online: 2 february 2005
modified: 2 february 2005

1 february 2005 a winter evening, after a walk

About 17:00 ...after a brief walk in slight drizzle beneath a layer of fog at about 1000 feet...

Few people here today... the fog layer and drizzle seem to be masking most sounds... all is wet, still and deserted... on Parliament Hill i could barely see the outlines of the tall buildings at Canary Wharf and in the City... the dome of St. Paul's was almost invisible... nevertheless i was glad to be walking, though only for about half an hour, 1 or 2 kilometres...

...and now, in a five o'clock train, after work, i sit amongst tired-looking people, some asleep with heads bowed, or leaning back uncomfortably against windows, as we move slowly through the night which has already begun. The men around me look grim, i can hear a small child crying some distance behind me, and i can hear the wheels jumping and clacking to the irregularities of the track. The man beside me is reading. He is one i recognise but i do not know him. He gets up to go and so do i as we get off at the same station...

...on the way back i call at the delicatessen. One of the assistants is working the till. He tells me that the owner is in intensive care and his wife is with him... they both work long hours, from early morning to late at night, nearly every day of the year... and they often win the award for the best kept shop in the street... i feel saddened by this news and reminded of mortality.

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