Wednesday, June 29, 2005

MI6 building, Vauxhall

The day after the auction was a bit like coming down from drugs. I felt a bit helpless and lost. I decided to take a walk on the river. It was low tide so I could go down to the river bank, using the path next to the MI6 (the secret service) building. I walked on the mud and pebbles shore, looking for curious objects. I found a bone – which was polished as marble from the water – and an old long nail.

Above me were the copper-green lions, huge rings in the mouth, and the black fishes of the Thames promenade lampposts. The tide was out and I went until I could go no further. A boat cruising on the river made the water splash on my shoes.

Coming back, I found a tree log on the pebbles. How did it get there? And from where? I couldn’t tell. But I decided to take it home. At first I rolled it on the ground, but then I decided to carry it on my arms. It was very heavy.

I walked slowly next to the Secret Service building, hoping they wouldn’t think the log was a bomb. I managed to get it across the road to the train station. It was becoming too heavy to carry. I stopped to rest next to a skip, underneath the railway bridge.

In the skip I saw two wheelbarrows. I waited for one the workers to come out.

“Are you throwing these? Can I take one?”

“Yeah, sure”.

He looked at the tree log.

“What do you need it for?”

“For the garden, a bench. I live very close to here. I found it on the river”.

He looked at me a bit strangely. I noticed my shirt was covered with mud.

With the wheelbarrow it was very easy to get the log home. I put it in the yard. I felt much better – useful physical labour always puts me in a better mood. I thought again how London is so plentiful and generous: you need a wheelbarrow, London will provide you one. Ask and you shall be given.

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