Running Sucks Sorta Maybe No

Running sucks. I’m kinda learning to love it. As a child, I was taught that exercise was basically a moral sin. For my Dad, who was always overweight, exercise was just something he straight-up refused to do. My Mum loves walking everywhere and values exercise in life deeply, but always had a strong sense that to ‘do exercise’ such as the gym was to indulge in unforgivable vanity and self-importance. That, and she hated the swimming pool changing rooms. Consequently, I was raised suspicious of basically all activity that wasn’t walking casually ever. At secondary school, my PE report was…

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Some Days In The City

‘Tis the season of grass pollen and brown fluff, and all across London people are snuffling, coughing and choking their way through a gently, if variably beautiful summer. Growth is everywhere.  Trees that five weeks ago were stubby twigs with tiny buds are now dangling over the pavement, forcing people to duck beneath them as they scurry around.  Along the canal, the walkway has halved in width in some places as wild blueberry bushes and giant budlias have suddenly spurted forward, growing just fast enough to remind you that urban civilization is indeed a tender thing, and will fall within…

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6 Inches of London Snow

Day 0. The weather report says snow is coming.  Some of us still remember when this was a regular thing, but that was 20 years ago.  Transport for London starts issuing warnings.  Not “don’t travel” just, “expect disruption” because they know from bitter experience that it’s not enough to say “there might be snow”.  If you want to avoid the irate emails, the snarky tweets, the furious interviews from shuttered platforms with local news, you gotta say “it’s gonna go wrong”.  Somehow that makes everything already better. It’s the same with the ad campaign on the underground.  “You plan for…

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Spring comes to London 2017

Spring has come to London!  And it is, as always, beautiful.  After four months of glum limited hours and leafless trees, there’s the smell of flowers on the air, fresh buds on the branches, and the foxes are getting ever bolder by day and night….

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Light in Winter

At dawn, you see the reflection of the sunlight off tall buildings, before you see the sun.  The sky is a powdery blue-grey, and distances seem odd.  Are those clouds overhead, or has the day simply not yet come into definition? The light rises a little higher, cold, brilliant and yellow-white.  Sometimes it peeps out through thick cloud in solid streams, like shrapnel from a celestial bomb.  You can see it move, flow in and out across the paving stones as clouds skud overhead in high winds.  You still haven’t spotted the sun, but it’s making itself known. Some mornings,…

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