I’ve lost my mojo. It went about 3 weeks ago. My funny seems to have gone and everything seems to have been a bit more difficult than it usually is. I wake up tired and go to bed tired. I’m back to zero battery life and a bad attitude. Might have a little something to do with the fact that the last tooth is coming through and my small person has become rather Mummy orientated. She tries everything to keep me in the room at night. “Mummy lie down. Mummy blanket. Mummy hug. Mummy pink water bottle. Mummy Calpol.” It means that bedtime is drawn out and I’m not sitting down sometimes until gone 8:30. The evening just goes. Then after you factor in an episode of Versailles and a House of Cards, it’s pretty sodding late for someone that has a small, furry alarm clock that can go off anytime between 5:45 and 6:15.
This dip in normal service has also coincided with some horrendous atrocities in my beloved city, the place I call home: London. I work in the centre of London a lot. I travel by train, go to busy stations, travel on the underground, walk through places like Trafalgar Square, go drinking by the river. I have never given it a second thought. But my experience of late has been very different. Instead of marching through my city without a care, tutting and sucking my teeth at Tourists that walk 5 abreast across the cocking pavement (5 across. Come on people!!), and elbowing TEFL students and their orange rucksacks out of the way, I am walking down back streets to avoid crowded areas, I am getting out of mainline stations quickly so I’m not caught up in the throng. I’m also having terrible thoughts. What if something happened to me? What if I didn’t come home one night? I had a dreadful realisation the other day that I need to do my will to make sure my daughter is taken care off. That’s not the sort of thing I want to be thinking about on my morning commute. I am a born worrier and all of this has just exacerbated my worrying tendencies. I am still going about my business and I won’t stop enjoying my city but I am seeing it in a different way. The London Bridge attack really rattled me. It’s where myself and my husband used to live, down the road in fact. We used to go out in Borough Market and the whole area was part of our lives for over 10 years. It was an absolutely amazing place to live. Friendly, vibrant, eclectic, fascinating. I know those streets so well, the bars and pubs, restaurants, places of historical interest, the cobbled back streets and the beautiful walks along the river. I feel sick to my stomach that so many innocent people, enjoying a care free evening out in such a great place were murdered, injured or witness to some horrific acts. My heart goes out to them.
If I was not a parent I would be worried. Now, I have a two year old, with her whole life ahead of her I am really worried. I took her into Soho last week for a private showing of the new Fireman Sam Movie that I happen to be in. My husband came too as it was half term. We had such a magical day. She went on a train. She met Fireman Sam; both the voice and some poor sod stuck in a body suit. She got a phallic looking balloon flower which was bitten into on the journey home and burst in her face. And then to top it all off she got a Fireman Sam tote bag with Mummy’s character on the front and a toy and stickers inside. What more could a toddler want. Initially I was really scared of taking her into town but once we were there it was fine. I relaxed. We walked back to the station over Waterloo Bridge and looked at my favourite view. Then Saturday night happened. Would I walk across that bridge with her now? I’d do it but probably walking very quickly and constantly looking around me. It feels utterly ridiculous me thinking like this and I know that by doing that I am playing into the perpetrators hands but from now on, when I take my daughter into town I will be on full alert.
But my daughter already loves her city. Her favourite book is ‘Hello London!’. She loves Tower Bridge and the Queen and her palace and thinks the river is well exciting. When a double decker bus drives past there is incessant waving and trains are the best thing ever. When we came home from our trip last week she started singing one of the songs from the Paddington Bear film: London is the place for me. That’s my girl! Yes, it ruddy well is. It’s an amazing place to live. It’s been my home for over 20 years. It’s where I started my career, I met my husband, met most of my friends, bought my first house and had my daughter. Yes, I’m scared and I would urge anyone to be more careful when out on their daily business and by God, I certainly will be. But this is where I work and where I live and I ain’t going anywhere. If it’s good enough for Paddington, it’s good enough for me.