So, I’m on annual leave. I wasted a couple of days just mooching around at home doing nothing much. But today was going to be different.
It was a sunny morning. I had London before me to explore. I had no firm idea where to go until I started walking towards the station.
It felt like a Covent Garden, Soho and Regent Street kinda day.
From Wimbledon Station, I took the District Line to Earls Court where I changed to the Piccadilly Line to Covent Garden Station. It was an easy ride. There were hardly anyone on the trains and I sat most of my way there.
There are only two options you can take to leave Covent Garden Station — either a lift or a 193 step staircase.
I took the lift and walked out onto the cobbled streets.
And there it was. Covent Garden markets greeting the city after a long lockdown. It was nice to see. I wandered down the side street. Doing nothing much other than window shopping.
I was walking towards Leicester Square when I came to a store called Lulu Guinness. There in the rather expensive looking shop window was a red lips handbag!
It was mid-sized and glossy. I realised the cheap and cheerful bag I bought on Amazon was perhaps a knock off.
I walked on and came to the park at the centre of Leicester Square. Yes, there are bronze statues there. But the flowers surrounding the park were so bright and beautiful, I had to take a picture.
Walking further on, I passed the entrance to Chinatown. I was getting hungry and the red lanterns did look inviting. I know Regent Street was waiting for me, but decided to take a detour for some food.
Walked up Wardour Street to see what I could find.
There were lots of red lanterns. And a Vietnamese restaurant called Vietfood.
I sat down and ordered a bowl of pho and some water. The waiter brought over the fish sauce without me asking! The noodles and broth were delicious and the entire meal only cost about £8. Not bad for London prices.
There was a lovely German woman and her Vietnamese friend who sat at the table next to mine. I tried not to listen to their conversation. It was difficult.
When lunch was over, I paid and walked towards Piccadilly Circus.
I saw the familiar fountain and the red London buses going around the circus. Who knew things would go up a notch just around the corner as I hit Regent Street.
I’d only been here with my family during the evening to see the Christmas lights. It looked very different in the daylight.
It wasn’t so much the expensive shops in beautiful old buildings. It was the people who walked up and down the street that made the place interesting.
I wish I had the guts to take out my phone and start snapping away.
Many were impeccably dressed. Men in beautifully tailored jackets. Women drenched in designer labels.
Spotted one man at the lights with perfect hair and orange rimmed sunglasses. He had a rust coloured jumper with a green stripe near the hem. Over the top he wore a well fitted navy coat.
He was saying goodbye to his lover. I saw them embrace and heard him tell his boyfriend how much he loved him as I crossed the street, passing them on the way.
I walked further up Regent Street in my oversized jacket remembering how pleased I was when I spotted it for about £30 at H&M in Wimbledon.
Then I saw her.
She was tall and slender in her black trench coat that was rolled up at the cuffs to reveal a tan jumper at her wrist. She was walking with purpose to get to the other side of the road. She wore black stockings and polished black ankle boots. At her neck was a scarf striped in bright block colours.
Her black hair was swept up to reveal a long slender neck and expensive looking earrings. I couldn’t help but turn my head to watch her pass. She looked like African royalty.
I checked the clock on my phone. Our son was going to be home from school soon. I wanted to spend more time people watching, but I knew I wanted to be there for him more.
So I came home.