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High tide

I was on my way last week to a former colleague’s retirement party – taking my old favourite route to work along the South Bank from Waterloo to London Bridge. As I approached the river I could immediately see the tide was high. I love it when the water is up. For some reason, it is more exhilarating and uplifting when in places I seem to be walking below the level of the water on the other side of the wall. It so rarely happened, even though I walked for more than four years on four or five early mornings each week. I guess there is a statistic about that – and it is surely logical – but I can’t be bothered to look it up.

Nearing the Oxo Tower, I could see the two odd little piers almost submerged. I stopped to take pictures, this time not for old times sake but because I felt the conditions were actually unusual. Last time I’d been on this pier, I had had too much gin, I now recalled. Haha!

One of the Oxo Tower piers with water right up to the top of its legs

Just a little further on, the path had flooded next to Blackfriars Bridge and people were paddling, carrying their shoes, in their haste to get to the station. I diverted ‘inland’ instead – I had time to spare – but returned to the riverside in front of Tate Modern to continue enjoying the top of the tide. Further leaks could be seen between the flood-wall panels near Southwark Bridge. I suppose I should be worried really. 

I arrived at the pub to be greeted by a few people I hadn’t seen for the past 9 months. ‘Retirement’s clearly suiting you!’, was the first comment. I was at pains to point out that all I’ve done is dye my hair a lighter shade and spend more time outdoors. Nice to find my lighter mood is reflecting in my appearance somehow.

It was lovely to catch up with friends, including the newest escapee embarking on his own retirement and one of my younger colleagues who filled me in on important gossip. I went home happy for sure – by tube to Waterloo, as the tide had receded.

Next day, I heard from someone who had missed the event. He’d heard I now look like Debbie Harry. Hmm. She’s 74!


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