Keeping up the Pace

Nicholas Quirke was finding his fellow travellers on the road on 20th May unusually hostile and aggressive towards him on this beautiful summer sunshine day and was finding it difficult to contain his rage and language. With his schedule out of synch, he’d missed a weekly catch up with Cathie on Saturday and to ensure a meeting they both squeezed in a visit to Cafe Nero’s at 8.30 am. From there Nicholas drove to London and Kensal Rise to meet Diana whom he had not seen since meeting in New York in December. It was wonderful to see Diana again and he was also able to meet her lovely daughter Marissa. They had come to the UK for a holiday and it had unusually timed with the Royal Wedding and they had gone and camped out at Windsor to have a good view. As they were North London it seemed a good idea to go to Hampstead and the heath. As always, Nicholas felt a frisson of excitement at returning to his former stomping ground. As he parked the car Nicholas experienced his first confrontation with a car who honked at him for daring to stop and find somewhere to park.  Lunch was at the charming Louis which still looked exactly the same. It was a charming environment to eat, but the service was inattentive and not to Diana’s exacting American standards. A walk on Parliment Hill to absorb the views led to a new discovery of George Orwell’s house which he had passed countless times in his youth and had no idea it was  situated there. Memories of living in Southill Park crowded in on him and as he saw the hundreds of people enjoying the Heath in the sun he realised how privileged he had been to have lived with such easy access to such a beautiful spot. Cole had recommended an Exhibition at the Barbican, ‘Another Kind of Life’ so they journeyed into the City. It was not without traffic incident and his language became more colorful with each transgression.  The offense culminated when Nicholas, who had ‘Right of Way’ was faced with a driver speeding up and driving straight for him till he had no choice but to reverse. How smug and the other driver looked as he drove off, waving to them. They were a little late to meet Cole who was in great spirits and excited to be showing his old man around the exhibits. It was an exceptional collection of photographs from artists, whose work focused on the marginalised in society. It was powerful and moving and though they were there for nearly two hours still did not get to see everything as they were swiftly moved out at closing time. It had been wonderful to see Diana again, reminiscing and attempting to locate old friends through social media, it was time for a reunion of Temps Corner. He was home by 9pm and was able to get a mercifully early sleep.



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