I don't work any more because I don't work any more.
What was I thinking?
It was 5.15 AM and I was staring at the ceiling. Well I had things to do. The shopping wouldn’t do itself and Rose needed to present her mum with some chocolate for Mother’s Day.
In the old days, ie the seventies and eighties, I often slept with the curtains open. The family terrace had a lampost directly outside. It was a stock phrase for taxi drivers.
“Second lampost on the right mate”, I’d splutter in a sort of semi drunken drawl.
It ensured that I’d be awake at first light. Then I had a choice. In the spring, there was the novelty of lighter mornings. And down the road was the river.
What a glorious place it was.
The prom would be deserted save for a few hardy fishermen, looking forward to a fine breakfast after a night’s vigil, waiting for a bite. A fresh breeze would swirl through the soft light of a morning sun, peeping over the Albert Dock.
As the morning broke, the whole scene would take on the sweet air of fresh life. Greens were green while the sky held the complete spectrum of yellows and reds. Further on I’d walk up one of the steep cobbled roads back to Seabank. The silent walk home would be interrupted by the early birds making their way to the early shift.
I usually associated King Street with the busy bustle of daily business. In the silence it was surreal. I loved it.
These days however, in my small town on the edge of the beautiful Ashdown Forest, the pressures of fatigue and mobility make such events rare. But this morning I was up. As I rumbled up the hill on my racy little Tramper, I began to relish the memory of facing the morning with the vibrant air blowing across my face.
After a week of ice and solitary confinement, it was truly cathartic. I chuckled at the state of the road. The potholes had been breeding. They were everywhere.
Even at that time there was the usual clutch of frantic drivers screaming past. You know when you’ve been stuck behind a tractor on a winding country lane and an attack of impatience tempts you to take a risk and scream past in second gear?
I get them on Whitehill. I was fiffteen minutes early for the grand opening. What do you do to pass the time at 6.45 AM?
There is a tiny little bluebell wood nearby. (Let’s off road!)
While the bird song was mostly glorious, the faint screams of Crowborough’s very own seagull colony added a touch of irony to my idyllic little moment. On the High Street I could see them circling. No ice-creams or sandwiches to dive for today.
This makes me laugh; there has been so much outrage about seagulls “stealing” food from unsuspecting members of the public. Oh the trauma.
Which is more in keeping with mother nature? Native creatures swooping for their food or humans tucking into an extra snack they don’t really need? I digress.
Even at that hour, in that vast empty theatre of hell, there were people shopping like their life depended on it. What drives them I wonder?
I was home by 7.40. There is something really satisfying about an early morning excursion. I return to a warm flat for tea and toast. Bliss.
I think I’d like to turn empty car park photography into an art form.