London at night
by Lynda Archard
©: August 2002
Holborn was packed with night clubbers again. It is the same every Monday, which is still Sunday night as far as these people are concerned. I think there must be lots of people going into work on Monday mornings with hangovers.
Gary was not impressed with the cheap boxes that the sandwich company are now using. As soon as he picked one up it collapsed in the middle and others had already collapsed and squashed the sandwiches underneath them. The air turned blue for the first time in weeks. When one box fell apart Gary had to throw all of the sandwiches into a plastic bag to deliver them.
We saw a deliveryman dropping off cakes and bread at an Italian delicatessen near Blackfriars Bridge around 6am. A cigarette hanging from his mouth had ash ready to fall into the open boxes. Yuck.
Only one girl and her pimp wandered around King’s Cross. In Shoreditch there were five girls and two kerb crawlers being questioned by the police. There are still no signs of a clean up of the prostitutes in this area.
There are posters all over London advertising a film about spiders. The one on the A40 has a model spider hanging over one end. I have also seen an advert on TV promoting the film and it must be an arachnophobias worst nightmare to suddenly see these human sized creatures. I certainly won’t be seeing the film!
We did not have an order for Victoria Coach station today and went to the next delivery via Piccadilly and the opposite side of Trafalgar Square than we usually go. I noticed another cow inside a building but I didn’t see what the building was.
More rain fell around 5am just as day was breaking. Liverpool Street was busy due to a train being cancelled and people were standing around in the rain outside the station.
There was one girl at King’s Cross at 3am and another two had joined them by 5am. A group of either drug dealers or pimps waited across the road from the station and it shocked me to see a boy of about seven years old with them.
In Shoreditch there were six girls waiting for work. Even rain does not stop these girls from trying to earn their money.
At 2.15am in a street off the Old Kent Road were two men walking away from the main road. The second man was taller than the one in front of him, wearing a white shirt with long wavy hair had a large knife stuck down the back of his trousers. It looked like a kitchen knife and I still can’t get the picture of him out of my mind. He did not attempt to cover the weapon in any way and probably did not think that someone could have walked up behind him and take it.
It was a morning that made my imagination and passion for crime detective writing run riot. When we pulled up at a delivery in Mile End a group of four young men waited on the road. A few minutes later a taxi pulled up to drop off a young female. They could have been her brothers collecting her to take home safely or a prostitute they had ordered for her services. Gary was concerned that the taxi driver dropped her off knowing these men were there and I came up with a few ideas for future fiction stories.
We stopped at traffic lights beside a taxi. The meter read £3.40 and a few yards to the end of the road bumped it up to £4.60. At the next traffic lights another 20p was added in as many seconds!
Gary was in a bad mood by 4am after we argued about Stella McCartney using her name to become a designer and he only calmed down after we did the last delivery. He bought two cream cakes as a sorry for becoming so irate at my opinions. He is always ready to defend the Beatles and their families when I say they were over-rated and hyped. I have never seen any of her designs and wanted to know what she is actually famous for – other than having a famous father!
The only prostitute at King’s Cross wore a silver dress that looked two sizes too small. It showed her bottom on one side and on our second trip she had scored a punter.
Only one girl stood alone in Shoreditch this morning.
A man in Gordon Street opposite Euston Station was rolling up his sleeve ready to inject himself. This area is full of drug dealers and I assume he couldn’t wait until he got home.
At the kitchen the boxes today were even thinner and more flimsy that the ones used all this week. A driver that I knew from working with Gary a few years ago turned up and also complained about the boxes. He loaded up his van in three minutes ready to travel about 100 miles to drop off a few boxes. Perhaps if this company had someone with a brain they would be able to stick with local orders that earn enough money to pay for the quality that it needs in order to survive.
After warnings of flash floods after last nights thunder storms we expected to see puddles and problems. The first large puddles were around the King’s Cross road works and a few in Whitechappel Road. On TV later today I saw massive floods and trains that were delayed causing chaos all over London and the reporter told of machines that would not work. Apart from a busy Liverpool Street Station and one set of traffic lights not working at Alders Gate we had not seen anything similar to the chaos on TV. A spooky mist covered the top of Shooters Hill Road.
A family of four got out of a taxi at Liverpool Street and the two children ran up the stairs dragging their own cases behind them. The two were about seven or eight years old and obviously excited about going on holiday, even though it was only 4.30am. They looked so cute!
At 5am the chef at an expensive hotel in Park Lane was busy laying out breakfast ready for the guests. Outside, but further up the road, not so rich people had set up camp outside on pavements or if they were lucky in shop doorways out of the torrential rain that fell last night. Only a few streets seem to separate the rich from the poor in London.
Even with armed police at King’s Cross two girls walked outside the station. By 4.45am another six girls had joined them. Two prostitutes also walked along the centre of Pentonville Road, one in Whitechappel and five in Shoreditch. The rain had no affect on the girls or the summer clothing that they wear.
Rain has poured on London since last night and we did see some large puddles this morning. A kerb crawler in Commercial Road, Shoreditch found out why indicators and mirrors were invented too. The Asian man was driving slowly and so Gary decided to overtake him. At the same time he decided to drive his Mercedes 4x4 down a dark dead-end street where we see many cars parked at night while waiting for available prostitutes. Only after we collided did he then put his indicator on but by then we were sailing across the slippery road side by side. Our van has a slight dent on the front and his 3-year-old vehicle needs a new wing, door and side panel, probably costing thousands of pounds. Luckilly we were keeping to his speed and no one was hurt. At first Gary thought it might have been his fault until I explained what I saw the driver do. You can’t miss a big white van behind if you look in your mirror and you should not indicate after turning to face the street that you want to go into and colliding with another vehicle. I called him a kerb crawler because ten miles an hour is the speed they drive at and after the collision the driver drove behind us out of the road and turned a different way than where he was going. They exchanged details and the man gave Gary his business card, a laundrette, with an address on the other side of London. I was shaking too much to get my camera out and thought it was a shame there were no police to see what had happened. Most of the accidents in this area are caused by kerb crawlers and people slowing to look at the girls’ saucy antics to attract attention. It remains to be seen whether he does contact Gary about his insurance policy at the risk of explaining to his family what he was doing over this side of London at 3am in a red-light district!
Later at about 5.30am at Euston a police van did a similar thing by turning without indicating first. This time Gary kept his distance and nothing happened.
The only thing to make us laugh was a security guard at one of our delivery points. Gary tooted twice with no response and after the third the man leapt to his feet and looked everywhere except in front where we were sat laughing at him. He raised the barrier and I assume went back to sleep.
When we arrived home a van was parked in our space. As it is the weekend and we wanted to park and go out Gary was not amused to see the sleeping driver inside his badly parked vehicle.
Rain did not deter the ladies of the night again. There was one in Shoreditch, one in King’s Cross and another at Euston Station.
I will not be going out with Gary next week and so the next update is Monday 19th August 2002
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© Lynda Archard