Sunday, 27 September 2009


I go down below the level of traffic. People are spread out on the narrow grass verge, where the sun still filters down. It is pockmarked with the shadows of leaves already curling in the low range of the sun. Pink tables and chairs made from a single thickness of metal cut out consecutively to create slats in the back of the chairs and radiating holes upon the surface of each table are situated on an uneven stone patio under the full impact of that sun. The laquered pink enamel paint that covers all the surfaces inbetween the cut-out holes flares upwards. I sit down on one of these chairs out of a group of three or four left empty around one of those tables. I look up the vertical wall surface of the towering cathedral with the light directly on it. My neck aches to try and find the very top of it. I skirt across the pink surface that departs horizontally from my belly, reach into my bag and take out the wrapped up chocolate brownie. I break it in half, put the rest back into the bag and eat the remaining part in my hand. It is thick with chocolate and creates a rush to my temples. My eyes water. I stare out. My nose seems to flare up and itch. There's a man balanced on the edge of a wall by the entrance of the doorway who keeps rolling back on to the grass verge and then tipping forward again so that the underside of his flanks and thighs must make contact with the cold undersurface of that brick wall. He is saying something to the people as they go in and out of those wooden swing doors. His belly hangs over his trousers and the white shirt below the pulled tight jumper is clearly visible. He has dark hair that grows forward over his ears and continues over his chin, brushing his moist and potruding slightly parted lips.
A man and a woman approach me. They eye the tables and chairs and begin folding up the empty ones , collapsing them like a deck of cards. They go all around the patio floor picking out the uninhabited furniture, then linger on the side-lines and wait. I say something to the woman about musical chairs. I sit firm for a while and so do some others- we eye one another in a celebratory way, then slink off one by one as if we had something better to do. I go into the cathedral and am handed a program for evensong. I sit in the pew which is bathed in light, filtered, cut and moulded by the coloured glass in the windows which breaks up the story-line of those series into the molten wax of a mobile aquarium which I and others now inhabit.

A side door unlocks and a row of men in grey smocks down to their feet drift out one by one. There are gaps to this process so that they apear quite randomly to appear and suddenly to be there. Singing begins.
A deep male voice. Then stops. Croaks. Rebegins in a different key. This stopping and starting goes on for some time. The woman with the evensong program continues to hand out the folded paper to those in the pews. One by one they decline and within moments most have got up and left.  I am handed another program and the woman informs me that it won't be the boys singing it will be the men. I don't understand this comment. Something changes in the light as the sun moves fractionally down the building. The aquarium feel begins to go and things begin to concretize into set aspects. I too get up and go. I walk around the heavy dark lower regions of the outside of this grey building, past the throngs of people coming from the other way and make it to the river front by the side of a pub where many people stand with honey coloured glasses.
We are in shadow. I look out across the water to the other bank still flushed by the light. The bridge too is in the light so that the glass windows on the passing vehicles flashes on and off as each one consecutively passes  through the ray of the sun that bounces back to where we stand and vacantly gaze out beyond the already ensuing coldness of this bank. I make my way back on to that bridge but before I get there, as I am circumnavigating around the other side of the cathedral, the small battery operated open fronted pick-up carrier, now laden down with all the pink slated chairs and tables, all folded and pressed flat one against the other, passes me by. The woman driving it half turns and glances at me as for a moment we run along side together, before it overtakes me and goes off under the tunnel.


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