Keep calm and carry on - keeping an Eye on London

Feet firmly rooted to the ground, my pink sneakers were certainly not going to budge, take a leap of faith and foolishly risk life and limb by clambering into the claustrophobic plastic/glass enclosed bubble that appeared to be precariously hanging from the bicycle-wheel-like spokes of UK’s famous “London Eye”.  Towering an impressive 443 feet above the South Thames River Bank, and weighing a colossal 1800 tons, this massive Ferris wheel is known as the Merlin Entertainments London Eye or simply as the Millennium Wheel.  Officially inaugurated on Dec 31st, 1999 to commemorate the millennium, the London Eye was not fully operational or made open to the public until March 2000.  Attracting around 2 million visitors each year, the Eye offers a “bird’s eye view” of Big Ben, Canary Wharf and London Tower Bridge, just to name a few of the landmarks which dot the London skyline, hence, most likely, it’s appropriately unique  name.

Dangling, spinning and orbiting round and round, the 32 egg-shaped capsules are roomy enough to hold a maximum of 25 people, all of whom had dished out around £20 for the opportunity of soaring like a bird in a glass, plastic and steel tube like structure.  Apparently neither deathly afraid of heights nor harbouring any fears of entrapment, these thrill-seeking adventurists (tourists, actually), queue for hours to be willingly suspended a jaw-dropping 138 metres above the ground in a rotating capsule.  Have they completely lost their marbles?  The mere thought of the remote possibility of plunging to an untimely demise, should, God forbid, a technical glitch or a tempestuous gust of wind snap a cable and thus disengage the dangling capsules from their spokes, is the determining factor which solidified my resolve to never step foot into said capsule.  Unable to extrapolate the image of my pink-sneakered self un-elegantly splattered on the cold dank pavement below, I cringed in horror and disbelief when the Kid abruptly announced that she’s going to “go for the gold” and capture that National Geographic moment in time and snap digital memories from her vantage point at the top of the Wheel.  Yikes!! 

Unable to convince her petrified ol’ Auntie to accompany her on the 30 minute “ride of a lifetime”, my fear-less niece couldn’t race fast enough to the queue and clamber into the confining glass dome and soar to dizzying heights of freedom and possibility.  I, on the other hand, was cocooned in my current state of self-preservation, hoping beyond hope that this wouldn’t be her “last ride of a lifetime”, one that could possibly culminate in a visually unpleasant image of blood, guts, glass and steel, mashed and smashed body parts strewn about the concrete below. Like, seriously??  Do I ALWAYS have to be so “over the top” dramatic??

Needing to “keep calm and carry on”, I therefore bravely embraced this well-known British phrase - thus, making it my mantra of the day - and proceeded to calm my splintered nerves by indulging in one or two pints of Guinness, as I languished the afternoon away in one of the outdoor pubs that lined the Thames – eagerly anticipating the return of the pink-sneakered Kid, babbling excitedly about her sky-high adventures of the day.

Come spin around the banks of the river Thames with the Kid and I, as we eye the London Eye and orbit round and round the skyline of merry old London.
Next week – where do my pink-sneakered footprints end up??  Stay tuned!!

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