mighty mercies


Today, the cafes in London are open on the inside, for the first time, in a year. I am sitting in one in Greenwich, and sun is streaming through the window, sun warm enough I can feel.

The newspaper is spread out over the table, a table I will not leave for hours. This is 'the office' and I feel a genuine state of bliss, not the b word scattered loosely about in online loopy land. Calm Katherine, calm. Sip caffeine. Have I any right to cast dispersions on whatever harmless ideas of happiness humans can hold. But there's that word - harmless - a journal jot for another day.

Blissful and surreal. I keep looking around to take in the momentous quality of the experience, after months of trying to read a wet paper in a ski jacket. When the sun hit my face just now, through the window, I almost cried. I had to stop writing, and just sit and feel it, face towards the glass.

Londoners chat in the warmth, reading every single page of their paper, or tapping screens. There’s none of the ‘here now, gone in five minutes’ inner London zip. No one is leaving.

I feel sorry for the take-awayers and those sitting outside. I can see that breeze off the Thames rustling the baby trees between apartment blocks. I know that breeze. It may be May. But when you have sat outside in the cold, for too long, too many times, well, it’s a way too chilly wind for me. I have had my fill of 'tougher stuff'.

And yes, the newspaper is full of sad news from around the world, and reminders of how well we all are, in a vaccinating democracy, that more or less works, with unbroken streets and hospitals.

Amazingly, while I write, the sun is still shining! For England, of late, that’s news. My heart is full. Mighty grateful for where I sit. To all who make it happen. To the sun. To being alive. Mighty.


An enduring charm of this chance to write is that even if few ever read this page, I can look back at it one day, and stop taking where I am for granted.