6am: London belongs to me…
My eyes sting. Behind each one, there’s this slight ache, the ache I always get when I’ve not had enough sleep. I’ve been awake since 4.30, but now, an hour a half later, the capital is lit up with the early morning sun, the glass of the east-facing buildings golden with reflected light. I’m not ready to go back to bed quite just yet.
Up here, above King’s Cross, the city stretches out before me. Though the roads are hidden behind houses and office blocks, I can hear the early morning traffic: buses carrying people to work (or back home), motorbikes noisily accelerating from unseen junctions and cars speeding along Pentonville Road, their drivers making quick progress through the empty streets for once. You can tell it’s not a weekday.
Saturday is always a day of possibilities. Already, at this early hour, there’ll be kids waking up with the thought of trips to the baths or 10am football matches, dads packing stuff (tents, balls, blankets) into the back of cars for trips to who-knows-where and mums feigning sleep, praying they’ll be allowed the luxury of at least another hour in bed.
Back here, my eyes are still stinging and I’m not sure I can ignore the veil of sleep that’s slowly being drawn over my head. I’ll take one more look at St Pancras and the BT Tower, and head back to bed, where my wife is happily asleep, unaware that I’m lying on the couch writing this. I’ll draw the quilt back and sink into the mattress’ embrace, careful not to wake the lady – an unforgivable offence in her book. Shh.
One more glance outside then. No doubt about it, today’s coming, but for now, it can wait.