My morning appointments

Jonathan Spalton

LONDON Emerging from the seasonless light of the underground into Russell Square apricot yellows and tropical greens disappear behind eyelids and flicker with each blink. Yet the dawn is unmistakably grey and muted. First day back on the work routine after a holiday in the sun. The final days of January.

The people damp and sullen look only at the floor in shuffled acceptance, I see the same characters that I recognise but do not know – the same legion of dog-walkers and commuters that frequent this space at this hour each with their own appointment with me. 7:59 – knotted-brow-man has a new Man Utd beanie pulled down across his forehead – maybe a xmas present. 8:03 – beret lady – rushing as per with power-walk strides. 8:06 – white-haired gent with matching Scottish terrier (once broke the London silence to draw my attention to my fallen gloves); I give him a smile and almost say a hearty ‘Good Morning’ but he turns awkwardly away.

Passing the British Museum a blink gives back the row of plane trees their greenery, but only for a moment. Plodding along it’s not until 8:09 that I notice… where is waistcoat-moustache man?! I hope he’s on holiday somewhere… in the sun.

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