19 January 2014

A river runs through it

St Paul's Cathedral as viewed from the Millennium Bridge. The one in London, not Dublin. The bridge, that is.
The River Thames, London, 18th January, 2014
Back to Dublin on the red eye tomorrow morning, which I hope refers to the presence of a lot of sleepy people and not ravenous zombies. You'd think zombies wouldn't get past airport security given that they wouldn't let me bring on a pack of Kerrygold butter in Dublin Airport, but after seeing World War Z I'm no longer sure. Maybe they have different rules at Ben Gurion airport, but if letting zombies onboard is the price I have to pay for bringing my own butter with me, I think can live without it. Oops, spoiler alert there, Zekes on a plane, now you don't have to see the film. You can thank me for that later.

I spent last night with the Very Understanding Girlfriend wandering out and about on the streets of London, something that we so rarely get an opportunity to do together. We ended up down at the Thames, crossing over from St Paul's to the Tate Modern via the Millennium Footbridge. It's hard to see a map of London with the Thames snaking through it without hearing the opening beats of Eastenders, and yet living fifteen minutes walk away you forget that it's even there.

The Shard rises over London. It's quite big, but I think it's still compensating for something.
The River Thames, London, 18th January, 2014
I miss living so close to the sea. Growing up in Howth it's always been there, everywhere you look you are surrounded by it. I don't swim, and have no interest really in beaches and the like, but a childhood spent in its presence lets it burrow deep into your senses, from the sounds of the storms that rush in from the coast through to the aching damp you feel deep in your bones. It shapes who you are and what your sense of place is.

A river is a poor substitute, even one as grand as the Thames. But as you pull your coat up tight around you, shielding yourself from the biting chill that blasts itself up and along the banks and over and under the bridges that span them, you can close your eyes and for a moment be just as miserable as you were when shivering as a child, and it feels strangely good.

Nostalgia is funny sometimes.

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At 1:10 pm, Blogger Felicity Ford said...

I really love this wonderful piece of writing, thank you for sharing memories of Howth and the sea and connecting them with the beloved old Thames. What an atmospheric read.


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