Farewell City. After about 20 years, I’m leaving the City and moving offices to Mayfair for work (same company different offices). Apart from a short gap at Canary Wharf, my 20 year working life has been in the City.
Despite the build and re-build of the City over the years to me it remains a human scale place. A plethora of curvy lanes with names going back hundreds of years pertaining to bread, milk and silk. Churches and guild halls. Ancient stone and modern glass.
To mark this farewell, I took a little time to be slow. There is plenty of fast pace in the City, mostly faster than anywhere I know save New York or Tokyo and perhaps the Seouls and Shanghais. Yet, there is still plenty of pockets of still and slow. People lazing in pockets of green. Prayer, meditation or bell ringing.
I took out my new license to explore the foreshore of the Thames. As a sign of the times (a reflection of the current tide in the City) of regulatory creep and litigation protection, you need a license to pick items along father Thames now.
The Thames is a tidal river. You need to check the times to know when it is safe on the shore. The current entry points to the shore are not obvious today but all hark to the busy waterlife the Thames has always had.
I pick along the easy south shore. I can see in javelin throwing distance, Thames Exchange, my first office at the tail end of James Capel already being absorbed into HSBC. And to the other direction, the office I am saying farewell too, which sits relatively new in this riverscape.
The water laps at low tide. The river is noisy. Boats and ships constantly moving. Sounds from the crowds of the tow path filtering down.
I move slowly. Partly as the stones and sand are wet. Partly as my eyes are spying out any shapes out of place. Partly as I’m taking in these moments. I stop. For a slow moment I commit the riverscape to memory, my first place of work, my current place of work.
I spot a bone. I can’t tell if it is fossilised or real. It has a certain weight and dark burnished hue which seems more stone like. A small cylinder clay shape lies half buried. A small remnant of the once popular clay pipes. A shard of pot, it may be newer or older I’m unsure. A rusted stub of iron, perhaps a large nail in another life
Bone, pipe, pot - the debris of our life passing us by.
I mark these moments. As for now, I bid farewell to the City, my damp footprints already vanishing.
Tempted to read more?… Imagine for a moment that you walk into a bank. There are 50 other people in the bank. A robber walks in and fires his weapon once. You are shot in the right arm.
Now if you were honestly describing this event to your friends and coworkers the next day, do you describe it as lucky or unlucky?
A story about delicious pressed duck and one of my only racist incidents in my youth.
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