The dead sky becomes so slowly lighter. Not even a noticeable eastern glow, just a slow, slow brightening from starless black to dark battleship grey. And cold: gentle breeze cold. London winter cold. Tedious cold.
Not like the cold of Berlin, with it’s ferocious eastern ice-blast sending you scuttling from warm shop to bakery to Straßenbahn while your brain-stem aches with it.
Or Budapest, with that cliff-edge plunge through snow, then sludge, to deep, horror-filled freeze.
The London cold is just tiresome. Sometimes cold enough for a real coat, when standing in the bus queue (who am I kidding, no one queues for a bus anymore; there’s just a shapeless pavement blocking crowd), then appalling t-shirt summer once you enter a shop, and autumnal mildness on the Tube. It’s a coldness designed to irritate, not intimidate, and a city designed to ensure you are never suitably dressed for it.
A city where conversations always start with the weather despite us getting so little of it; never much below freezing or much above temperate, rarely snowing, never baking sun and, despite the myth, not even really that much rain.
London maintains its mild-mannered, even-handed composure; it doesn’t want to cause offence.
Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you some lies