An extract from my next book on London memoirs; Steps Through a City
They strike so I walk. Drizzling cobbled detours stumble to a misplaced church named ‘Garlycke’. A statue of a man and swan and the brassy wealth of Leadenhall Market linger.
There is no market, only damp ‘suits’ sticking their bellies out over expensive pints and middle aged chuckles.
From Liverpool Street to the Southbank I step. Listless greys and the bloodstain brown of riverside buildings weigh heavy on the banks.
Wood, stone, steel, slate: all mashed together as though the Thames unrolled itself and shoved all of modernism to a tidal line.
Even the yellow Klee sign on Tate Modern is a bitter, aged mustard in the rain. Posters promise excitement, something new on every level beside the sight of a wharf jetty. its silt riddled posts rise from the mud like gammy bowed legs.
Do not misread, all these sights bring a precious calm compared to the whir of life on the opposite bank.
This is London with the illuminations off like the seaside in winter. Midweek afternoons. A kind of bliss in the sparsity
Along the river promises a book market. Tilt your head and crabstep along the titles beneath Waterloo Bridge. Hope for Eliot, dear Wyndham only to find padlocked bins and puddles. Only shadows and wordless spaces.
Over the river the people are striking. The pay is not enough. I have no pay, not even a teapot or a sheet. The crumpled fiver hoped for dear Wyndham. The purse snapped shut.
He wasn’t there. .