Friday, June 15, 2012
thistle Shard chewing
Thistle growing in full majesty in the angle of a pavement and wall in Mount Sion.
As the train for Tunbridge Wells winds its way out of London, I catch sight of the the newly completed Shard skyscraper piercing the sky above London Bridge Station. As the line meanders southwards the glass and steel building changes its position on the skyline, and I am reminded of Proust's recollection of the twin spires at Matinville-le-Sec changing their alignment in the evening sky when seen from the carriage in which he was travelling. He and his family had been given a lift back to Combray by Dr Percepied when one of their walks had turned out longer than planned. The experience becomes one of many which form the web of memory in In Search of Lost Time, and which communicate their intensity to readers such as me, and so a French village in the Nineteenth Century is linked to a new London building in the 21st.
On a bench in The High Street an elderly couple sit enjoying their lunch. In a fleeting moment as I pass I catch the enthusiasm and vigour with which they bite and chew their generous sandwiches. The happiness with which they seem to be blessed is rare and not always, I think to myself, valued at the time.