Monday morning and cycling the familiar route to work, there is a tabby kitten slinking across the road and down an alley off Brick Lane. The back doors of a lorry are open wide with the end rolls of material stacked up in coloured rings of cloth. They are shouldered into the open door of a shop.
Running over Tower Bridge one morning – early daylight and crawling traffic, purple grey city and cold air, the sound of my footsteps on the tarmac.
When I got off the Underground, a pigeon flaps on and pecks at something on the train floor. A child spins around to look. It made me think of that old nineties film with Meg Ryan, that one with the internet dialup tone and the New York romance and a butterfly on the subway at 42nd. Ger’s favourite film. London with the pigeons and grey pavements and the voice of the tube driver seems bright, very real.
A rainbow over the buildings after a meeting in Hammersmith. The wee boy who counts five pennies pieces from one hand to the other in the newsagents ahead of me. Friday morning market and the colours of scarves and jackets and fruit on the stall. Talking with the boys at work about the previous night in the pub. Lunchtime sunshine on cold stone. Someone says something about backs of houses and in my head are yards, gutters, bricks, squares of wet grass and forgotten footballs. That lovely height and sense of swooping elevation from suburban train lines.
On my way to see my friend in Clapham, the headlamps from the northbound train light up the parallel tunnel like a fairytale dragon. Hallowe’en fancy dress costumes on the train and cigarette sparks in the night air.
Gold on Hampstead Heath. We have a breathless climb and then the whole of London is spread out in a haze of distant buildings. Families, kites, scampering dogs, the spilt light of the pub. Clocks turned back and it is five pm and dusk this October evening.