I leave Costa Coffee early, with 20 mins left until my lunch break ends. Instead of turning towards work. I take the last opportunity I have to sit on the benches provided, along Fouberts Place and Newburgh Street, just off Carnaby Street.
I’m making the most every little second spent in Central London. With news of another lockdown looming through my mind, my instant thought is to slow down and take each step at a time. In contrast to panicking and queuing for hours over supplies.
Living in the moment, I become more attentive paying closer attention to the scenes around me. Sitting at the corner of Newburgh Street I notice all the monotone shades of painted shop fronts, a gradient of black and dark grey tones dropping to lighter versions grey. I take in the window display of the shop opposite me, making out details of all the merchandise that can be seen. Turning a little to my left, I mentally note down which open restaurant has outdoor seating.
As of the 1970’s Carnaby Street famously became pedestrian-only. Though nearby are two of London’s busiest roads, Oxford Street and Regent Street. The sound of traffic is muffled out by the distance. All I hear are the footsteps of various shoes hitting the uneven cobbled grounds, chatter from all angles and delivery being dragged on wheelies. The smell of local food and fragrance escaping through the doors of open boutiques twine into the air together.
I’m amazed at how much I take in these 20 mins, having never paid heed to what was in front of me before.