If you follow my other blogs, Haikugirl’s Japan or Picturing England, you might already know that I’m moving to Bristol at the end of the month for a new job. London is a brilliant city, but it can get tiring, and I’m ready for a new adventure. I’m actually really excited about having a whole new city at my doorstep to explore, and have found myself exploring already even though I haven’t moved yet. I was in Bristol on Friday flat hunting, and managed to cover rather a lot of ground (on foot) while looking for a place to live. On Saturday morning I was too tired to walk far, but had a little wander around the harbour.
I found a curious bridge called ‘Pero’s Bridge‘, dedicated to the memory of Pero, an enslaved African man who was brought to Bristol in 1783 as a servant.
On the bridge, I was delighted to find some love locks. As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of this often neglected blog, I have a bit of a thing for ‘love locks’. Love locks, as I call them, are the padlocks that people leave on bridges, declaring their undying love for one another. I guess I am a romantic at heart.
I’m glad to know there’s a little bit of love in Bristol…
You might remember from previous posts that I’ve got a little bit of a thing for the modern tradition of love locks; that is, people declaring their love for each other on a padlock, and locking it to (usually) a bridge in a public place. You can read more about love locks I’ve found before in these posts: part #1 (Brooklyn Bridge, New York), part #2 (Hungerford bridge & Tower Bridge in London), and part #3 (Shoreditch, London).
Now I’m back with part #4, because this weekend I visited the British Heart Foundation Love Installation at Covent Garden.
For a suggested donation of £3, Joe Public and his adoring girlfriend/wife/lover have been able to declare their undying love for each other on a red padlock this week, and lock it to a giant installation reading ‘LOVE’. Actually, looking at the love locks, it hasn’t just been romantic love that has been declared – there have also been friendships, family love, love for places, and memorials to loved ones.
I visited the installation on Friday night, but it was too dark to get good pictures. I went back on Saturday, but it was too crowded. So, not wanting to miss out, I decided to go into town again this morning before the shops opened and get some more photos. I was really moved by some of the declarations I read, and even left one of my own (see if you can spot it).
The installation (and a similar one at Camden Lock) were in aid of National Heart Month (February).
You might remember that I wrote earlier this year about the growing trend for attaching locks to bridges to declare one’s love (see here and here) – well today I came across some more love locks. The love locks I found today were attached to a fence near Shoreditch High Street Station. There’s a lot of street art in that area, so I’m not sure if these are all actual declarations of love, or if some are just art, but they’re pretty cool…
Quitting a job is a bit like finishing a relationship – you never know how the other person is going to take it. Sometimes there are tears, raised voices. They might even beg you to stay, tell you they’ll change or try to make you an offer you can’t refuse. Or perhaps they’ll just say “meh” and accept it. But you always know in your heart that you’ve done the right thing. No matter how good you felt when it started, no matter how sure you were this could be the one, you just know when it isn’t working and it’s time to move on.
In fact, it occurred to me recently that jobs and relationships actually have an awful lot in common. In both cases, aren’t we really just searching for “the one”?
When we’re young we have casual, part-time jobs and casual, non-committal relationships. These days, people often don’t really settle down until they’re over 25 – some take considerably longer. But by the time you reach your 30s you start to notice everyone around you getting more serious. Words like “career”, “commitment”, and “marriage” are used. As we grow older, we start looking for the one we can commit to for the long haul. Finding “the one” can be just as difficult if we’re searching for a career, or searching for a long-term relationship.
Like the pair of skinny jeans you look at longingly in H&M, sometimes we try things on just to see if they fit. I know I’m guilty of this when it comes to relationships and jobs (and skinny jeans). I’ve tried working in record stores and dating musicians, I’ve tried working in offices and dating men in suits. Just like the skinny jeans, you try them on even if you’re not sure they’re right for you. You try them on, but when you look in the mirror you just know something isn’t right, something doesn’t quite fit.
Dream jobs and dream relationships can both, in theory, be found online. I know a couple of friends who have recently found love through online dating websites – one even got married. In both cases, all you have to do is create an online profile and look for a match. Sometimes, they even come looking for you. But it’s not easy. There is a lot of rubbish out there, and you have to sift through a whole pile of lies before you can find the truth. Whether job hunting or looking for love you really shouldn’t lie on your resume, but you should be aware that others will not necessarily be as discerning. Both potential employers and potential partners might promise something they can’t deliver. We’ve all been there: you turn up for the date/interview and something feels wrong. He’s not quite as tall, dark and handsome as he said he was, or the office doesn’t look quite as bright and shiny as it looked on the website.
