I have one of those wonderfully awkward moments that only happens in an office when, in Paris, an assistant suggests that "there are some who don't like your long hair" ; "some" meaning the founder of the buyout firm I am with, of course. Being no dummy when money involved, I make an appointment with Sonnet's hair stylist 'Tim Williams Hair Design' in Barnes. Subsequently I find myself the sole male customer in an otherwise bustling salon. Tim, for his part, a wonderful character who conditions my hair then gives me tea and a few style magazines to read while he collaborates on a middle-age woman's hair colour: "Oh, honey, just go with what feels right" he coaxes. Metro-sexual heaven, dude. Tim and I chat about this and that and the celebrities in the neighbourhood and house designs and so on and so forth. My glasses off and Tim notes (alarmingly ) "don't be alarmed, Dear, it is only a work of art."
It is nearly December and autumnal as the wind blows the sidewalk's leaves , back lit by a low sky with hues mostly of grey and brown . I bicycle by the Thames with her tide 'out' and the riverbanks exposed and muddy. The Barnes Bridge delivers the underground which adds a splash of red and blue as the metro whizzes overhead. It takes me back to my first winters in New York with the same urban bleakness : a friend I admire once told me that "a city becomes beautiful after 200 years" and, mostly, I agree with him.