Pointless, going nowhere, frustratingly inconvenient, yet, at its height beautiful and thrilling…..no, not Valentine’s Day, but the Emirates Air Line. For the record, I rather like Valentine’s Day, and I love the Emirates Air Line. A bit strange, perhaps, but then so is a fake holiday that forces men to buy overpriced roses just when gorgeous spring bulbs are coming into bloom…but I digress. The Air Line.
One side of it is at an awkward distance from the O2 and the other end is, well absolutely no where. Unless a DLR station counts; the Excel Centre is a serious hike away. And yet, I think it a marvelous treat to go completely out of my way and sail across the Thames in a cable car. And back again. Over the 02, with it’s spiky shell. The boats and tugs and cranes on the hardworking section of the river. The new Olympic construction. I love it all. And when the sun shines in just the right way it all looks bathed in gold. My beautiful, beautiful London. And the best part is I often have it to myself.
Several months ago I was eavesdropping, as usual, on the Tube. A lovely group of young Irish tourists were planning their day, which was going to include a ride on the Air Line. “But what if the queue is very long? We might be late,” one of the girls worried. The group discussed alternative plans for a bit, until I couldn’t contain myself any longer (like 3 seconds). “Oh don’t worry,” I told them with a laugh, “There won’t be any queue. At all.” They were delighted. I hope they had a wonderful time.
The Air Line always features in those “Things you will never heard Londoners say” lists, usually with the line “The Air Line is down, how will I get to work??” Because it does seem to always be empty. So maybe it really exists only for me. A year long Valentine’s Day gift from my passionate City. Thank you, London. You do spoil me. I shall go flying again soon.