London's West End is weird. Semi-deserted, it still has some life, mostly restaurants, cafés and bars that have laid out their tables in neat rows for phantom customers. Sometimes there is a small group at a table having muted 'fun', but a lot of it looks like the definition of hope in adversity. All ready to go, but who has the starting pistol?
There are a lot of casualties. The Tintin shop is shuttered (I had gone to try to find a birthday present for my brother). Larger shops have large, pacing, uniformed security guards, which puts you off going in them. The clothes shops should be ashamed of themselves- utter trash is on sale, lazy designs that they thought they could shift because the Pandemic Pound was going to be so profligate.
Also, people have forgotten how to work tills- or maybe they all have new jobs now all the European workers have been chased away by the vile xenophobia promoted by the zombie government. In one shop, I couldn't buy anything because the person with the code to open the computerised till had gone to lunch for an hour. In another, a person was being very slowly trained to use the till and was talking themselves through the steps as they pressed buttons and checked prices.
I think we have all forgotten how to do everything. I met my Champagne Friend for tea and a walk, and it was so lovely to just sit and yak at a table in a place that wasn't my house. It was so exciting! I felt like saying goodbye to everyone in the whole building afterwards, but managed to just say it to the woman at the till, who seemed really pleased to have been communicated with.
We had a lovely walk and I managed to find my brother an alternative present, and even paid 20 pence for a carrier bag just because shopping for something that isn't food was such an extraordinary activity. Wow.