Monday, 30 December 2013

The South Bank At Night - London.

The South Bank At Night - London. by Jim Linwood
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.

Ordinary life.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Review of 2013

A friend's Facebook status had a review of 2013: started poorly ended on a high. Same for me, too.

Miserable, cold, bleak and, in case I didn't get it, topped off with a bump on the head. Later in the year I completed a test of cognitive functioning - some exploitative nonsense put out by Patrick Holford to rev up people's worries about dementia - still functioning. So the crackles and fizzing were all in the mind.

Finally, in April, a sunny day. Walked to work by the river, everyone was excited about the brightness. I wondered why everyone didn't just take the day off. The end of the project continued inexorably, relentlessly marching towards the final day. Boss wasn't there, spent the weekend in Ireland.

A strange summer: beautiful days at the house, enjoying the craic with tree surgeons, lovely boys rolling on the vast expanse of carpet - like a magnet, compelling them to start wrestling. Empty days in the new building, clinical, sterile, lifeless.

Into the autumn: we've got to get out of this place.

Made it to Wolverhampton. Not the obvious choice, but it had something I wanted.

Finally, in November, we started to hit something: a big idea, something new no-one had done before. Lots of nay-sayers: ha! I know where I am now.

And then, December, apropos of nothing, an innocent community event, shabby, blu-tac scarred venue, lovely food, happy people, a wonderful, unexpected experience.

2013 ended well, as it should have done, if it knew what was good for it.