The South Bank At Night - London., a photo by Jim Linwood on Flickr.
Ordinary life. Walking along the King's Road, a diversion into Lush for a sweet silly present, sitting on the Circle Line. I remember this, I remember this from another time. A guilty, but not really, text, "On my way". African time, I learn later.
Re-calling those times as I wait at the junction at Sloane Square: a winter evening, city lights, traffic arguing right of way. The early eighties. No central heating, no shower. Fortunately, an automatic washing machine. Black and white tv, mobile, tune in with a dial, never broke, never died, abandoned for colour later.
Rushing up the stairs at Embankment. I'm late, I'm late. Will I be able to see? Up Villiers Street and in the side entrance, sneaking through the back way, roaming the station, scanning. Out through the front, there, right ahead, from the back but - unmistakeable? Yes. Big instant smiles. Faces light up. A dazzle of energy, fireflies hovering. We've found each other.
Tea at the Cafe at St Martins. It's quiet. The feisty pensioners with sharp elbows are elsewhere today. I'm thirsty. I fill my cup continuously, tea, milk, stir. Serious faces, we compose ourselves for the business of getting to know each other. He remembers every word, I remember nothing. Maybe Patrick Holford has a point.
We move. Out across the river. A mild evening, windless. We're holding hands. I smile.
The South Bank. Den of scoundrels, thieves, lawlessness. We decide to walk. It's beautiful. Almost to the Millenium Bridge, but not quite, the chill gets the better of us. We walk slowly. I sit every so far, gazing at the river.
Mulled wine in the Festival Hall. We find a quiet place. An elderly black woman directs us to the toilets. I'm a regular here. She sits in her fur hat. You've missed the performance, consulting her gig guide, there's nothing now until Wednesday. I'm a regular here. When we leave, we wave good-bye.