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Lea

In all serious earnestness, the Lea River is so important to me, even in the rain, even walking exposed to the April late-winter, it is luminous and now, after walking from the Lea to Vyner Street via the Hertford Union and Regents Canal, I’m having a beer and feeling elated. You walk on the narrow tow-path and smell the occasional waft of sewerage or a gas leak, the smoking wood fire of the boats, but most of all the mossy dampness of crumbling walls overwhelmed by creeping ivy and forget-me-nots. The light changes 6 times in the hour. 1) something like rain, but the drops are as sparse as the hot water in our dismal shower. 2) a classic white sky of the silver glare. 3) a rolling dark cloud. 4) a crack of lighting and thunder. 5) heavy rain so that I have to hide under a leaky bridge for a bit. 6) glorious golden sunlight against a dark sky. Since I’m moving through a sensory journey of the Lea, the sound is of course the sound of bike wheels rolling over loose pavers, the loose pavers that after heavy rain flood your shoes when you step in the wrong corner. It is the xylophone of the Lea. Touch: arctic sharpness on your eyeballs, taste: this pale ale at the end. I have a hundred memories of this stretch of river from Victoria Park to Ponders End. There is now an Adele song about the Lea, or about her very own Lea metaphor.

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