I have to thank the RMT for deciding to strike, as it's rekindled my urge to wander semi-randomly through the streets of London on my way home. This week's walking led me into Brompton Cemetery, which is firmly fenced off from the surrounding (posh) neighbourhood. As soon as you enter it, the curtain of silence slams shut behind you. The heavy traffic just a few metres from the entrance sounds miles away. It is quiet and empty here. Well, except for all the dead people, of course.
When I walk in the evenings in London, most of the people I see are men. They don't have bags of groceries, they're not talking into phones, and they haven't just finished running, like most of the women. Their walking doesn't seem to have a purpose. They either don't look at me or they stare openly. They carry a restless energy with them that I can feel from across the road, even the older ones.
It occurs to me as I leave the cemetery that from this ravaged gravestone, I now know more about this man than I do about the hundreds of living ones I have just encountered.