Visiting Stratford

I got back from stratford about half an hour ago. It was the first time I’ve been outside the borough or used  the tube since February, but my Ipad had become so worse for wear that I really needed to get it sorted. To be honest it was a very weird trip: I think of Westfield Stratford as a bubbling, energetic place – a high temple of consumerism, full of people, music, food and light – but today it felt more like a hospital. It was only  half full, everyone was wearing masks and had to follow  strictly regulated paths. I used to go up there quite often just to feel the buzz of the place.  It was always so new and exciting, built especially to show London off to the world. Twenty  years ago that was just a neglected corner of the east end,  but was turned into a thriving urban pleasure centre next door to a world-class olympic park. Yet today,  with half the shops and all the restaurants closed, not to mention the cinema, bowling and casino, it felt like a shadow of it’s past self. I can’t wait for things to start to feel like normal again.

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