It is hot in London. I walk through the streets of Finsbury Park on my way to the job centre. It is early morning and I still have to stop to buy water. Finsbury Park is the nearest I have felt to Morocco in London: in the early morning the passersby are mainly women; by the time I re-visit the job centre mid afternoon, it is only men around, gathered in groups outside the cafes and shops.
London smells hot and dirty with the occasional high notes of rubbish, hamster bedding and exhaust fumes. The air is close and heavy by mid afternoon and is about as far from the Cornish air we breathed for two weeks as I can imagine. The sound of seagulls mewing and protecting their babies has been replaced by buses, by shouting, by the disconnected voice of the tube station as I pass the entrance.
Real life asserted itself at precisely 9.01am when I arrived at the job centre. I hate the f*ing job centre. No one seems to say the same thing, everyone treats me with the same practiced air of at once disinterest and patronisation, as if I am some kind of moron who may not be able to follow their imprecise instructions. In any other world I am more qualified than them. But today I am the idiot who dared to get married and needs to update her details.
I spend the afternoon alternating between washing, tidying, sorting out wedding presents and compiling lists of people who need to be thanked. In amongst it all, I watch the tennis. Listen to the tennis. And wish that if I can't be at Wimbledon, I could be back on the beach with my new husband, eating freshly caught fish with freshly picked vegetables and handpicked and handmade gooseberry compote, on vintage china in the evening sunshine.