Barefoot in the City.

Not so long ago and not so far away, my father was my teacher. I learned from him in different ways; through lesson, observation and emulation. Amongst so many other things, he taught me to swim, I watched him work, and I copied his writing.

His was a glinting calm presence, a wordless reassurance that all was well. There was no room for naysayers, no room for fear. Where he walked barefoot, I surely followed. Summer was no time for shoes!

So it was that, last Friday, after delivering a presentation at a City institution, I said my goodbyes, shook hands, left the building, nipped round the corner and took off my business shoes. The relief! I walked on in flip flops, surrounded by the fellow-relieved in trainers

Sadly, the streets of London are not paved with gold, happily, my flip flops glitter – and that is close enough for me. I set off towards Liverpool Street station in search of a breeze, a drink and a train home, in that order. I was rewarded with all three.

I walked into Broadgate with my iced pink wine, to watch Wimbledon on the big screen. What caught my eye, however, was not the epic men’s semi-final projected in front of me, but the man confidently striding past barefoot.

I looked down at my flip flops and up to meet Dad’s gaze. We smiled and raised our glasses in a toast to lessons learned, not lost.


Sunset on a Good Day

Yesterday was a good day. To be clear, I do see most days that way; I can usually find occasion to smile and moments of gratitude. Unusually, yesterday was aware how good it was, too, and reminded me frequently.

Now, it’s almost daylight when I leave the house in the morning, telling me Spring is on the way. As usual, I traveled in to work on the top deck, front seat of the bus, with a good friend. Once on campus, we walked down together towards the lake, surrounded by many trees and few people. Then, he turned right to his office, and I turned left for coffee in the theatre cafe.

Served while I listened to the jazz playing in the background, I took the drink to my office. Since Christmas, I’ve been the only occupant. I like it that way and long may it continue. My day went from classroom to meeting to meeting to classroom with long enough breaks to walk from one venue to the next and no more. No time to waste or get up to any mischief.

For once, I consciously savoured that time, from my morning coffee, through my happy-hungover students, to my supportive colleagues and their great cups of tea. Starting the walk home, the sun was setting and I stopped to photograph those minutes when the sky is fiery and the trees are cutwork against a layered sky. Yesterday was a good day.