Before I delve into the mild frustrations of this week, let me just say that I intended to have more heartwarming and empowering pictures of various anti-climate change signs from the second global climate strike protests to show you. I was too sick to go to work on Wednesday and Thursday (see mild frustrations below) but I dragged my sniffling, coughing self back to the office on Friday, partly to stave off the totally ridiculous guilt I still feel when taking totally understandable sick days, partly because our house was being deep cleaned ahead of officially moving out on Saturday morning and partly because I was, fortunately, feeling a little better. It was also because I knew if I was too sick to go to work, I was too sick to tramp around in the rain with other do-gooders in the hope of making a point.
As the clock found its way to lunchtime, I readied myself for another protest. Charged camera? Check. Raincoat? Check. Slightly guilty look for leaving the office to spend my lunchtime on a protest after I’d been off sick for two days? Sure. I just kept reminding myself that the future of humanity is more important than my corporate writing job.
I arrived at Westminster some fifteen minutes later and headed towards Millbank. Immediately, I noticed that there were far fewer signs than last week. I expected this week’s protest to be smaller, sure, but I’d seen on Twitter that enormous strikes were still happening around the world in earnest, so I presumed that one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities would have something going on.
And yet, there was nothing. Seriously. Perhaps I just missed it, but I had arrived at the same time as last week, so it seems unlikely. I had Googled the strike in advance and I’ll admit that pickings were slim regarding information, though I did definitely find at least one article on a major news website saying that there would be a strike at Millbank on September 27. I walked around for a little, and have one sole photo of the single ardent anti-plastic protestor, though it wasn’t good enough to make the cut for this week’s pictures. But other than that, everyone seemed nonplussed. I don’t want to be a cynic, but I am surprised that there was not more action on Friday. It makes it seem like caring about these issues is a fad, which is a problem. But I’m hoping and assuming that I just missed some main event, wandering around like a lemon in the wrong part of London.
Anyway, the protest was also supposed to be my main source of photographs for the week, so I was left wondering how my very chill weekend was going to yield anything interesting for this blog post. To that end, you have ended up with what is essentially a study of Hyde Park’s water birds on a gloomy day, daring swan pictures included.
In terms of this week’s mild frustrations, let’s just say that moving house is nothing but a cascade of mild irritations that gather momentum as the move-out date gets closer and closer: sorting all the miscellaneous drawers in your house that never seem to be empty; spending hours on hold with utility companies trying to get your final bill; carting endless bags and boxes to a storage locker while you’re supposed to be resting to address your chesty cough and piercing sinus pain. You know, classic stuff.
I’m being overdramatic, of course, but I have overdone it these past few weeks and that culminated in a nasty bug hitting at the peak of house-moving madness. It was not ideal. But the boxes got packed, the storage locker got filled and Jake and I are now firmly installed on a sofa in a flat in West London, where we are spending the next week staying with my family before moving into our new place in about ten days time.
We resolved to spend as much of the weekend as possible resting, as we were both shattered and I was still quite ill, though we did venture out to Waitrose – it’s West London, what did you expect? – for some hot cross buns and ice cream and out for a gentle walk into Hyde Park on Sunday morning, ostensibly for the fresh air but mainly for some photos. The gloomy park was not giving me a lot to work with – though I suppose neither was my attitude – until I started taking pictures of the ducks, coots and swans paddling around the Serpentine. I am not much of a bird photographer, as our recent trip to Kenya made clear. But the birds in London parks are so totally unafraid of people that it would have been a shame not to exploit that with my camera. I spent a lot of time with the swan in particular, getting so close I could have easily reached out to stroke its ivory feathers (I did not, of course, for obvious reasons).
I was reminded that it’s one thing to take great photos of a great scene, and it’s another to find great photos in a situation that does not obviously lend itself to beautiful images. I am really quite pleased with some of these photos, especially after I thought that I wouldn’t have anything to share this week. Just goes to show: there’s something worth remembering everywhere, if only you take a look.