“Is this London?” she pouts, pressing a chocolatey face to the tagged and leaking window as their train waits at Worcester Park. “Daddy, when is it going to be London?”
At Bow Church DLR, the bride boards, cream heels delicately minding the gap. Her right hand grips a posy, her left curls itself around a handrail, silver ring glittering.
Removing his coat, he breaks through the buses and levers himself over the railing that divides Upper Street. Dismounting, he smiles at me drunkenly, then jigs into Angel’s welcoming mouth.
In the tombless gloom of bombed St Mary’s churchyard, between the Elephant and the looming shell of a dead hotel, he carefully unfolds a music stand, and uncases his trombone.
Have you ever noticed, he suddenly said, almost as if he knew her, that the studs fixing these tube-seat covers in place all look like the faces of startled bears?
Oblivious to lunchtime crowds, he strides towards Holborn Circus – sharp suit flashing in the Hatton Garden windows, mobile clenched tight – shouting: “You’re the one who told me you loved me…”
With hair gelled to spikes and skin still pink from blade and Lynx, the Sidcup boys in their crisp white Saturday shirts all look vaguely like friends of Frank Lampard.
As staff sweep up, a blue-haired Japanese girl sits in McDonald’s window, ear to mobile, lips unmoving, two dark wet smudges fixed through glass on somewhere that’s not Pentonville Road.
On a brisk Sunday morning a gentleman in a long velvet morning coat and top hat rides a tiny pink-painted bicycle through the gutter on Lower Clapton Road.
At Clapham North he pulls a knob of root ginger from his bag and, with eyes cast down, rubs its surface tenderly; perhaps, I think, it’s his lucky magic ginger.