I’ve been behind recently, my life too full of boxes and keys to have chance to write but now there is a moment, a slim gap in the afternoon.

So a few weeks ago, work finished with a charity, saying goodbye to them and tying up the last pieces of writing. Running through Angel and up to Highbury, with the sweep of buses and cyclists on my right.

On Friday, there were some drinks because I’m leaving this city. In a thin pub, chosen because it is small, with people who I hug tight. It feels special that they are here. A coloured print rolled up and tied with a ribbon.

Phil and I go to the zoo; an odd tourist thing that I would never have thought to do – except for a half price voucher and a sudden whim. We sit on the steps to watch the penguins, my knees in his back. I love the giraffes with their long, slow steps, absurd necks, Victorian eccentricity. Later on we are outside a pub on a corner, sitting on the pavement and two friends join. Inside, there is an actress – a star of an American television series a few years ago and supposedly in rehab – sitting at one of the tables.

Later, we are across a table from each other – a busy place and one of my favourites. Bring your own bottle (drink straight from it, if you wish), pass plates of things to each other or, like a game, slide them around each other to make them fit. On each side, there are silent couples, but we are noisy and so is everyone else.

Early in the morning, on the way to the station, I pass a builder – yeah, I’m just having a cuppa and a fag and then I’ll be in he’s saying. Later in the week, a man on a different platform will sing tunelessly all the lovely people, where do they all come from?

On the train to Hay and between the carriages, the windows are open and a hot wind is blowing in. I pause for a few seconds between each one as I walk down with a coffee. Picking up some writing I’ve been doing intermittently for a few years; it’ll never be finished.

It is a July day, hot already and it’s not even nine, and across English fields, sunlight reflects sharp off something.

The flat needs packed up and boxes everywhere: bags for the charity shop, boxes to go north, things to be recycled. Reading old cards – too many and too nice to describe here – from friends in different places

There is summer light outside and I sit in the backyard with a coffee looking up at my windows. Bare skin and too warm at night.

After work with friends from university – we meet in Hyde Park and spread out food and cups. It darkens slowly around us but it’s still light enough on the cycle home.

We drove up early Friday morning: passing the North Circular before eight and stopping in crotchets up the motorway. You have a hand on my shoulder.

In the village pub that night with the girls and dashing up the road to watch the opening ceremony on the television. We have a cake and golden glow of candles because it was Ruth’s birthday this month. The beach the next afternoon is empty and wide, the tide way out and the sand swelling blue silverflash.


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