Maybe it’s the heat. I’m in Greenwich. And there’s a graceful bow of light and heat before the festival of street theatre begins. Everyone seems a little lighter here. So I walk out by The Cutty Sark to take in The Thames and catch the breeze. There’s something hypnotic about staring at the river. We are strange animals we who stand by the sea. The mind can play tricks on the eye but I felt I saw movement beneath the water. I watched it. I tried to focus. The heat! A vast shadow seemed to lurk beneath the surface and then gently it sloped downwards and the river returned to its natural skin tone. The shadow was large and was grey and was no fish and no piece of wood. To me it was a whale. My private Whale.
Yesterday BBC radio Four’s today programme reported “about 20 of the UK’s leading scientists and meteorologists are due to meet at the Met Office to discuss Britain’s “unusual” weather patterns The scientists will be considering changes in long term ocean cycles such as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, a system of deep currents that transport heat around the world.
“Prof Stephen Belcher from the Met Office Hadley Centre, who will chair the meeting, said these cycles could be having an impact. “The ocean circulation has been stuck in a rather strange pattern for the past 10 years or so, which in fact has given the unusual weather patterns in many parts of the world,” he told BBC news. Right now I am in Waterstones in Greenwich typing this. And if I did see a whale then this could be one of the most memorable festival residencies of my life. It could’ve been a shadow. I’m trying to track tweets to see if anyone else has mentioned anything. However, I’m going to take it as a sign. My private Whale.