The cycle chain slides into the teeth of the cog. Wednesday. East. West. South. North London. I’m standing in The centre of The Angel’s Paperchase looking at fifteen identical 2011 diaries which the shop assistant’s lugged from the stockroom. They’re the last stock of 2011 and a bargain at a quarter of the retail price but then Just as I was about to buy I stopped. I remembered something.
I cycle from Angel – with a cycle bag full of years – into central London to Sicillian Avenue were I have lunch at Patisserie Valerie they’re everywhere now with a woman called Angel. She tells the truth. Then it’s off to West London. I give a workshop for young people in care. It’s part of a large project I am managing in Ealing for young people in care – The Superheroes project. The workshop was so incredible I nearly forgot the diaries.
Back at the shop earlier in the day the 2011/12 current stock diaries are three times the price and come in all different sizes, styles and colours. I thanked the shop assistant and bought them. I remembered what it was like to have the same stock from the same cheap stores. On the tube home in early evening out of the blue a Jamaican woman sparks up conversation. She seems crazy to the other passengers – I can tell – but she wasn’t. She just had a loud voice, broad patwa, a bulbous akward bag and more weight than she bargained for.
She asks about my shoes, “how much they were”, and we talk about everything from Ethiopia to Israel. She’s loud but sweet. She’s like an older sister who left the family for some unspoken reason whom I, the brother, visit in secret, taking pleasure from her rebellion. The packed train clackety clacks like a sowing machine threading our conversation through the other passengers. She’s taken a shine to me. She loves Israel she says “beautiful place Israel” she says “You’re a good man” she says “are you a Christian?”.