Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


The air smells faintly of coke.

Not cocaine or coca-cola, but coke as in Coketown- the processed coal they still allow you to burn in smokeless zones.

The smell of a 1950s winter.

Only then the reek was sharper and harsher. Everyone was burning the hard stuff. If weather conditions were right we had visitations of that thick, sulphurous, man-killing fog that Dickens called a “London peculiar”.

Up on Croham Hurst. Snow on the ground, fog among the trees and me alone and terrified of ghosts. Of one ghost in particular. The ghost of an Edwardian lady rider who’d gone done the slope at full tilt and broken her neck. Friends said that if you scrabbled among the scree you could still find stones with her blood on.

There’s a sound that goes with the smell. It’s the sound of sacks of coal being emptied into the concrete bunker in the back-yard.

(The coal man had a horse and cart)

A sliding roar that ends in a whisper.
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