But sometimes you get lucky – whether it’s from a website, a newspaper, or through friends, it is possible to find “the one”. As far as my career goes, I’m feeling quite optimistic about the future. Since graduation I’ve tried various careers on, but none of them really fitted. However, in August I will be starting a new job at a company where I feel like I might be able to build a career and have a real future. I caught a glimpse of myself in the office window when I went for my interview, and it seemed to fit. It’s time for me to get serious, make a commitment, and build a future.
As for relationships, well I haven’t really had time for a while to be honest, but my eyes are open and I know “the one” must be out there somewhere…
Do you remember back in January when I wrote about the “love locks” I found on Brooklyn Bridge in New York, and how they hailed from a tradition started by an Italian novelist, Federico Moccia? Well, it looks like the tradition has also made its way over to England…
You’ve got to keep your eyes open in London – there’s so much going on that it’s easy to miss the small things sometimes. Next time you’re walking over Hungerford Bridge or Tower Bridge have a look, because these bridges are covered in declarations of long-lasting love!
I’m glad to see this tradition being continued in loved-up London! What do you think of it? Would you declare your love in this way?
I hate Valentine’s Day. Besides my personal reasons and the ghosts of Valentines past, the main reason I hate Valentine’s Day is because it’s just SO commercial.
I know, every holiday and special occasion is commercial these days, but if I see one more fluffy pink heart I might scream. Who actually buys that rubbish? What kind of girl is actually happy to receive a giant stuffed bear on Valentine’s Day? And don’t even get me started on the chocolates. It must be a minefield for the guys – buying chocolates is traditional, but what if she says she’s on a diet? If you buy the chocolates you’re not being very supportive of the diet, if you don’t, you’re berated for not celebrating Valentine’s Day properly and not caring enough. Dammed if you do, damned if you don’t.
As a singleton on Valentine’s Day it’s easy to come across as cynical and bitter. I’ve decided to focus on the positives: money saving and dieting!
Let’s start with money saving:
Participating in Valentine’s Day is expensive. Not only are you supposed to buy a card and present for your loved one, you’re supposed to go out somewhere special, and you’re supposed to look nice. It’s the looking nice that can get really expensive, can’t it ladies? New shoes, dress, frilly undies… Easily £100 or more spent on an outfit for one night. Of course, you might let him pay for the meal, but when you’ve spent so much on looking nice, it’s hardly a saving.
And then there’s the diet:
You go to a nice, fancy Italian restaurant… Imagine all that pasta dripping with creamy sauce, a dessert oozing with chocolate, a few glasses of vino… There are easily 1500 calories or more in the average restaurant meal. Then there’s the box of chocolates he gave you, which you start eating as soon as he’s gone. Diet fail.
As a singleton this Valentine’s Day, I feel quite satisfied in knowing that I haven’t had to shed out all that cash for one night of “romance”, and I can enjoy a nice healthy meal which I’ve cooked myself. I know what some people will say though – why not have the healthy, home-cooked meal with your loved one and save on the new dress too? Of course – but the rules of commercial society say that most people will feel obliged to go out on Valentine’s Day.
Next time I celebrate Valentine’s Day, I hope I can remain mindful of the meaning of the day rather than allowing myself to get caught up in the commercial aspects. Surely a handmade card and a cupcake baked at home says “I love you” just as well, if not better, than anything you could buy in a shop.
On my recent visit to New York I was very keen to visit Brooklyn Bridge, mainly because I had seen it featured in Sex and the City, and wanted to see the view of Manhattan from Brooklyn. One particular scene from Sex and the City had stuck in my mind, and that was the one in the first movie, where Steve and Miranda meet on Brooklyn Bridge to show that they are willing to forget the past and continue with their marriage.
But I hadn’t realised that Brooklyn Bridge was such a popular place for romance. Apparently Brooklyn Bridge has become the place for couples to declare their eternal love to each other by attaching a padlock to the bridge.
Scores of locks have been lovingly left on the bridge, some with messages, names or dates written on them, others plain. Despite the fact that it is actually illegal to attach anything to the bridge, there are these handy little loops all over the place, which people have cleverly made use of.
The tradition dates back to a book by Italian novelist Federico Moccia, which became popular when it was turned into a film, “Tre Metri Sopra il Cielo” (“Three Steps Over Heaven“), in 2004. Following the popularity of the movie, couples began declaring their love on the Ponte Milvio in Italy. Sometime later, perhaps around 2007, the tradition made its way over the Atlantic to the US, and people began to attach their love locks to the Brooklyn Bridge.
As I said, it is illegal to leave these locks on the bridge, but no one seems to be doing anything about removing them. And, really, what harm are they doing?
I wonder now if that scene in Sex and the City was inspired by this tradition of declaring one’s love on Brooklyn Bridge, although Miranda and Steve don’t actually leave a lock.
What do you think? Is leaving a lock on a bridge a good way for a couple to declare their eternal love? Would you do it?