At Holborn Station the commuter glacier oozing in from four directions thaws and becomes a torrent. Currents of human beings rush towards the heat that can be felt from the street, some towards ticket machines, some towards barriers, others bumping sideways against the stream of bodies delivered to the surface by the escalators.
And as a small woman in a huge, swaddling scarf bumps into her, Audrey steps backwards on instinct, feels her foot twisting sideways, her legs crumpling and she hits the floor hard.
Suddenly arms are round her shoulders, and a young man is leaning in asking if she is ok.
“I’m fine, thank you. Yes, nothing to worry about.”
She’s been operated on for her hip three times. She isn’t fine. But she needs to get home. She can assess the damage there.
Two more people emerge from the ceaseless torrent and help her to stand, one brushing her down gently, in a professional sort of way.