So this week I cycle to Somerset House for a meeting. It is three o clock in the afternoon and already purple dusk in the air. Through the Barbican tunnel, I meet a guy also cycling and we chat all the way, past Smithfields and the through the cold air. He turns left to St Pauls and I carry on. There is a dragon frozen in the sky along Aldwych. Past the Inns of Court and left into Somerset House where there are families, and lights and the white slab of ice rink. Outside, after the meeting, I am smiling. It is dark but the huge tree is lit up gold and silver and my bike flashes red.

The sky one morning is light. In the streets, too early, the sickle moon fades into the translucent blue. Freezing air and swinging schoolbags at the bus stop.

Norfolk for the weekend and the birthday of one of the girls. The train back cuts through Ely and Cambridge, dots on the hazy map in my mind. I think about a book I loved as a child and drag it back from my memory – Tom and his midnight garden and something to do with winter, and a girl, a frozen river and the cathedral heights. The land is flat, silver and pale with ditches and water and field after field. Locks and docks; rising water.

Back to London and an early Christmas dinner with paper hats and silly games and new people. Pink lights, a hand on my neck, ice on the street outside.


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