The fireworks have grown quiet. There have been distant crashes and bangs all through the last evening, and they'll go on for two, three more nights, until the Bonfire Night stocks have all been used up. I've got used to it: the bored kids who hang out on the corner, talking nonsense as they drape themselves against the railings and the purple painted rubbish bins have been setting off rockets and bangers for weeks. The fizzing squeals and bursts of sound rattle the windows, and make the cats dive for cover each time. Perhaps, round here, it will continue until Diwali (even though this neighbourhood, traditionally Jewish, has more of a Muslim than Hindu population). But why not take any excuse to streak the sky with pretty colours and erratic noises? Next weekend, we will stand by the river, eyes stinging with clouds of cordite and smoke, admiring the explosive celebrations for the new Lord Mayor.
Across the road, in the yellow glow of the opposite window, a girl walks around in a grey nightdress, absently watering plants and smoking cigarettes. In the street, a dreadlocked boy bangs on a door and yells for Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. Jenny needs to give him a key, or get a restraining order. He's out there pleading for entry three, four nights a week.
The cats mewl and stalk around, yelling their hunger. They have forgotten they were fed, or just hoping that I have forgotten. Every now and then Kitsune flings himself on the floor, belly up, to prove that he is cute enough to deserve more crunchies. Sadly, the sight of his vast fluffy belly reminds me to put him on a diet.
And I have been crawling out from under the layers of quilts, and piles of paperbacks, and heading into the outside world for the first time in days. I have grown sick of being sick, tired of the woozing and fever chills of a two week flu. I am bored of stoking up on vitamins and paracetamol and gallons and gallons of liquids. But I immerse myself in screwball comedies and admire the goofy handsomeness of Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart and remind myself there are compensations for staying home from the cold November storms.
And I wait for snarl to come home, and tell slow tales of another frustrating shift, so that I can curl into his arms and demand bedtime stories.