Archive for the ‘Autumn in London’ Category

Shaken not stirred   Leave a comment

Went to see the new James Bond movie last night. It was the start of half-term break for the schools, and Eid al-Adha, and payday for many. The cinema was thronged. I was annoyed. I am normally a daytime lurker in empty cinemas, sitting where I want, spreading out over three seats and losing myself in the movie.

I readjusted my mindset to ‘Oh well, just enjoy the experience’ and went inside.  I fought my way into a seat I would never chose, squashed between two gangly youths and played the elbow game to gain control of the armrests. (This is where you forget any instinctual body space issues and press up against your neighbour’s elbow until they yield and you win the arm rest  – good for the tube also).

The place was chaotic. Mobile phones were everywhere. Kids ran in and out and climbed over seat-backs. Raucous laughter burst sporadically from different sections. A few oldies (Bond stalwarts like myself) were visible in strategic seats. I kicked myself. They had arrived early knowing it would be like this.

The trailers started. An old guy laughed. A group of young guys sitting behind him began to laugh at how he laughed. Around them, others joined in, laughing at their audacity.

The movie started. Very dark. Lots of psychobabble. Not sure I approve.  When was Bond every meaningful? (except when his wife died in ‘Her Majesty’s Secret Service’) However this one does have a wicked villain in Javier Bardem (who has an amazing face). And there are flashes of beautiful Bond humour throughout.

In the middle of the movie, a fight broke out across the aisle from me. It culminated in an older man standing up, leaning over the back of his seat, grabbing a teenager by the front of his jacket and threatening to throw him from the top of the steps to the bottom. It was great! Drama on and off-screen – what great value for money!

At the end of the movie there was a moment of silence. And then everyone spontaneously cheered and clapped! It was the first time in ages I’d experienced something like this in a cinema. Yes, sometimes when I go to meaningful movies. But this outburst was sheer joy from a gang of hyperactive teenagers and appreciative oldguy Bond addicts. It made my night.

I strolled out of the cinema full of joy and into the cold and dark London night. Because it was Eid, this part of London was buzzing. People were dressed in their best, hugging each other, taking photos, talking loudly and laughing. It felt really wonderful.

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Truancy   Leave a comment

Today I ran away from work.

I am a middle-aged professional in a responsible job. I have my own office. I have people who work for me. I am extremely conscientious, arriving early and finishing late. I sometimes work weekends. I just don’t do slacking.

Then today, I was walking down Oxford Street on the way to a meeting in West London and I just got on the wrong tube and went to my favourite park. I skived off, committed truancy, mitched.

I switched off my mobile and listened to the daft conversations around me. People talking about how good the sausages were (they are!), drinking flasks of tea to keep themselves warm, talking about their dogs, gossiping about their absent friends.

It was a completely unconscious thing to do.

I experienced a brief moment of delight before the self-analysis about why I did it and guilt for the work not done kicked in. Damn my background/culture/heritage! I am still analysing myself about it now!

Autumn – OMG its here! Loveit/hateit/loveit   1 comment

Wow! That was quick! Where did summer go?

Walked home this evening.
Cold. Windy. Cardigan on for the first time. Buttoned up.

Snuggled under warm duvet tonight.  I forgot how good it is to snuggle under a warm duvet in the cold.

Weather forecast.  Frost promised. And squally showers. Wow! this is it now. Summer is really over. First frost here. Long nights good. Short days bad.

But there is a germ of delight in me about the cold, and the wind, and a knot of anticipation of kicking through leaves and listening to that beautiful noise. And rain. And being able to wear warm clothes and my boots. Mmm!

But summer is over so quickly. I need more time in the  sun and warmth.

But now I can wear gloves and take photos of skeletons of trees and take the first step outside my door in the morning and have the delight of breathing frosty air and seeing my breath.

The dilemma of being on the cusp. Aargh!

The start of Autumn   1 comment

On the London Loop in September. Hayes & Harlington to Uxbridge. Along the canal at Hayes bums and bowsies, beer cans and junk.

Then as the town and noise are left behind, dragonflies, butterflies, magpies, blackberries, hips and haws, starlings and squirrels. Burnt grass  and hard ground. September scorching hot but with a nippy start and end to the day, a hint of Autumn in the air and a promise of what is to come.

My secret London, hidden under and behind the big arterial roads and train tracks. Rivers and streams, fishermen, children diving off bridges into frond filled fast-flowing Fray and Little Britain lake. Little Britain’s children, burnt in unexpected sun.

And then the grand entrance into Uxbridge. A canal lined with barges and dry docks. The General Eliott pub, half empty overlooking the canal. Massive leather sofa on a big verandah, the pub itself looking like something straight from Victorian times.  Tiny windows, ivy covered, full of working men with names like Clive, on their day off.  Barges chugging down the canal.  On the other side of the canal in the working dry-dock, a radio plays.  The ripples of the canal water are reflected in the large galvanised sheds painted a wonderful shade of green.

The chugging barges show the personality of their owners. Some, the day-tripper/weekender boats, are neat, pretty and tidy. Men with shades sit on the top self-consciously. Others, the real survivalist types, are decorated with barbecues made from cut-open gas tanks, bits of washing machines, blocks of wood, bikes and washing decorating the top and sides.

It is so peaceful and quiet, the only noise, the radio across the canal, the chug of the barges and the low murmur of the working men.  I fantasize about dropping off the edge of the world, buying a barge and staying here forever.