Notes from London on an April Day in 2020

This guest post is written by Thomas Shipley, who is riding out the time of COVID-19 in London.

A fog shrouds the world outside my window. There is no one outside and all is quiet except for the chirping of the birds. Inside, I find myself in a haze of unreality. I am not in a Stephen King novel. I am not in a Quentin Tarantino film. I am in the year 2020. Wildfires ravaged the Australian bush, Trump almost started World War III, and now humanity is facing a global pandemic. Worldwide shutdowns of travel and business. London is under lockdown. I am, though, allowed to leave the house to go grocery shopping.

I step outside into the cool British spring. As I breath uneasily under my face mask, the condensation causes my glasses to repeatedly fog up. I am in the heart of London – a city of millions – and it is eerily still except for the occasional passerby. I get to the local supermarket. I see a frail old woman in an aisle that was once was fully stocked with items such as laundry detergent. The store clerk sadly tells her there is none. Panic buying. We are scared, so we forage like squirrels do acorns in order to survive the winter. No toilet paper or hand sanitizer anywhere to be seen. Many basic necessities lacking. Is it selfishness? Perhaps. Yet, it is hard to undo thousands of years of human evolution. The pandemic eats away at the polite façade of our social order. I discover that crises such as this bring out the worst and best in people.

Staying inside for days on end, I lose my sense of place and time. I catch up with old friends that I haven’t spoken to in a long time. We have long conversations and we laugh. We talk about the virus. It infects our conversations. I wonder how long the pandemic’s grip on our daily lives will last. How long it will be until I am again able to hug my family and friends, dance, commute, and travel. I scroll through my social media feeds. Everyone is posting memes to relieve themselves of the anxieties that we feel in these unprecedented times. And yet – they are not so unprecedented. I remind myself that such plagues have regularly upended our sense of normality for thousands of years. The Antonine plague in ancient Rome killed many around the stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius, and yet he persevered. None of this is new. This too, shall pass.

I am grateful that I have the luxury to remain inside and isolate. Grateful, that I live in a developed country with a robust health system. Grateful for each day that I get to experience on this earth. I do not wish for easy times, but that I am strong enough to brave them. This pandemic has exposed our vulnerabilities. We had forgotten how fragile our existence is. We must learn from this and prevent it from happening again.

Sun setting in London on 03 April 2020

Odds and Ends of London

This is just a medley of different impressions of London.

St. Paul’s Cathedral charges GBP 18 p.p. entrance fee. We passed on that offer with only half an hour to spare before heading to the airport.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Some alleys lead to more interesting and quiet areas such as this courtyard area off of Fleet Street.

The bottom of the sign says: When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. – Samuel Johnson

Johnson’s Court in London

 

 

The Punch Tavern on Fleet Street in London

For the first time ever, we decided not to stay in a hotel, but a rental apartment while in London. We chose a good location on Fleet Street to make it walking distance to LSE for our travel purpose.

The frame above the door features the character Punch. Too bad I had just seen one like it, but with a white mask! There he was in broad daylight in a car near Fleet Street… He reminded me of one of the murder cases in the detective show Elementary which we like to watch.

Punch Tavern ceiling

The Punch Tavern features 70 different types of Gin. I tried the London Dry, Beefeater, and Bombay Sapphire. I’ve done my share. It took me two nights to down three of them.

London Dry

This was their vegetarian version of the Caesar Salad. My husband enjoyed his Shepherd’s Pie.

I opted for the Punch Baby breakfast, which was enough. At least, I got the beans and sausage with it.

Punch Baby Breakfast

The rental place above the Punch Tavern is in a good location. It was clean and comfortable. There are four windows in the apartment, but they only point to grey walls of more holes in the wall. But we weren’t there for the view anyway. I would stay there again.

While there, we also realized why we had to leave a GBP 500 safety deposit. Now we know, but this will be our secret. 🙂 The deposit was returned to us in full right away. We had been good.

London and LSE Graduation Ceremony 2017

Yes, the time had come for us to see our son graduate from London School of Economics (LSE) with a MSc double degree in Global Media and Communications.

This was taken on our first walk since arriving in London. We had two mostly sunny days ahead of us.

London Eye

We passed a little demo, rooting for baby Charlie, near this place.

 

LSE Old Building

The moment we had been waiting for. My husband and I did a High Five.

LSE Graduation Ceremony

We joined a very nice reception on the roof top.

The Media and Communications group posting for a photo.

Relaxed atmosphere.

The LSE is a good school, and will continue to serve its students very well.

Our next graduation ceremony will take us to Exeter University.

London in March

We stopped by Southwark Cathedral (formerly St. Saviour’s parish), where Shakespeare’s younger brother, Edmond, is buried. His burial place is marked by a ledger stone in the choir area.

Church

From the Thames River looking at the Gherkin.

London and the Gherkin

 

IMG_3195

Tower Bridge, London

Around Camden

Chalk Farm Road in Camden

Dressed for cool days in London, we came in winter clothing. We had sunny days, and after the first afternoon, we left our warm clothing in the suitcase. The young man in the photo was the reason for our visit.

On the London Bridge

Diese Webseite verwendet Cookies. Wenn Sie auf der Seite weitersurfen, stimmen Sie der Cookie-Nutzung zu. Mehr Informationen

Diese Webseite verwendet so genannte Cookies. Sie dienen dazu, unser Angebot nutzerfreundlicher, effektiver und sicherer zu machen. Cookies sind kleine Textdateien, die auf Ihrem Rechner abgelegt werden und die Ihr Browser speichert. Die meisten der von uns verwendeten Cookies sind so genannte "Session-Cookies". Sie werden nach Ende Ihres Besuchs automatisch gelöscht. Cookies richten auf Ihrem Rechner keinen Schaden an und enthalten keine Viren. Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf der Seite “Datenschutzerklärung”.

Close