The Squirrel Chase

by Mar 4, 2023Observations0 comments

When you see a man or woman with a large camera hang around their neck, a hat, a map, sport shoes with white socks and a back pack, you automatically know it is one of those tourists who want to explore the whole city and take pictures of food, trees, road signs, the green grass and everything else they come across in just two days! They are most probably walking slowly, closely looking at the buildings and stop now and then to look at a paper map. If they are technologically advanced, then they should have turned on the google maps app and therefore keep staring at their mobile phones and turning left then walking back to the exact same position trying to figure out where google maps is leading them. They mostly have very broad smiles and ask anyone who looks anything like they might be a local for directions to a place that is on the other end of town. With the exception of the white socks, that would describe me while on my short weekend vacation around Europe.

My vacation was actually to Dublin and the surroundings as they have some of the best hiking tours in Howth, Wicklow-Mountains, Calgary, Skerries, Connemara, Galway and many other beautiful places. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had a free weekend and decided It was time to go explore London. England was not far from Germany but in all the years that I had lived in Germany, I never had the urge to spend my holidays in London. Southwards was the place to be. Rome, Barcelona, Valencia, Athens, Algarve, Porto, Vienna, Lake Garda. Anything south of Germany was acceptable.

While on my exploration tours, I typically avoid the subways as they mostly go underground and all one see’s is fast moving concrete and darkness. Nonetheless, I had taken a subway and alighted at Piccadilly. The walk all the way from Wellington Arch to Victoria Memorial in front of the Buckingham Palace had added damage to my already swollen feet from the previous day. After the mandatory touristic pictures of the Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial, I slowly walked through the Saint James Park towards the Horse Guards Road.

The Saint James Park has not only greenery but also a lake and the Duck Island Cottage, which means that there are many ducks around the St. James Park Lake. There are also the white pelicans, black swans, the red crested pochards and squirrels! a lot of squirrels.

The walk was long and my feet could not allow me to take one more step, so I gave in and took a spot underneath one of the many trees in the Saint James Park. I Sat down, removed my shoes, applied some ointment to my feet, put on my sunglasses, used my backpack as a head rest, stretched my legs and laid back to relax. After about fifteen minutes of rest, it dawned on me that the Calvary Soldiers at the Horse Guards Road gate would be changing shifts and since I did not want to miss the event, I put on the uncomfortable shoes on my sore feet and stood up.

Right after I had tied my yellow jacket around my waist and was about to pick my backpack, I saw one of the most hilarious scenes I had seen in a long while. A few meters from where I was standing, a young boy about seven or eight years of age. He had spotted one of the many brown squirrels that would come out of the bushes ones in a while. The boy was visibly very excited about the squirrel and out of either curiosity or fascination, wanted to move closer and hold the squirrel.

The squirrel would have none of that and decided to run away. At first it just run along the low railings of the barrier. The little boy couldn’t just stand there and watch, so he to gave a chase. The faster the squirrel ran, the faster the boy ran. The boy ran so fast that even I thought that it would end to the advantage of the boy. Just when he was about to catch it, the squirrel decided that enough was enough and quickly climbed the nearby tree.

The little boy walked around the tree trying to figure out how he could also climb the tree. In his disappointment he kept pointing up the tree and looking around for his parents. The father finally came over and talked to him for a while. Despite the disappointment, he held his father’s hand and walked away with his head hang down, accepting defeat in an area that he had not yet mastered, tree climbing!

From the way he would look back at the tree, something told me that his fight might have been lost but his spirit was not yet broken. I smiled and slowly walked towards the Horse Guards Road to watch the changing of the shifts. when I arrived, I realized that every other tourist in town had had the same Idea and therefore the place was filled. I took the mandatory touristic pictures with the horses as a token for future references and went on with my walk down towards the river Thames.


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