Friday, February 20, 2009

Life and death in London

Perhaps I should count myself lucky that I missed the heavy snowfalls in London earlier this month as my friends tell me that they hardly left the house and couldn’t even go to work on some days. It’s zero degrees when I arrive and the air is fresh-fresh.

I’m here to meet my godchild. It’s the first time that I get to hold a baby and... what a strange feeling. Little Luke looks like a baby doll; only he likes to stretch his mouth into a big toothless smile and already knows how to put on a voice that would help him get anything from his mommy. I have never seen Kim so wholly besotted over someone, except perhaps the love of her life, James.

There’s an herb garden outside Kim and James’ place in Bromley South and there, right next to it, lies a giant ball of ice – the last remains of a snowman, says Kim. When we feel like a change from cuddling Luke in front of the TV, we decide to take him for a walk around the area. Bromley South is a suburb with lots of breathing space. It’s close enough to central London to still get a spark of its energy and far enough to feel a touch of the countryside.

Luke is dressed up like an Eskimo in all the knitwear from his grannies. The pram has a cover that keeps out the cold. I guess it’s true what they say – any weather is perfectly fine if you have the right gear. We pass Woolworths on the way and I notice that it’s all closed up. Kim says it went bankrupt because of the credit crunch and that it’s not the only store in trouble. Britons really are feeling the financial cold this year and not just a bit.

By the time I have to leave again I too am besotted over Luke. I thought 100% attention 100% of the time would be too much to ask from me but I suspect that babies have a free satellite connection to that maternal instinct.

I get a bit delayed on my train back to Gatwick airport as there is a death on the railway. This is a life and death visit which makes me remember all over again what a gift it is to be born into this world, what a miracle to survive into another day and that it is important to know that it won’t last forever.

Carpe Diem.

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