|sent from:London, UK. destination:New South Wales, Australia|
Cycling across London on a late winter’s night offers some rare pleasures. The rush hour has passed leaving only those dedicated runners in the dark and taxis carrying people to late dinner reservations. Hyde Park is a vast darkness, a chilly warmth. The long stretch of Fulham High Road turns into an obstacle course around police vans and huddles of men in coats standing outside staring into windows and cheering, or swearing. The roving groups of drunk and despondent men with occasional clusters of police seem like a kind of post-apocalyptic vision where all the women have been wiped out. The piles of horse dung evidence that the mounted police have been out to control the football crowds. The pungent must an echo of an old corked bottle of wine, all wet hay and mushrooms with a subtle undertone of the horses. I love it. Past the crowd and over Putney Bridge, through Barnes, Sheen and into Kingston-upon-Thames, where the marketplace is shuttered and empty but the church bells peal the hour as loudly as if a Royal Wedding were taking place. The bike is shuddering the last couple of miles, some parts of me cold cold, others warm, too-warm, all satisfied.