When I first started working for FP, in 2003, I was overwhelmed by the fact that the office was on the South Bank, right by Blackfriars Bridge and the Tate Modern. I’d been In London for less than three years, at that point, and it was all still new to me – and wonderfully exciting.
In the intervening time, the South Bank has become as much home as anywhere else. There’s always something happening, from Christmas Markets to sand-pits in the summer, from the skate park to the London Eye, from mud-larking at low tide to the Waterloo Book Market and the tourist-crowds at the end of Westminster Bridge… it’s a wonderful place to work.
In 2004, I broke my shoulder, and (because I was pregnant) I had to sit at home, absolutely still, with my arm in strapping for six WEEKS (honestly, isolation doesn’t seem to bad), and the first thing I did, when the strapping came off, was walk down the South bank from Blackfriars to Victoria – an expression of pure freedom.
And two years ago, when the hideous heat-wave finally ended, I was beside the OXO tower as the first rain came hissing out the sky. Everyone cheered and ran for cover, except me and one other person, standing with our arms upraised and getting happily drenched.
It’s a place of so many good memories – layers and layers of times and people and conversations. There had been occasions when, in a more whimsical mood, I’ve wondered what it will look like in a hundred years from now, or a thousand, when the people are all gone…
And yesterday, that question was answered. Walking the emptiness was magical, strange. I heard the bells of St. Paul’s roll out across the water, and could almost imagine the Martian War Machine stamping upriver and bringing down the bridges – if it hadn’t stopped for a bit, to enjoy the sun and the quiet.
There have been many jokes across Social Media about what we all thought the End of the World would look like, and what is really happening. And if this really is the Apocalypse, then it’s truly full of beauty.