A combination of sand from the Sahara and bellowing Industrial fumes from the east, combined with car exhaust emissions, has led to two days of fog reminiscent of the smogs that plagued London in the 50’s and which became a pervasive memory  for my relatives who lived there.




She talked often about the fog


The ‘Pea Souper’, ‘London Particular’,


That smothered all the city streets


With corrosive smog, a ghastly miasma.




How granddad had shuddered to his knees,


His lungs corrupted, wheezing his last breath,


How fourteen tons of Flouride destroyed him;


Some said twelve thousand were killed that week.




She claimed it slipped through keyholes


Leaving residues, foul sulphurous smears,


‘Look’, she said, ‘it even stained his photograph,


Handing him to us, yellow and listless.




He was riddled with purulent bronchitis


Lingered until the 5th of December.


It made our skin crawl to look at him,


His angular face, jaundiced with disease.




She talked often about the Fog,


And how she had lived through two world wars


The strange old lodger who lived next door,


Who strangled cats, or so she claimed.

I imagined the bellowing chimneys


Of Battersea, Bankside and Kingston,


Six million chimneys belching out their load


And tried to imagine, growing old.






Stepaway magazine

Stepaway magazine

Delighted to feature in Stepawaymagazine this month with a poem about urban perambulation-something very dear to my heart. My first instinct on visiting a new city is to grid -walk the main streets, the only way, in my opinion, to get a real feel for the momentum and zeitgeist of the urban landscape. Even in the larger cities, London, New York, Berlin, Paris I have chosen to develop my relationship on foot and feel that I have a more intimate understanding of the key quarters as a result of my persistent footfalls.