full moon over scratchwood

So I’m just back from
a. real proper actual holiday abroad for the first time in more than 20 years (ie not a work-related trip and more than three days) (more on this when blog7 switches theme), and
b. depping while the professional carers take *their* summer break holiday, which last week meant
i. commuting every day to visit my mum in hospital as she recovers from a successful emergency operation, while
ii. cooking three meals a day for my dad (who has a giant huge healthy appetite, but as an advanced Parkinsonian occasionally [eg one day in ten?] needs extensive fork-to-mouth help with it)

Which has what to do with London? This: the experience of the return to it from Shropshire. A journey I’ve made more than 100 times over the last 20 years (maybe a lot more). A journey I am this time making bone-tired, despite urgent billboard entreaty: a journey coinciding with busy though not nightmarish end-of-bank-holiday traffic; a journey I keep myself focused on by (as always) counting down the junctions and service stations, A5 -> M54 -> M6 -> M1: Corley, Watford Gap, Newport Pagnell, Toddington, London Gateway (the Rest-Stop Formerly Known as Scratchwood…)

So I left Shrewsbury 6-ish, with the late august sun beginning to set – it had been gorgeous all day, and now the sky was all fab colours behind me and the shadows lengthening away in front of me into twilight, then evening, then – by abt 8.30 – night. When I reached I shd think Luton, I suddenly realised I wz driving straight towards a vast autumn moon, warm and full (I think: only a fingernail off it if not) (Favourite word alert: sadly i therefore don’t get to say GIBBOUS!!) (GIBBOUS GIBBOUS GIBBOUS!!)

Anyway I don’t recall this ever happening before: it illuminates something it’s easy to miss motorway-driving, which is exactly how a road curls and bends and straightens as it vectors you into a great city centre. The M1 hits London out between Bushey and Borehamwood, and I get off at Junction 2, for Finchley, Highgate, Archway, the Caledonian Road, then Balls Pond Road, then Dalston, then Hackney. I kind of love how London always feels like it got on w/o even missing you (my sudden utter anonymity = respite from urgent calls on my time and care = i can relax and get on with ME again), but what was fantastically lovely this time was that the moon was right ahead of me – actually hanging over the road – for almost all the last reach of the journey, suburbs and city streets, the only one of London’s countless bright busy lights and lived-in faces to be watching and welcoming me home.