“£25 please.” Whoever said ‘travel is the only thing we buy that makes us richer’ clearly never rode the London Eye.
I hate feeling like a tourist in my own country but I was trying my best to enjoy the ride. London’s landmarks disappeared beneath our glass chariot: Big Ben, The Shard and Canary Wharf turned into Lego as we entered the sky.
The lady next to me was convinced I was missing the show. She kept nudging me, pointing and saying things like ‘I’m speechless’, which unfortunately she wasn’t.
Another ten metres higher, another gasp. “Look at that view!” Her smile left dimples in her cheeks. “It’s priceless isn’t it.” I glanced at the guidebook next to me. Actually no, it isn’t. Constructing the London Eye cost £70 million.
She was having a really good time. “It’s just genius isn’t it,” she leant towards me. “Who would have thought of inventing this?” Cavemen probably, I thought, when they invited the wheel 5500 years ago. The London Eye is just a remix. “Yeah they’ve really reinvented the wheel,” I replied. Blank face. Oh come on! That’s good stuff. I wriggled my headphones from my pocket and nodded to the beat of an imaginary song.
We landed back exactly where we started. My new friend was glowing with happiness, she’d really got her money’s worth. She’d taught me something too: act like a kid and you enjoy things more. She looked at me and grinned. “How do you feel?”
I collected my feelings. “Precisely £25 poorer.”