Long Morning

Six years ago, I swore I'd never do this again.

Technically I still haven't.

The early start leaves my brain ringing with unpleasant echoes, like a nightmare DJ. Everything's a little too loud and a little behind, as if the signal's come from far off, but been amplified and distorted. Did you know that tube trains have windscreen wipers? I'd never noticed that before.

It's already light as we walk through the miserable rain to the bus stop at Chalk Farm. It reminds us both of the drenching we got on the way to Santiago at a similar hour. It's becoming a tradition.

I run Lyn through the preflight essentials - boarding card, passport, credit card, ring - and leave her on the Heathrow Express at Paddington Station, thereby keeping my oath on a technicality.

The tube's running by now, and drops me at Swiss Cottage. I hike back to the flat, passing bin-men who're much more cheerful than I would be if I had their job, and let myself in. I've got a lot to do and far too much time to do it in.

It's going to be a long morning.

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