It was a bright and cloudy day, perfect for wandering along the Thames with Little One in the early morning. Even at 10 am it was almost empty; we shared the cobbled walkway with a couple of pedestrians and a flotilla of seagulls. We listened to Big Ben chiming the quarter hours ("Bing bong!" said Little One) and watched the waves ripple over the low-tide waters of the river.
Thick, fluffy clouds scudded across the sky. The sunlight flashed morse code: sun, shadow, sun, shadow. The city winked back: glimmer, glint, glimmer, glint.
I wished I knew what the sun and the city were talking about... what was their secret conversation?
Little One and I met a friend and we shared hot, buttered toast, berries, and lattes (but only steamed milk for the littlest of us). Then, we covered our faces with "mer-may" (mermaid) stickers, much to the amusement of the clouds and the city; they winked and blinked their approbation.
It was liberating to do something so brave. It took a lot of courage to pack up the stroller, bundle up my almost-two-year-old and take a thirty minute train journey into the city.
"I studied there, just across the river." I pointed out the building to Little One. I used to wander those streets every day with visions of art in my head.
"Wow," she said. It is her word for anything she approves of.
All it took was a short train journey to open up our eyes. I had forgotten that London was right there, spread out like a fairy city, just beyond the doors of Waterloo Station.
Flags of Love flying above Royal Festival Hall