Jun. 19th, 2009

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I have no real time or energy to describe my week in London, and plan to do that on Saturday, maybe on the coach back to Cardiff. However, my mind is full of the sensory experiences of the past few days.

The city in bright sunshine looks so different to when the streets are grey and slick with rain like the skin of a seal. Dust and pollen swirl in shafts of light that penetrate between tower blocks, motes that dance in upward drafts of warm air carried through tiny parks and squares of green littered across the map of London. Gusts of wind channelled down alleyways whip tawny fallen blossoms into cyclones of brittle, spent flowers where the walls meet at angles. The Tube in the summertime has a heavy, cloying heat of a thousand breaths; strange bodies pressed and swaying rhythmically against my own are intimate and anonymous.

A walk through the streets smells of charcoal-grilled meat; of stagnant water near the Thames; of exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke as workers gather in tiny tribes outside their office buildings in the streets around the business districts. The taste of fresh-brewed peppermint tea made sweet with coarse brown sugar mixes on my tongue with the spicy liquorice-and-apple flavour from the smoke drawn through the long, rope-wound hose of the shisha pipe at our feet. As the sun sets, the leisurely click of counters on the wooden backgammon board ticks away the last minutes of the day. The swish of a silver tray of charcoals, swung from a metal chain by a waiter to make them glow red hypnotises me as I recline on fat cushions under a canvas canopy in the dwindling daylight.

Whatever other good things have happened whilst I've been in the city can wait for a practical description. Right now I lie in my borrowed bed, unable to think of chronology or events, only feelings and reactions.

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Madame G

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