SHETLANDS AND URCHINS  -  Sunday November 8th, 2009

Battersea Mill – unique for having no windmill, but wooden shutters that opened to turn a central shaft.

Winter is coming, the air has a certain bite to it. That grey light of dawn persists the whole day, and then brightens to dusk, before dimming to night. I emerged from my house at 5:30, to find myself in utter darkness.

If you catch the 344 past Battersea Power Station there is a type of bridge that goes over the railway, and down on the right is a small back street with an old Irish pub, called Finnegan’s, on the corner. As I passed it this afternoon I noticed a small band of children peering over the handrail – kids from the estates, shivering without coats. They had a slight sheen under the lamplight… vaguely oily. Not a clean shine like machines, but like old newspapers wrapped around greasy chips. It really struck me.
In any case, the street had been partially blocked by two or three horse floats, and about three dozen Shetland ponies were tied to any iron or wood fixture their owners could find. The owners, pints in hand, were feeding the horses from buckets while the children nervously jeered from above. I looked more closely at the pub. Was that gas burning in its lanterns? The street was lit by gas?

One more piece of evidence that London is at best a Victorian city.

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