Nothing much really but that's about all I could afford back then. Always been one for tacky trinkets - thankfully the loose bits of change I had in my woefully thin pockets as an impecunious student were just enough to justify the exorbitant purchase on an underwhelmingly minuscule replica of the towering Big Ben. Yet it was the most I'd ever squandered on a holiday.
So it was all I could do not to have my foolish blundering maid summarily executed on Tower Hill when she clumsily chipped it during an unfortunate dusting misadventure. To say I was livid would have been a severe understatement.
Where shall I begin?
It has been a while. More than ten years later I stood before the towering monument yet again, this time very much older, far from wiser and significantly more plump in the pockets.
And obviously more than ready to splurge.
Like an old trusted friend, the city remained much the same with the shopping streets written clear on the back of my hand. Much to the dismay of Charming Calvin - himself an ingenuous first-timer in the Big Smoke. No doubt wide-eyed with endless wonder over the treasures that the city of London had to offer, he found himself instead confronted with an irate boyfriend at the steps of the Green Park tube station early one October morning.
Paul : List down ten places you want to visit in London.
Calvin : Only ten? There are so many sights to see. I don't know if -
Paul : Didn't you make up a list on the horrific thirteen hour flight here with a monstrous 8 hour layover?
Calvin : I slept!
Paul : Well I never can sleep a wink on planes so I made a list.
Calvin : Would that be a shopping list?
Paul : Clever boy! Speak now or forever hold your tattered visitor's guide. My shopping spree will commence in about 24 hours!
Dithering between tourist sites, Calvin found it hard to make a snap decision when faced with such an ultimatum. Accustomed to such nervous agitation, I saw no other recourse but to drag him to the Tower. Lucky for him though no grim executioner awaited him at Tower Hill but a gregarious Yeomen Warder ready to show him the historical sites.