You know those days when nothing goes according to plan; you miss the bus by ten seconds, you fail to see your friend in a crowded Starbucks, you lose a tenner when the wind catches it and blows it away? Those days when everything goes wrong? Had it ever occurred to you that there are the equivalent days when everything goes right, goes your way, effortlessly?
I had one of those sort of days yesterday, one of the ones where things go so smoothly and effectively you are waiting for the disaster that rebalances the universe. I had resevervations about packing so many things into one day but I figured I’d go with it and see what happened.
First thing that went according to plan was getting into London itself on time and no hold ups; second was finding a parking place at the Tower to drop off safely. Then we split into two groups; one going into the Tower and one going on a perambulation round London. Guess which I got? Right, the walking one. We walked. Over Tower bridge, along the south bank of the Thames, past HMS Belfast and back across over London Bridge and on to try and find the Great Fire monument. Easy. It is 202 feet high but then the buildings are higher…but there it was, exactly where we wanted it to be.
Retrospectively, given my dislike and fear of heights, I ought not to have risked going up as it gets narrower and narrower as you go up the 311 steps to the top…but I went anyway. I guess the Eiffel tower was in the bag, so this didn’t scare me…much:
Down again we headed towards the general direction of St Paul’s where we ate lunch and a drug squad undercover officer tried to arrest one of my students. Seriously. He thought better of it when shown the rollie was simply tobacco…One more thing that could so easily have gone horribly wrong…
Then onto the Tube for a short trip back to Embankment and rejoin the whole group to start the official walking tour. This was now 3pm and I said I could do the essentials in an hour. This was optimistic because there were two protest marches taking place and also they were setting up for the marathon. By that lovely blind chance we crossed Parliament Square a minute before the March closed it…Onward to St James’s park and towards Buckingham Palace. As if for us, they had shut it off for traffic so we could saunter unimpeded. Back down the Mall and towards Horse Guards. My heart sank as it appeared to be blocked till I discovered this was because they were changing the guards. In all my many (50+) London tours I have never landed here on time for this. Just as Big Ben struck three o’clock moments after I explained what Big Ben is, the timing could not have been more perfect . I nearly did myself an injury perching with my legs stretched out with a foot on a ledge either side of an arch to raise myself to a decent height to see over heads.
I finished the tour at just after four fifteen giving the students enough time for a quick trip to either Oxford Street, Chelsea football ground, British Museum or Covent Garden, and finally meeting them all down in Embankment Gardens at 5.45pm, and just as we counted heads, the coach arrived. We even had time to have a services stop to eat. OK, so it was Mc Donalds but you can’t have everything.
Not a perfect day by any means but a day of perfect timings. I wish I knew the secret of reproducing them….I’d have a great deal less anxiety in my life.