Town mouse drives around London

The capital still isn’t fully awake after Christmas; you can drive around with ease. Like blood cells, cars flow freely along arteries that would otherwise be sclerotically clogged. There was a poetry to the drive out of London to Ramsgate; places where, on other days, we might have been condemned to crawl, allowing more than enough time to look critically at our surroundings, became merely incidents separating the architectural highpoints. The journey became a string of pearls.

Coming home may have been slower, but, after dark, we could enjoy the light show. The glass splinter of The Shard hasn’t even been finished, but every floor is lit up; I can’t decide whether it looks more like an evil scientist’s dream or the Tivoli Gardens.

The concrete surfaces of the South Bank arts complex, repellent by day, become a canvas for colour washes at night. The occupants of the new riverside luxury flats add to the spectacle, as few of them bother with curtains. Each window is a drama, and there may be 20 playing at once. They should have taken down their Christmas trees, however. Perhaps they were waiting for the servants to arrive on Monday and do it for them?

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