I get the oddest things into my head these days. I cannot count the times I’ve swept by the famed lions of Trafalgar Square and never gave them a thought. Not so this business trip. I made it a personal mission to go there and pay homage. It’s a popular tourist attraction in central London and a public gathering area. If you’ve seen news coverage of any political protest in London, likely you saw Trafalgar Square. People also gather there to celebrate New Years so the British version of Times Square if you will. I fancy this location because it is flaked by four enormous lion statues commemorating the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, a famous British naval victory that took place during the Napoleonic Wars. Everyone was fighting Napoleon back in the day. It’s an expansive place and I am thoroughly guilty of dragging my close Euro friends there yes, even if it rains.
It always rains in London.
I told my friend that I was going there to take memorable and to-be-enlarged-and-framed photos for Baby Claudia, our tiny but mighty Leo-born baby. My excuse was that she desperately required a top notch photo of the lions for her nursery and my friend, being British, totally pretended to buy that.
It was all about me.
The battle is one that I’m fond of, Lord Nelson, who was running the show for the Brit’s Navy back then, was mortally wounded during that battle. This is something that upset a lot of people, probably Mrs. Nelson most of all. The outnumbered British fleet led by Nelson’s HMS Victory defeated French and Spanish ships off the coast of Spain, just west of a place called Cape Trafalgar as it turns out. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships, without a single British vessel being sunk so a pretty big deal at the time.
Clearly, I’ve got this thing about beating the odds. The lions are enormous; even the most agile little kid require a few minutes to clamber up and pose for mum and dads camera. As I snapped pics, I airily informed my friend that I’d be using that every photographer’s friend, Photoshop, to remove the intrusive children from my photos. “It’s for Claudia after all,” I said more than once.
Being British, my friend pretended to yet again, believe me. Truth is, I have this thing about paying my respects to events or people who beat the odds. I know little of Lord Nelson but I know that he sure knew he was outnumbered and out flanked and still, he beat the French and Spanish, turning the tides of that war and firmly establishing Britain as the world’s dominating Naval presence. Nelson drew a line in the waters and the results were lasting. Britain ruled the high seas for sometime there after though they didn’t get the food right for centuries to come. We can actually thank the influx of Middle Eastern and Indian immigrants into London for the decent food there now.
Meanwhile, I’m fortunate to be able to mark my continued recovery from cancer in this way. There was a time, not so long ago, that I thought I’d never travel again, much less stand with respectful admiration paw to paw with the Lions of Trafalgar Square.
Sometimes, the silent roar speaks loudest of all.