Showing her around town


Two weeks ago, my daughter finished her high school exams. It had been a long and winding road for us, all those years. I’d come from Germany to Greece to marry her Dad, but after a few years I realised our marriage had no future; we divorced, but remained friends, for Marianna’s sake. Still, I was more or less on my own to bring her up – my parents far away in Germany, his parents already dead and gone; I was mother, grandmother, grandfather and most of the time father as well. And I tried to be a friend, too… No wonder our relationship had its ups and downs, all through primary and secondary school – but we finally made it!

And I’d promised her a reward. Since I ‘hop over’ to London regularly to visit my boyfriend, she’d been begging me for more than a year to take me with her once, and show her around town. Oh dear, I thought, that’ll be exhausting! But I couldn’t say no; I thought this was just the right time for one more trip together before she’d go her own ways.

So I kept my promise: Monday morning at 5, we went to the airport, and four hours later we arrived at Heathrow where my sweetheart was already waiting for us. We checked into our hotel room, then went on our first walk through North London – Marianna had already laid out the plans for everything she wanted to see, which was a LOT, and Ian had already worked out the tube and bus routes! Basically, all I had to do was walk along…

First day: Alexandra Palace and Park, then a beer at the stylish old Salisbury (she clearly disliked English ale). Second day: a boat trip to Greenwich, where she absolutely wanted to see the Royal Observatory and the Zero Meridian. It was a really lovely day, we got to see practically ALL the important London sights during the boat trip, then we had a fantastic lunch at an Italian restaurant to fortify us for the uphill walk to the Observatory. And how lovely to see her enjoying it and getting on better and better with Ian, whom she’d hardly known until then!

Third day: Madame Tussauds – I must say I could have done without this overrated tourist attraction, but Marianna was absolutely set on seeing it… Anyway, we made our way through all the tourists and celebrities’ figures, then had lunch at McDonald’s (guess whose favourite place it is…) and spent the rest of the day at Ian’s place to rest our tired legs. Anyway, we’ve got some nice photos to remember the day!

Fourth day: the classic walk through London, from the Embankment to the Houses of Parliament to Buckingham Palace. But what a shock she got when she saw that her favourite London landmark, Big Ben, is scaffolded at the moment, and she couldn’t take photos of it! Well, she turned to another, slightly smaller landmark: the red phone booth… And we did get some more nice photos for our albums!

And in the evening, she even had enough energy left for a shopping trip! So we went to Wood Green Mall where she got some summer clothes from Primark – it’s just not on to come back from a London trip without any new clobber! And Mum got some, too, with the occasion…

Fifth day: she’d liked the mall so much that she wants to go back there! So we spend the last morning of our trip shopping – which, of course, is not a bad way of killing time at all for two girls… And Ian is SO patient with us all the time! Then the time has come to take her to the airport – back to her Daddy, while I’ll stay in London until August.

She’ll have a lot of time for relaxing now before she’ll enrol at a photographer’s school; and I’ll enjoy the summer with my sweetheart. The time has come to go our separate ways in some ways at least, and it’s not a bad thing. Life goes on, and the children grow up – they’ve got their whole lives ahead of them, and we’ll be able to enjoy a life of our own again as well. Never look back, always look ahead – EVERY stage in life is wonderful! We’ll always have fond memories of that sightseeing trip, but we’ll soon embark on new adventures – for Ian and me, the next one will be a trip to Ireland in September, which neither of us has seen in 25 years…

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