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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Today, the black London clouds fail to dispel my hopeful mood. It is raining. Gently. Softly. I slept badly, waking suddenly at 2.45am to the noise of someone banging a door. The central heating feels too hot but it isn't really. In the late morning, I read and watch telly. With some relief, I finish the last pages to a novel full of intensity and strife - The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante Then I thought of the decisions I'd have to make in the next 24 hours.
I have to travel again. Tickets, tickets.
I have renewed my work in freelance journalism. Already, my emails move to and fro with an industrious aptitude in my discussions with a popular author. I arrange an interview and now we talk studiously about the questions at large and the theme from which his answers will revolve.
Later, I lose myself in the Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road. Each department hides a cluttered maze of topics. In trying to locate Customer Service down the basement, I get lost somewhere between the twists and turns of Cookery and Popular Nursing. Finally, spying the blessed arrow for Exit, I recover my sanity only in Medicine.
The reason I am at Foyles is to reserve my seat for an event this evening called Modern Poets in Translation. Wanting to begin a serious study for my own craft, I view the approaching dialogue with excitement.
I admit though that when it comes to translated works, I am more familiar with prose.
Of course, I had a choice. Gordon Ramsay, celebrity chef giving a talk and signing his newest book Playing with Fire at Waterstone's Picadilly, or even a dialogue with the author Jacqueline Rose, this evening at the London Review Bookshop. The topic is slightly painful, the Holocaust and Zionism.
On the train, I am still not sure but finally settle for the poets.
I pop over to Borders in Charing Cross. The cafe upstairs has been renovated and looks plush. As usual, there are no seats left.
I sigh and make for the Burgers Cafe across the road.
It provokes the right mood for daydreams.
As I wait for my cajun chicken and a small rose, I watch the road even as other restaurant patrons do the same. People hurry about in long coats, donned in gloves, hats, hoods and carrying umbrellas. The drizzle falls. The double-decker buses move along slowly, tailing the traffic as if in funeal procession. Can the colour grey be so mesmerising?
The music which fills the cafe are old Broadway numbers and the odd folksong. I remember Simon & Garfunkel and feeling a little heady, think that I could be running across their songs, my dress blowing in the wind. From Homeward Bound into America and perhaps stopping somewhere to rest in the stalls at Scarborough Fair.
Peace abounds. I am happiest in solitude and when doused by reflection and intospection.
I could walk to the West End and catch a film. There's still time. Yes, I think, that's what I'll do.

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