Diary of a Separation (summer, sounds and smells)

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The first words I uttered today were: “I spoke to your colleague yesterday about my printer’s cartridge”. That was past lunchtime on Caledonian Road, north London.

There were no sounds in the house today except for John Humphry’s belligerent voice on Radio 4, verbally castigating yet another politician who, naively and mistakenly, probably thought that the veteran broadcaster would be more interested in what they had to say than in the sound of his own voice.

So far this summer has been full of sounds and smells. There’s the slow hum of lorries moving up Watermead Way, Tottenham Hale-bound, for starters. The roar from their engines pouring down on me as I disappear down the River Lea Navigation Canal on my two-wheeler. A sound as intermittent as that from a gate that has been left ajar and keeps banging against the bare wall, propelled by a soft summer breeze.

There’s also the sight of both sun-seekers and sun-shirkers. The former, exposing every bit of flesh wherever possible. The latter, errant wanderers in this urban desert, desperately looking for their own private oasis as soon as the temperatures hit 30+ degree Celsius.

Last, there’s the unmistakable, strong, ubiquitous smell of cannabis. Sometimes, as a faint waft, noticed only once I’ve moved a fair distance past the smoker. Some other times, as a dense cloud enveloping an amorous couple locked in a marihuana-induced embrace.

London-based, Cuban writer. Author of “Cuban, Immigrant, and Londoner”, to be published by Austin Macauley. Has written for The Guardian and Prospect.

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