i took the train in the post rain, a trip through the southside, i saw factories and housing estates, shopping malls strewn across the suburbs and concrete parks spilling over with electric cars the size of matchboxes. i looked at the grey skies turn blue as we cut through old englands country side, men and women shuffled on and disembarked at each stop, and the rattle and hum of the train, the soft rocking of the carriage sent me into a deep sleep. when i awoke i found the landscape dramatically shifted, as if travelling through medieval times, there was slow drinking ale on tap at every little pub, time ceased and the micro climate seemed much more friendlier in olde sussex county, as the train pulled in at my destination.
tez and jean whom are there to meet me at the station. we don't need to do anything, it's great just to hang out with them and talk until we can't keep our eyes open. two switched on cats, tez is a bit of a humble genius. he has incredible knowledge and is matched equally by his sitar playing partner. we talk about everything under the sun, but the grim shadow of covid hangs heavy in the air and we always gravitate towards it. jean asks, 'what did we talk about before covid?'
it's a good question.
like australia the uk was hit hard, easy to see on the people of england. it's like a tiredness, a weariness as they take a moments break for what next?
tez tells stories about the east end where we were born, about the gangsters in our neighborhood, we chat about politics, spirituality, control,power, geography. it's epic. we visit brighton and i check out the lanes again, the weed shop, the bookshop a few pubs, one is very authentic, the kind of place we knew as teenagers, and it's got a beautiful atmosphere. we decide to have lunch there, a magnificent menu. i have a very strong negroni. it's good to be in the company of friends, my friends. i wish i was able to stay longer, i could see myself living in brighton. i must admit the windfarm on the coast looks awful, a frightening future awaits. terry tells me the royal family get paid as the sea that far out belongs to the crown. that would be right.
it is with a heavy heart i return a few days later, back to london.