We’re supposed to be heading into warmer weather so get your tissues ready for hayfever. You’d expect my post to be an ode to summer or the “fools spring” that we experienced some time back. But my blog, my rules! And I’ll even cry if I want to, like I nearly did on BBC radio (link at the end – gotta keep you reading).
This week is #CarersWeek, so I’m focusing on my friend Aman and the time we visited Lumiere London (January 2018). Aman and I tube’d our way to Zone One London town to see some of the 50 multi-coloured light installations on display. It was our way of rediscovering the power of awe and wonder.
The sojourn was necessary, Aman is a caring hero as she is responsible for both her parents, her mum has dementia and her dad has Parkinson’s. A challenging situation which is also rewarding on the karmic level but one that absolutely requires taking the occasional break.
If you don’t already know, I used to be a carer for my Bibi-g (my nan) who had Alzheimer’s. During my time as a carer Aman was one of my solid gold friends and still is. She was a confidante when the frustrations were overflowing but also someone with who I shared some of the heart warming stories of Bibi-g’s love. Now our roles have reversed and Aman is a the epitome of grace as she handles multiple issues.
Back in 2011, when I was in floods of tears having recently lost Bibi-g, my mum attempted to distract me from my sadness by saying Aman’s name. It was my mum’s way of distracting me with the thought of my ever-witty friend Aman. She effortlessly throws giggle-inducing one liners into regular conversations about things like rush-hour traffic and Henry Cavill’s jawline. Aman finds that silver lining in the darkest greyest cloud to remind you that there is a reason to keep smiling, even if that smile only occupies a single cell.
Her name translates as peace and she’s right on brand – you gotta love it when the parentals get the marketing message spot-on from birth.
Back to Lumiere London, there we where looking for inner calm by pounding the pavements and pointing at lights. It’s nearly impossible to not get consumed by caring duties which at times, not always, can be draining. To keep yourself topped up with hope a bit of art can really help.
Here comes the meaningful bit… You can only serve another if you are in a good place mentally, physically and emotionally. Ideally, this would be achieved by Aman hiring Channing Tatum as her personal trainer or holidays to Iceland with her bestie (yes please!). Until those things are possible we decided on Lumiere London which was free – bonus.
The Light of the Spirit
Westminster Cathedral was illuminated with a kaleidoscope of fluorescent colours in the style of stainless glass. It towered over the eager crowds of photographers and selfie-takers (yes, we did take some and no, I’m not sharing). The gothic detail was enhanced by the intricate patterns as they slipped and slid over the grand architecture.
Kings Cross was doused in waves of blue light that danced across the black sky in time to music. It was so inviting that it had me wishing I could surf through the atmosphere, I settled for staring wide-eyed at the blue-y purple shapes immersing myself in the moment.
Trafalgar Square was polka dotted with balls of white light which turned on and off synchronised to a merry tune. It was like capturing that feeling of freedom from your childhood when swinging high and sliding with speed were goals of the playground.
West End – Nightlife
Leicester Square was inhabited by butterflies, squirrels and frogs which looked like pages from a children’s story book, a complete contract to the usual commuters, tourists and entertainers.
Once again, a bit like the crystal cave day we seemed to have opted for the creative route which seems to be a running (pardon the pun) theme with me. But it’s proven that walking enhances creativity so here’s to taking the routes that aren’t entirely direct.
The thing I absolutely love about London is how it’s possibilities are infinite. London changes shape and design with its evolving population (…shame about Brexit though).
I’d like to leave you with one thought – find yourself a friend like Aman, or even better be the Aman (it means peace!) especially if you are a carer.
And last week I was on ‘The Big Little Debate’, BBC Asian Network Radio talking about being a carer alongside Carers UK. It’s available on BBC iPlayer here to hear me scroll in to 2:11:43 until 2:25:00.
As you’ve got this far, here’s a photo of Aman (pink lipstick) and I (pink coat).