Streets of London in April 2020

Our son, Thomas, currently residing in London during lockdown, has shared the following photos, which he took on Easter Sunday while out for a morning run through his neighborhood.

The Stanley Arms is a traditional Victorian pub located near the Jamaica Gate of Southwark Park. It was almost demolished and turned into a residential housing block before Southwark Council refused the planning permission in 2015.

The Stanley Arms in London

The Spa Terminus on Dockley Road is a collection of businesses under railway arches that are involved in wholesale food production and distribution. Under normal circumstances, some of them would also be open for retail customers.

Spa Terminus on Dockley Road, London, April 2020

The St James of Bermondsey is a pub on St James’s Road not too far from Bermondsey tube station. The pub has a beer garden and also serves coffee, tea, wine, gin, and pies.

St. James in London

No matter where you turn, you see more parked cars than people on the road. ‘Stay Home’ is the best anyone can do right now.

London April 2020

The Brexit Encounter – by an EU Citizen in London

Our son, Thomas, attending LSE in London, shares his Brexit experience.

Flooded London

On the night of the referendum, I found myself at a ‘Brexit Results Night’ event in the common room of my postgraduate student accommodation. As we were watching the votes from various counties of the UK trickle in, beers in our hands, there were casual debates over what would happen if the country actually decided to leave the European Union. Despite some apprehensive glances at the numbers, none of us took the possibility of this outcome seriously. I only managed to stay awake until about 1am to follow the live TV coverage, though I know many who were up the whole night. I went to bed thinking that the whole thing was nothing but a political spectacle; overblown and unlikely to succeed anyways.

As I presume many others did, the first thing I did when waking up was to google the result of the referendum. To my shock and dismay, the British public had voted (with a 52% majority) in favour of Brexit. David Cameron had given an emotional speech announcing his resignation. Motions of no confidence had been passed by Labour MPs with the aim of removing Jeremy Corbyn from its leadership. Scotland had agreed to legislate for a second independence referendum. Various European politicians had taken Brexit as a cue for movements towards their own country leaving the EU.

A large part of my day was then filled with browsing Facebook and reading posts from (university-aged) friends, who, unsurprisingly, were aghast and absolutely crestfallen at the decision that had been made. My news feed was rife with accusations of racism, xenophobia, and foolishness, with only few admitting defeat. Above all, there was a seething resentment towards the older population who had voted overwhelmingly in favour of leaving; a palpable sense of betrayal by a generation who appeared ignorant towards a globalising world, and uncaring of the younger generation’s employment prospects. Nothing had whipped up social media into a frenzy quite as much as this had. The collective outrage and disappointment left me reeling.

On the Saturday following the referendum, I was quietly working near an open window on the top floor of my university’s library. Suddenly, I heard a deafening roar booming through the skies. Looking outside, I saw a squad of jets flying in formation and releasing red, blue, and white smoke into the sky. ‘The colours of the Union Jack, They must be celebrating their independence!’, I said to my neighbour. ‘I hate this country’, she replied.

Thanks for your contribution, Thomas.

The Cost of Living in London

Our son has been making noises of returning to London after the completion of his second Masters at Fudan University in Shanghai in 2017. Sure, sounds great, but as mindful parents, we worry about the cost of living there.

Right now, he is still at the London School of Economics (LSE) and enjoying his student life (more or less, depending on his course work) with the costs of tuition, accommodations, and spending money being taken care of.

Holborn, London

Holborn, London

For working in London, and making ends meet, I shared with him the basic rule of salary division: 1/3 for cold rent, 1/3 for utilities, groceries, etc. and 1/3 for fun, holidays, and savings.

When I saw this article Rents In London? If You Have to Ask… in the International Herald Tribune, I forwarded it to him to bring him down to earth, so to speak.

Based on my calculation of a monthly GBP 800 contribution in sharing rent, this would require a first-year salary of GBR 28.000 in net pay. Young people often have to make do with less, and he could do it on maybe half his pay going for rent. But like many parents, we had hoped for the financial support to stop at some point in our life.

We finally decided to consult a friend, whose daughter had found a job and a flat to share in London. We inquired how she was getting on in regards to the financial side of things. This was his reply:

She is getting along fine with the cost of living in London. Her parents, who are financing it, not so well. She shares an apartment with a friend in East London which costs us around 800 pounds a month.

Well, we shall see.

Albatros Bookmarks

Just learned this from a.k.a. The world’s funding platform:

London-based French designer, Oscar Lhermitte has invented a piece of polyester that once inserted in a book, will forever bookmark your page without you even blinking. This new kind of bookmark is gorgeously simple, reminding us of the traditions of reading.

What a simple, but yet very effective little piece of polyester. Watch the one-minute clip from to see how it works. I found it amazing, mostly due to its simplicity.

Albatros Bookmarks


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