The bus is creeping along in pre-rush hour traffic and I couldn’t care less, for I’m in my very own Turner masterpiece.
As I gaze out towards Ham Common – muted green trees gently framing the vast expanse of frosted grass – I can’t help but sit open-mouthed. The delicate coating of early morning mist so beautifully covering the vast expanse has my full attention. It’s as if God has got all creative with a giant icing-sugar-filled sieve and I’ve been lucky enough to catch it just before it settles on the dewy grass. Heavenly. And the theoretical icing on this Turner cake? The sun starting to rise on the eastside of the common – glorious.
As I gradually move away from the 18th century, I find myself contemplating the day ahead and with the average person having approximately 50,000 thoughts per day, I wanted to get a head start (will I, for example, have yet another altercation with the office hole punch?). If you’ve ever caught sight of yourself mid-thought, you’ll realise it’s not the most glamorous of facial expressions to behold. Gormless, rabbit caught in headlights and darn right creepy spring to mind. So when I saw a fellow commuter looking more like a Rodin sculpture than a rabbit caught in headlights, I took notice. With his knee propping up his elbow and his hand elegantly supporting his chin, this man had clearly mastered, ‘The Thinker’.
If you’ve ever seen a casting of Rodin’s iconic bronze sculpture, you will no doubt agree that it completely encompasses your every thought. As a viewer looking up at this solitary figure, you can’t help but wonder, what is he thinking? My modern day Rodin is most likely waiting for his 4G connection to kick in, but regardless of the thought that so elegantly distracts him, the way in which it was being pondered was first class.
With café culture now a ubiquitous part of modern society (I owe many a Peak Time Tale to hours’ labouring over a single shot vanilla latte) I find the view from outside looking in, can often prove just as interesting.
I pass by a traditional Italian café every morning, and as if part of the furniture, an immaculately dressed couple take pride of place in the window every single day. The lady – her hair blonde and iridescent, her lips Tom Ford red and her shoes nude and unmistakably L.K Bennett – sits mesmerised by each sip of her espresso. Her gentleman friend – broad shouldered, briefcase in tow and utterly absorbed by whatever it is that so draws him deeper into his phone (I’d guess he’s more of an Angry Birds fan than Clash of Clans). On occasion, when the light is just right, you could very nearly mistake this couple as extras from a Hopper creation. The subtext so strong it’s impossible to ignore.
As the nights draw in and winter flirts with our extremities, so my journey home from work starts to take on an entirely new vista. Gone are the open windows and breezy net curtains, in are cosy uplighters and gigantic mugs of hot choccy. Sat on the top deck, stuck in a sea of blurry brake lights, I’m drawn to an inviting light coming from a tiny window at the top of a new-build townhouse. Just in view is an artist’s easel and canvas. I can only begin to imagine what’s on the other side…