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Project 2020: Week #1

31 December 2019

They have poetry on their trains here. This one accompanied us home on New Year’s Eve.

We tried to see in 2020 at Westminster. But we changed our minds when we saw fresh vomit on the roads and rowdy people who had a bit too much to drink.

I knew it was perfectly safe. We saw loads of police and paramedics working hard to keep us safe. But I didn’t want to be anywhere near it. I didn’t want our son to be near it.

So we came home.

It turned 12am when we were on the train. We knew it was the new year because our Sydney friends called to count down the seconds with us.

Then our son lost his wallet filled with his Christmas money, his father’s credit card and his British residency permit somewhere on the District line.

That’s it, we thought. It’s all gone. He would be lucky if his identity wasn’t stolen.

Our young son was distraught. We tried not to yell at him.

That was the start of our 2020.

1 January 2020

On New Year’s Day, we found out there were good people in this world.

Someone found my son’s wallet and contacted my husband through Facebook.

We went to collect it from him. Everything was still in there. Including all the Christmas spending money our son had saved.

We were so relieved and grateful. This man’s decent act made one young boy very happy. In such a big city where you expect the worst from humanity, it was heartening to experience a kindness like that.

Our son tried to offer the man some of his Christmas money to thank him. Multiple times. The man laughed and refused.

In 2020, I must remember there are good people in this world.

We donated to a British children’s cancer charity that night. My son said a kindness should be repaid.

2 January 2020

We bought a rug and a vintage arm chair in Putney today.

The sky was grey but it wasn’t raining. We carried the giant rug all the way home on the train. Eternally thankful there was a delivery service for the armchair. It should arrive home next Tuesday.

Spotted the stopped clock at lunch. We were at a hamburger place. Our hands dripped with sauce as we scoffed down our food and polished off our sodas.

“Just so you know, we can only eat out like this once a week,” warns my husband. “It can get very expensive.”

I looked back at the clock again. The red against the distressed white brick made me happy.

Don’t know why it made me happy. It just did. I took a photo of it. A keepsake from a cheap and cheerful lunch we cannot afford to indulge in often.

3 January 2020

Dragged our teenage boy to the Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A museum today.

Me: These clothes are exquisite, don’t you think?

Him: Yeah, well, fashion… meh…

I wish I could have told him he was looking at more than clothes. It was the first time fashion became democratised. The first time the elite didn’t set the agenda. The world had not see anything like it before.

4 January 2020

It was a glorious winter day. Our little family took a train to Kensington Gardens then walked to Hyde Park and back.

The winter sunshine was clear and bright. It would stream through the trees and glitter on the water. It was a sun drenched afternoon. We were bathed in light, and the air was cold and fresh against our cheeks.

Near Bayswater station there was also a Chinese restaurant that reminded us of our Chatswood home. Roast duck and crispy pork belly hung in the window. Against my husband’s better judgement, our family went inside.

The restaurant was warm and smelt delicious. The food was delicious too.

“Remember how we’d eat Chinese food almost every weekend after church mum?” our son asked as we left. He pushed open the door to the cold winter streets.

He made it sound like it was a lifetime ago.

5 January 2020

We go to church on Sundays. We’ve been attending one a bus ride and a short walk away from our place.

The people there have been welcoming and friendly. The teaching from the front has also been faithful.

This week the talk was about serving our community and trusting God’s ultimate plan for us.

There was a challenge to all of us to be a benefit to the the city in which we live, even if it feels far from home.

6 January 2020

Hurrah for unexpected treats!

We spent a quiet day at home today. I asked my husband to get ham and bread for lunch. He did a perfectly wonderful job. The bread was crusty and fresh. The ham delicious.

Then out from the bottom of the bag came this box.

“I thought you might like them,” he defended. “A little treat to go with lunch.”

It was a sweet surprise.

7 January 2020

The vintage leather armchair from St John’s hospice arrived! We fretted about it fitting through our narrow hallway, but we needn’t have. It fit.

The chair is worn in some parts, but I don’t mind. It looks like it has character.

I sat in the chair and waited for our son to come home from school. It was his first day back from the Christmas break and I wondered how he fared.

“Good,” was all he said when I asked him about his day.

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