Jerk Chicken. Steak and seafood precede this post along with a Mojita or two. Within ten minutes of leaving the train I bumped into two pupils as I trailed my spotted suitcase on my way to the North Road. But at 5 pm the rush was irresistible ! Cigarette smoke , garlic, onions spices beer serenaded my progress. Factor in the fragrances in John Lewis, the brands a litany of olfactory heaven: Loccitane Issy Lancôme Clarins, Estee Lauder Benefit , I was in retail overdrive. Designer products , retail labels rose to meet me like long lost and new found friends. Here and there interspersed with these, the face of the addict , the homeless. An Iraqi woman sold fabric flowers, the seller of a magazine harassed me because I did not have enough cash, and in the bay the long walk around the square of Bute Street where i was watched carefully by two men. Which was why I climbed breathless and hot to the fourth floor ( the lifts not working she said in Welsh). Later a guy with a travel pillow in his case asked me for a spare cigarette .
As the train pulled towards the bay a child dreamed of castles and dragons, monsters , visits to America and was incredulous when he saw a violin. ‘It’s a double base,” his grandma says.” Not a violin. It’s like the violin Jess plays at Chirch but much bigger. A violin is small. ‘ and the boy thinks of castles and Giants and monsters once more.
The bay is quiet with enough breeze to make it feel nippy. The leaves are copper, brown, yellow orange and every hue I between . They flutter in the wake of traffic , and train and men walk in their shirts . One girl dressed like Audrey Hepburn is sleeveless and my singing feet envy her cool look teamed with D M! Miss Hepburn would have chosen heels . And I hear my grandmothers voice saying , “The pavements are bad.”
My mother would have marvelled st the unseasonable warmth.and despite my 16 years knowledge of her death I caught myself thinking of conversations by phone: the Hepburn girl, unseasonable heat, the coal exchange, carluccios the Christmas Market. The trains, the covered market and the horrific price of boots in Dickens and Jones. Then I recollect she is not here and in the blink of a eye she left again.
This morning I was struck by the early morning hush, the sense of anticipation in air, lightly tinged with the smell of diesel, the blunt noise of demolition, and the flush of fireworks . Everywhere is red bricks and trees, lime smells and curry smells and the chime of Europaean accents . My Somali taxi driver drops me off. I think of Calais and children, Brexit and March . I think of Prevent training and its British Values and realise my values are Welsh and Europaean and suddenly I hope and pray that te weather is just as sweet and mild in Calais