Passing a construction worker on the pavement downing a large bottle of water. Akin to an advert for the ‘addiction to Adam’s Ale’, where even a builder, who years ago might have settled for a cup of tea (and cigarette), now opts for the source (no pun) of rehydration.
‘Uncertain Emotion’ – SW1-SE1
From hitting the road (surface) to police station and on to A&E. The hospital entrance. Despite the signs outlawing the habit, those entering pass through a ‘smokers guard of honour’. Reception. Form filling at individual booths, as if applying for a passport. The wait in a temporary ‘UCC’. An area not unlike a departure lounge (hopefully not in the mortal sense). ‘Last call for Jackson Bridge’. A patient or an airline passenger? Initial silence and calm (resignation) erupting into conflict, ranging from low level complaints about the waiting time (3 hours) up to a belligerent patient initiating a quartet of security guards. A return to the relative calm as those still in attendance sink back wearily in their plastic chairs to stare at Eastenders followed by Holby City (a kind of surrealist joke?). No books, just the illuminated screens of phones and laptops. And then the call. Emerging into the cold clear night air, tired, sore and a bit dazed. Across the water lies illuminated Westminster. Big Ben marking time on a place that never closes.