I’ve developed an unexpected fondness for London. As a country bumpkin I’ve long sneered at city folk; at the rush and bustle, the lack of dirt beneath fingernails. Now, I gaze with wonder at the juxtaposition of futuristic office blocks and intricately carved historic buildings… the replica Globe Theatre with its timber frame and thatched roof… the Thames, a force of nature in the heart of the city… St Paul’s dome floodlit beneath a full moon… I like living on the London streets. I like waking up to the human alarm clock of feet pounding pavements. I like slipping invisibly in and out of shopping centres, cafes and pubs, finding loos and showers and abandoned jam scones. Read Neil Gaiman. He knows what London is like.
Gone the neat structure of weekly diary entries. Things are more fluid now. Time stretches and I’m not sure how many weeks I’ve been here.
Today we wired in our first on-site solar panel. I acted apprentice sparky, wielding screwdrivers and crocodile clips with new-found alacrity. Then I grabbed the microphone and spoke to a crowd assembled on St Paul’s steps and I didn’t blush or stammer or leave my body in fright as I used to.
Every hour of every day: impassioned conversations about politics, democracy, Palestine, ethics, war, psychology, ecology, religion, revolution and, of course, the economy. Debate as spectator sport, human rings form around conversationalists, a hush descends and we… listen. How special is that? Is this what the wreath-and-sandal-wearing Greeks did for evening entertainment? I ask a Greek girl and she says… it’s what the Greeks are doing right now. Reminding me that this isn’t just about St Paul’s, or London. This is going on all around the world.