facing it

In the pause between bouts of unseasonable weather Tim wrote that he had seen dead leaves falling

and swirling “like brown snow,” dead leaves blown like souls on their journey, the rest of the life cycle irrelevant.  The Americans call autumn “fall” though I was rather more preoccupied with a tumble down tricky stairs.  This morning I met a woman walking with a stick, we have grinned before, and I asked what happened. She fell at work and damaged her spinal cord, is several months into rehabilitation and will have to have to surgery. Merciful heaven.

No concussion but this has slowed me and I have seen the physio.  Nothing like a small injury for bring you face to face with how much we take our bodies for granted.  And other things too…   When something has been there a while, we tend to think it will go on being there and are taken aback when it isn’t any more.

London’s West End is currently in upheaval,

boards up, builders busy and whole streets silenced.   It won’t all be bad news, I know.  Business people take a view, sell up, hang on to the money and wait to see.  But for someone wandering through, the changes are enormous and it’s oddly post blast.

I read further coverage of the administration of a famous tailoring establishment, a couple of hundred years old, which in partnership with two other equally well known concerns, had recognised changing times and changing styles as not being in their favour, and tried to adapt. But they were advised to use Chinese money

to bridge the gap and have been left 2 years later, high and dry.  The investors will be covered by their national law and skilled workmen from this business will be out on their ear.  In response to yet more writing on the “street” edition of plastic surgery – and where it falls short – I can’t help but wonder if some of those wonderful tailors couldn’t retrain with sterilised thread:

I am sure they’d do better work.   And a forty year skilled worker in one of the surviving businesses in Burlington Arcade says their rent is now £250,000 – well that won’t last long, with falling footfall.

And I am surprised that with all the introspection nobody has yet written to theorise about the connections between the mixed messages of this time – on the one hand against plastic in the sea (and every other waterway – phosphorous in the River Wye)

but endless  rubbish in the street: trumpets for  everything natural and pure  from  juice to jumpers but cutprice procedures with  God knows what in your face, your buttocks and anywhere else that will make a few bob. And what that means and why ?  Shortage of food is imminent, if not from growing, from harvesting and transport and I am all for saving flowers and plants, insects and wildlife but farmers deserve our support.  Again, the endless playing over WWII has not taught us its key domestic messages – one of which was

grow more food, harnessed to nature rather than pulling against it.

Walking of necessity slowly, I saw a tall slender woman I should think in her early fifties, with the sun behind her and the most gorgeous hair – thick, lustrous, grey/gold, God and man hand in hand. I exclaimed “Your hair is lovely.”   She stopped “Say again.”  I repeated.  “Oh how wonderful” she said.  “I really needed to hear that, I have cancer, I am going to lose it all .”

I begged her pardon, I said how tactless of me ..” You couldn’t know” she said.  “And it is great to hear.”  I asked “Where was the cancer?”   “Everywhere” she said “Stage Four.”  I said I was sorry.  “Don’t be” she said smiling.  “They have done everything they could… that’s life ..”  I said,” I light candles in my house every night, tonight they are for you.”   And we parted smiling. 

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