And so, this morning, another early doors treat, en route to somewhere, and time to spare in between trains. My palate is fresh, the sun is shining and there’s an earthy, carpet-like sourness in the air of the pub into which I walk. Not unpleasant. There’s also a strain of cleaning fluid wafting through the air; a familiar aroma, of which I have a few years experience. Outside on the concourse, where the smokers often huddle conspiratorially in groups, émigrés from both the pub and the offices that tower over, imperious and insect-like in their indifference, there’s a brisk breeze and several tall banners wave and shiver in a way familiar to fans of Kurosawa’s Ran (I’m thinking the battle scenes).
‘I’m just having a second Stella, while Nan’s having a tea,’ giggles a woman draped in luridly coloured scarves, while her bare wrists shine with several bracelets. There’s a chap at the bar — a mop of hair, Ringo circa 63 just out of bed perhaps, hipster jeans, half-mast at the ankle, canvas shoes that my son and his mates wear off duty. ‘A cappuccino mate, large one, extra shot.’ The pub was quiet when I came in. It’s now beginning to fill up, voices collection and rising upwards like bees beavering away in a bush. My glass is nearly empty, a can of Sixpoint’s Bengali Tiger providing an elemental and elegant shot of hops, and the train will be ready to go in a mo. Time to leave but not before remembering that early door on a sunny morning in Cambridge.