After all the London love that has poured out in the last week, let me just say that as I sit waiting to board my flight, an equal amount of anger and frustration are my emotions towards Heathrow. This miserable travel and transit conduit does not deserve to be called an airport, forget being called a global aviation hub.
Heathrow is the symbol of long queues, tardy hands moving through machines and baggage and the stiff upper lipped staff are convinced that their employment is a favour to the world moving in and out of Heathrow. To start with, the boarding pass scanner was not working and the lady spent more time on her radio than clearing passengers manually. Then only 50% of the security scanners were being used despite the weekend rush; and finally the staff operating the machines and checking the luggage were playing musical chairs leading to a human traffic jam ready to compete in the Guinness Book of World Records. It took 30min for my bags to reach me and by the time they did my brain had frozen watching the appalling functioning. I left the security check without my bags and realised when I found my hands too empty for a journey!
My possessions reunited with me, I called Bonsai. It had been a wonderful day to end this trip. The sun shone, the birds flew and there was a warm cheer all around. At Cutty Sark I sat and sipped coffee at the Gypsy Moth, a brunch pub I favoured, especially in the winters for its bright and cosy fire place. From there I made my way to the Greenwich market and scanned through multiple photographs of the city that made me smile, laugh, cringe and sigh. Picking up favourites I made my way back to the Wharf, ready to pack my bags and leave home, calling it so for the one last time. Enroute I could not resist and picked up my classic Cheddar and Ploughman Pickle sandwich, so quintessentially British and still a big comfort food.
Having bid adieu to everyone, I was all by myself with my balcony on Thames. Thirteen years ago I had come alone and set up a house, today I was to wrap one up and hand over the keys to the landlord. It felt a circle in life had been completed. Standing on the balcony, soaking in the view and the start of a new chapter, I captured some last memories and made my way to the waiting cab.
The city, through the years has given me a lot. This trip too I got all that I wanted from it once again, except for the one photograph of Tower Bridge that I could frame. I was lost in this thought when the driver turned left and I realised we were going over Tower Bridge and that too in slow moving traffic! My opportunity had come and I seized it in a blink. Two beautiful shots of my confidant of so many years and I felt satiated. Goodbye for a short while became easier.
The moon, in the bright sun lit September late afternoon skies seemed misplaced. I stared at it as we waited endlessly to exit the Motorway towards Heathrow. Maybe my leaving seemed incorrect to London. Maybe it is. Maybe I will return. Who knows? As they say, whatever will be will be, the future's not ours to see. Que sera sera...