Day 18 of 80 — Rush

Around London in 80 days

In these uncertain times, I need a lifeline and a horizon so I have — somewhat arbitrarily I’ll admit — set a date. April 1st will be my horizon ; my lifeline will be the 80 days separating me from it.

And as I cannot go around the world right now, I give you A Mad Belgian’s “Around London in 80 Days” : eighty impressions of London, eighty stories, places, thoughts from my experience of this wonderfully mad and maddening city.

Day 18 : Rush

Out of the way ! Nous sommes pressés !
Keep left, don’t stop. Please don’t look lost.
No time to explain, pas l’temps d’expliquer
Out of the way ! Nous sommes pressés !

It’s in a small town in France that I realised I had become a true Londoner. I was trying to walk through a busy market place and found myself incredibly impatient : people were slow, walking in a disorganised manner, getting in the way. I felt that I was being slowed down unduly ; didn’t have time to stand around all day.

Think again, Jen. You’re on holiday.
You are not actually that pressée
Why the impatience, dear, what’s the rush?
I’m now a Londoner, thank you very much.”

London is fast, it’s stressful, like Paris : people are on their way somewhere at all times. So stand on the left on escalators, don’t you dare stand in the middle of a tube platform.

A constant feeling of emergency
But I decided not to let it rule me
I’m from Brussels, a laid-back city
No need to let the London stress get me

So each time I go out, I take a deep breath, when I can I even enjoy walking slowly. And let me tell you, when you do so, the London you see is totally different. The new time-frame brings out other people : London smiles and friendliness, round a G&T or a pint of Guinness.

Out of the way ! Ils sont pressés !
Surtout laissons-les se dépêcher.
Let them hurry, let’s have a cup of tea
Out of the way ! Ils sont pressés !

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