to show you. Some good, some poignant….but all incredible in their own way.
1.Taking in some classic London views
Gosh darn, I have missed Central London…and look at the gorgeous weather I had both times to stop and gaze at these views.
2. The M&S Food Hall and Disappointing Wasabi
I must admit to being slightly overwhelmed by the M&S Food Hall at Waterloo. I knew I wanted something but had no idea what…so just wandered around in a haze, staring at the sheer variety on offer. I ended up with cold gyozas, an Eton Mess dessert and, of course, Percy Pigs. I was totally underwhelmed by the food stall we know as Disappointing Wasabi in Liverpool Street but underwhelmed in such a familiar “this is real life” way that even that was enjoyable
3. Seeing what’s changed in South London
South London was our stompaing ground for so long and we haven’t had a reason to go to Tommy’s for ages, even before lockdown. So it was exciting to see the new(ish) Mary Seacole statue. Waterloo also has a new entrance, which is (I think) where the old one was before the old one disappeared for ages because of the new development. But now the entrance is back and also, all this new development.
4. The spookiness of it all
Much as I loved being back in Central London, one very Central London element was missing – the crowds. Being able to walk over London Bridge or along the South Bank on a sunny day without a single person in my path was…unnerving. And Waterloo at 5PM? Deserted. All very strange
5. The Covid Memorial Wall
This was incredible in many ways, both good and bad. It’s hard to visualise just how many people we’ve lost to Covid but when you see the number of hearts stretching all the way down from Westminster Bridge to Lambeth Bridge, it really brings it home. I have walked beside that wall so many times – with dawdling toddlers or kids speeding ahead on scooters and even once when in labour – and it’s a long path. So many losses. And yet so much love expressed in the messages written on each one of those hearts. Not to be crass, but Vision really did sum it up….”What is grief, if not love perservering?”
6. All the Emotions all at once
Oh gosh, these were emotional days. Such a sense of relief that the end was in sight and gratitude to the amazing scientists that developed the vaccine and the amazing NHS staff who engineered the rollout. Sadness looking at the memorial and thinking of all the broken families this virus had left in its wake. General overwhelmedness of being out in the world. Nostalgia standing outside the hospital where I’d first cuddled my babies who (they tell me) are no longer babies. Just all the emotions.
7. The world’s smallest zebra crossing
Just to end this heartfelt post on a facetious note – what the heck is this outside Tommy’s?
So, the arm is packed *full* of Pfizer now and, if I’ve timed this right, you should be reading this on or after May 17th when far more freedom beckons (it is all about the 7s). Use it wisely, think of Michael Gove when you have your intimate, friendly contact and let’s never stop being grateful that we have it.