Lights in the dark
At night on the South Bank I saw a new-to-me footbridge over the Thames. It was all lit up so I walked and walked to get across it. Everywhere I looked I could see lights shining out in the very dark nights we get once summer gets underway here. It was balmy and sultry with a nice bit of breeze too. Perfect. There is something special about being mid-river, looking out to the city. The water always seems dangerous and fast flowing right down below, a silent counter-balance to the liveliness and chatter.
My feet couldn't take the hard pavements, so I got a taxi after the Houses of Parliament and was able to hear about the new circular tower which has been built seemingly above the buildings at the end of my street. In fact it is on the other side of the river. It had a golden layer near the top, but the taxi driver didn't know whether it was a restaurant. So there's a place to visit next time I am home.
The Festival launch was a surprise. Normally I go with a friend to things like this, so it was a shock to be at a loose end, though I had a chat with someone before going in. The best bits were discovering new but famous poets and hearing already known-to-me poets. Even better than that was saying hi to the Prof who gave one of the lectures on the Iowa poetry class I am enjoying. As he spoke on stage I was thinking, yes that really is you! Just like in the video.
I excelled myself at the book stall by picking up a book and saying I shouldn't, but I'm going to have a little look at this first to decide whether I was going to buy it, then I glanced to my right and there was the author. I apologised for being so crass and she laughed and signed the book before I had even paid for it. She is a hugely political force in Romania. Amazing poems and delivery. I hadn't thought I would appreciate God references, but I guess the religion I am battling against and bathed in is not as much of an option as I had imagined.
Earlier I'd said that I hoped I might bump into people I knew and might stay out for as long as I could get away with! Then I'd asked my father if there was a time I really needed to be back by so he could lock up. I have never had such a conversation with him before. He laughed and said midnight. My mother, characteristically, took this seriously and said no that was fine, just come back whenever and she'd come downstairs to open the door for me. In the old days she'd throw the keys down from their bedroom window onto the pavement! Then ply me with coffee to hear what I'd been up to... No time was too late for her.
I didn't miss it completely, but only one flash woke me. There was no buffeting of the house by the wind. That is what keeps me awake out here in the country. The gusts are terrifying and all too dangerous as we have a 200? year old tree near us which may one day fall and crush two of the bedrooms to the West side of the house.