Bright-on

Grey London in the morning. Freezing fog rolling over the Thames. Angry people with hoods and masks stumping down the Embankment solo like weird dwarves in a 1980’s alternate reality comic. My doorbell rings, earlier than I could’ve hoped.

Mindful Chef. I ordered myself some expensive vegan self-cook meal boxes with BRITISH produce from BRITISH BRITAIN – things of which they appear to be inordinately proud. After the box was paid for I decided to go to British Brighton into my bubble, so I had to wait until they dropped it off so I could take some of it with me and fridge the rest.

Out of London, grey all the way – South, ever South and all the trees are dusted frost at noon. No sun to be seen going south. None in the home counties. Stumpy dwarves give way to disconsolate dog walkers as people psychically try to loosen the bowels of their favourite hounds. I can almost hear their thoughts: “I’m cold. Go poo. Poo quickly, dammit!”

Grey grey grey, and freezing fog. The car is registering minus 2 as I pass the sign that says “Brighton and Hove”. I haven’t seen the sky all day and it’s afternoon. Just a carpet of wet sharp cold smoke like the opposite of a house fire. Branches stand bare, clad in delicate flakes. The grass is white. Everything is frozen and glistening.

Suddenly, just as I approach the sea, a snap of change and a shock of warmth and there it is, the sun, over the sea! A total change into unrecognisable weather. But for the bite it might be summer.

We go walkies, my bubble and me. We go to the undercliff, feeling the sun on our faces. We lie on the pebbles of the beach and somehow we contrive to be comfortable – to be warm.

“Two degrees warmer in the winter, two degrees colder in the summer,” was my dad’s assessment of The Isle of Man. Perhaps it’s something to do with the sea, that I could find the sun here. We watch a shocking sunset from the warmth of her flat. I break out the Mindful Chef recipe. Vegan butterbean pie with sun-dried tomatoes and chestnuts and kale and enough food for an army. I AM an army but it defeated me. It’s only half five in the evening. We’ve walked and cooked and I’ve eaten so much I’m dozy.

This’ll be me for the next few days. Early to bed, early to rise. I could use all three of the things promised by that rhyme.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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