Summer on the London South Bank
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986.
Ferris Bueller was right. Life does move pretty fast.
It’s always worth slowing down once in a while. After all, if we don’t take the time to enjoy life, what’s the point in living it, right?
Last week, my daughter Olivia had her latest hospital appointment to check on the development of her feet. She was born with bilateral talipes (also called clubfoot) and although she was lucky enough to finish her treatment early, she still requires regular check-ups to make sure her feet continue to develop normally.
Olivia is fortunate in that the hospital where she is seen is the best in the country when it comes to treating talipes – Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London – but it means that it’s always a full day out for her ten-minute appointment (not counting waiting times) because of how long it takes us to get there and then home again afterwards.
It was a hot day and, understandably, Olivia didn’t want to go to hospital. She wanted to enjoy the sunshine.
The journey we take to get to the hospital would take us past London’s South Bank and I knew the Beanotown exhibition was on at the Southbank Centre (until Sunday 8 September).
We would normally concentrate on getting Olivia straight to hospital and then home again to miss as many commuters as possible. On this particular day though, I decided to take a leaf out of Ferris Bueller’s book and enjoy the opportunity for some quality one-to-one time with my little girl.
We exited Embankment tube station and walked across the Hungerford Bridge, looking at and talking about the sights around us.
Reaching the other side, I saw that the South Bank was bustling – in a good way – and there was so much to do.
One of the first things we did was hop onto a carousel. Olivia also enjoyed a ‘joy ride’ and we discovered a beach (if I’d have known I would have taken a bucket and spade!).
We also saw some fun water jets spraying a group of delighted children and a multitude of scuptures to climb over/under and walk on top of. We had a great time and could have stayed there all day.
Unfortunately, the time came for us to leave and continue onwards to the hospital, but the experience made us relaxed and upbeat.
The hospital appointment itself was routine and, despite the clinic running late, we didn’t have to wait too long to be seen.
Afterwards, we strolled to the bus stop and began our journey back home. We even met my husband at the train station who surprised Olivia with a strawberry milkshake – a fabulous end to a fabulous adventure!
I would have normally skipped all of that fun stuff, concentrating instead on getting to the hospital and back in the quickest time possible. I think that single-minded focus comes from years of commuting in London, squeezing into packed commuter tube trains, having to concentrate on where you need to go and adopting a kind of ‘dog eat dog’ attitude.
It’s sad but true.
Life goes pretty fast and it’s easy to miss the joys and thrills and spills it can bring if you’re not careful. This day last week showed me that.
We enjoyed our summer’s day on the South Bank. We should make more of an effort to do fun days out more often.
We all should, shouldn’t we?