I’ve been dreaming of the Dolls House lately. I recall those Saturday mornings when I popped pain au chocolat in the oven, made coffee and minutes later I’d tenderly hold them as I bit into the hot flaky pastry, the chocolate oozing out the edges, savouring every sweet delicious bite. My strong sweet coffee would be lukewarm as I lit another cigarette and avidly scoured the newspapers. Birds would be singing, cars revving, children screeching along the pavement outside my dear little flat. I’d stand at the kitchen window watching the world go by as I contemplated going shopping, watching the racing or a film or just lying on the floor daydreaming listening to music. If I remembered, I’d switch on Jonathan Ross on the radio and laugh at his outrageous banter with his guests or about some personality, more often or not though about himself. If I were still sprawled on the carpet come lunchtime I’d be on the ‘phone to my mum or dad.
I remember the way the sun streamed through the window and if I was watching television I’d draw those green velvet curtains, otherwise it was impossible to see the picture. Not that it has that good a picture anyway - the reception really was quite pitiful as I had only an antennae aerial that I moved from the top of the T.V. to the carpet to the top of my computer monitor. Otherwise the picture was all at sea, all wobbly lines, fuzz and sparkly bits.
Then there was the way the rain hammered down on the flat roof or beat against the windows. Ah, and the funny way it dripped from the inside of the kitchen window if it was a particularly heavy downpour in that direction. I used to love watching the rain trickle down the windowpanes. Come to think of it, I always have loved watching that and the sound and smell of rain no matter where I’ve lived.
There’s something magical about rain in London though. Maybe it’s the river, maybe it’s the pollution, or the way the buildings and parks, the cars and buses, trains and people all jostle for space, but it dances over everyone and everything and makes it all come to life. No, that’s not quite right. For it’s always seemed to me that London is alive, supercharged, even when it’s sleeping. Maybe, what I’m trying to say is that it feels like you can hear it breathing. Taste and smell it breathing. Yes, that sweet, salty, earthy, dusty vibrant urgent breathing. Dull grey skies, rain spattered streets, fast moving river and the ever present sprays of colour as red buses, black cabs, white, yellow and neon lights and all those blurs of people flash by. And above the cacophony of voices, music, traffic, sirens, pigeons, banging and drills the constant hiss of rain and concrete, rain and tarmac mingling.
I used to love watching from my office window as the rain fell on the Thames. You could see the little light blinking on top of Canary Wharf, but the triangle top (it often made me think of the green triangle in Quality Street – was it the art deco feel it had?) would disappear behind clouds; sometimes, wispy shreds, other times thick and heavy as a duvet. Well, whoever coined the phrase, blanket of fog, knew what they were talking about. The ignominious Dome sat fat and heavy, it’s crown of red lights blinking.
I may recall more of rainfall some other day. For now though I’m going to bed. Well, I’ll smoke another cigarette, and then rest my weary head.