Four things you don’t see every day on the streets of London
…hanging in a back street near my office
Artists, no… cyclists, no… artists, definitely artists
Walking down Charring Cross Road one morning. Someone peeps out of a glass door ahead of me, then retreats, holding the door open.
I hear a clatter behind me, it gets closer.
I look around.
A girl in colorful clothes is riding down the bus lane on an old bike. She mounts the dropped kerb, crosses the footpath and glides straight through the open door into the marble foyer of St Martins School of Art.
The glass door closes behind her.
I walk on.
Walking down Shaftesbury Avenue one morning.
Three teenage girls on the footpath ahead are giggling and red faced, doubling up in excitement and pleasure. Surely only a Robbie Williams sighting or termites down the trousers could cause such excitement.
I draw closer.
The girls are paralyzed by now. They are outside a large roller-door. Inside, A truckload of sweaty firemen have returned from a job, and are climbing down from the engine.
I walk on.
New to London. My third trip to Ikea in a week, in a rented van: five sets of bookshelves on this trip, flying solo.
Heaving my trolley — it must have been over 250kg — of bookshelves and bits and pieces towards the man who looks after them while you get your van, I glance towards the loading area.
A formally dressed man in his late fifties is straining to heave massive boxes into the back of a large Mercedes-Benz saloon.
A woman with a platinum bob haircut and expensive handbag is shuttling between two tasks: trying to get her two small boys into the back of the large car, and trying to help the formally dressed man with the boxes.
The man with the boxes is shuttling between two tasks: heaving the boxes into the boot of the car, and holding the car door open for the woman and her small boys.
Whenever the man holds the car door open for the boys, the woman helps him by placing small bagged items into the boot of the car. Whenever the man heaves a box into the car, he must, first, remove all the small bagged items the woman has put there to make space. He pauses to hold the door between every box. She loads in small bagged items between every box.
He is about to snap.
His chauffeur’s cap hangs from the handle of the trolley.
I walk on.
Copyright © Damian Clarke, 2020. First posted to the Our Albion blog, August 7th, 2007.