Me and Offsprog One had a late Portugese lunch in Vauxhall after I'd spent the morning marking (more to come tomorrow). It was lovely. I don't think I have ever had such a fresh Pastel de Nata, warm from the oven.
Afterwards I walked along the South Bank, past the long, long memorial wall for people who have died of Covid. I found a pen in my bag and wrote Julia's name up there, Julia Craik from the Premises. For such a good, kind and imaginative person to have suffered and died last year, right at the beginning: I was asked to run another song writing workshop there but I can't manage to, at least not yet. She was so lovely. So I just wrote her name in one of the waiting pink hearts and sent her some love.
Around the London Eye, it was very crowded and smelt of chips and cooking oil. What a dump the area around County Hall has become; perhaps a statue made of consolidated chip fat would be a good memorial to the odious Margaret Thatcher, who cheapened life and brought out the worst in everybody. Further on, outside the Royal Festival Hall, it wasn't so bad. I crossed Waterloo Bridge and walked up through Covent Garden, noting with sadness the closure of the Tintin shop, and later, up Tottenham Court Road, the big, empty grey windows of former Habitat, once a beacon of British optimism and sophistication.
People were thin on the ground, this end of town. There was a man, right down the other end, with a shopping trolley, yelling at the top of his voice. As I walked down the road to Warren Street he was following behind, making people alarmed with his aggression and volume. Should I call the police?
I saw the police 'stopping' someone last Monday, five policemen and women, and one civilian, who they had flattened on the pavement. When a woman came out from a nearby house to film them, they climbed off him, put the handcuffs away, sat the chap up on the wall and called an ambulance. His crime? Shouting. I spoke to him because I heard him saying that he didn't want to get into an ambulance. I told him it would be better to do that than to stay there with those five police officers, that he needed to move the situation on. I think he understood. They would have done him harm.
The Metropolitan Police are bullies, not public servants. I didn't like the look in the eyes of those police officers. Today, I wondered whether to simply wait for the shouting man, to ask him to stop shouting in case the police were called. I could not work out what was more important, his safety or my own. In the end, I decided mine was, but I'd like to be able to calm a person down at some point.
I need to learn how to do this.