Yes, I was naive, thinking my return to the business battle field would be relatively relaxed. I reverted to my old 12 hour (minimum) day on the first day. It stayed like that throughout. Two long haul flights in five days have left my mind and body a little discombobulated. I watched several films on the ‘planes, most of which disappointed. I enjoyed The Book Thief but I yawned my way through The Invisible Woman, which relates the story of Charles Dickens’ love affair with a young unmarried woman. I had hoped it might be entertaining but alas, my great expectations were dashed. I can’t quite make my mind up about The Best Offer. I quite enjoyed the story but the ending was not exactly difficult to guess. I looked in vain to see if there might be a screen adaptation of And Then Like My Dreams…………… not yet.
I was pleasantly surprised by Cathay Pacific – much improved since I was a frequent victim. London was distinctly chilly and overcast, although not as overcast it seems as Hong Kong which greeted me back with a storm. Après moi, le déluge?
I took some photographs on my sole free afternoon. It was Sunday so the streets were relatively deserted. No bookshops open, no restaurants beckoning me in. Just the odd coffee shop. To be honest there was an extensive range of haute cuisine available at the railway station, where even on The Lord’s Day people squint up at the departure boards, hoping the 11.53 to Colchester will be on time, or perhaps the 14.02 to Much Binding in the Marsh. Travellers are by their nature optimists, destined to have their good nature tested to the breaking point by the vicissitudes that are the very essence of the British rail system and weather. I was happy to wander around and take a few snaps with the X100s I had tucked into my luggage. Before we get to the Kodak-copia of fine art I would like to warn you that exiting Britain through T3 at LHR is not now for the faint hearted. For the first time in my life I was tested for explosives. Very politely and with a soupçon of humour and to the relief of us both I am sure, I was officially semtex negative. I shall add it to the piece of paper that records my blood group.
The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street bears this splendid lion’s head.
It is unusual to see Leadenhall Market so empty.
The somewhat grimy roof of Liverpool Street Station
Ants on the move. I had several goes at this as I needed a longish exposure to get some movement but I forgot that the illuminated boards were changing. This was the only one where they seem not to have done so.
And a touch of nostalgia. I worked in this building for many years. Indeed my desk was one of many that was covered in shards of glass and debris after an IRA bomb went off. I forget now which one. Maybe the Baltic Exchange. And I sat in here when the IRA bombed The Stock Exchange, 2 minutes walk away. Now called, with stunning originality, Tower 42 (it has 42 floors), it was then the iconic NatWest Tower.