On the quay in a cagoule, with a north wind blowing in rain and echoing through the halyards of the Essex smacks. A cormorant headed up the estuary; the Roman River was full and the silent black-headed gulls bobbed on the choppy water. There was no one there, no one at the pub or in the café. The swallows were gone; the golden fields now steely stubble. She was trying to make a phone call for no particular purpose other than to keep in touch with someone. The signal was dead. There were times when something just needed to give.
The stock exchange has declared that trading will be suspended until Thursday. The parliamentary vote on the bailout is being postponed. The man in the shop was in tears this morning; the shelves of his grocery almost utterly bereft. Across the town, cashpoints are running out of notes every ten minutes. Queues are restless, fraught. A military plane carrying a million in cash flew in yesterday evening as part of contingency plans for foreign nationals. At least some people will get to eat.
Back at the hotel it still feels warm enough for a swim – but the water is icy.
Sunshine. I could cry when I think about it. In January, when the rain teems down and those mornings are so dark, I want sunshine, no less.
Have you got any holidays planned? asks a colleague.
To know that you deserve a break, a week or two in the sun. How long to go?
Maybe even a winter break for some immediate warmth. A poolside and palm trees, southern Med, with a distant call to prayer. Locals in the streets – and a Frenchman, taking photos, killed by a canister of teargas. More than 100 dead. They call it ‘unrest’. Tears.