Late afternoon. The streets are cold. Wind cuts through clothes, skin to bone. Three or four men walk up the road clutching beer cans. One of them has a head like a plucked chicken. He’s smoking a joint, unashamedly, unabashedly in the daylight street as if the country’s laws had completely passed him by.
The shops are lit but no-one’s inside. The only place doing a brisk trade is the Job Centre. I duck into a doorway to get out of the wind. Light a small cigar. There’s plenty of raw material around here if you’re thinking of being the next Charles Dickens. A woman in a purple coat walks by talking into her phone. ‘Is it easy’, she says, ‘to bleed a radiator?’
That afternoon, I look out of the window, boredom making me heavy. Tower blocks like ships docked on land. Sudden brightening of the sun. It stains the walls of the nearest block. A mellow, red colour like fortified wine. The gulls blush to a rose-quartz colour.