A pigeon lands and steadies itself on wood.
And with wings flapping.
And a piece of the window sill falls away, and away flies the pigeon for another perch further along Villiers Street.
Morgan doesn’t notice the flecks of ancient paint landing on her hair. Mark doesn’t see splinters with flecks of ancient white land at his feet, crushed under the tread of crowds breathed in and out by Embankment Station, ceaseless.
And high above them, the freshly splintered wood of a window sill, anonymous among the many window sills, is exposed.
For the first time since it was painted thickly, a hundred and thirty two summers ago, by hands rotted long since next to St Mary’s Battersea, which tipped halfpennies to street performers and waved a Union Flag vigorously at Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, arthritically at her Diamond Jubilee, that wood meets the sun again, somehow new-looking as it was before.
At once the London air sets upon it, as it does to all that’s new-looking.