In the shadow of wealth....
I took this picture yesterday afternoon.
In it you see 30 St Mary Axe (aka the Gherkin or the Swiss Re building), seen from Petticoat Lane market on the east, looking west.
Situated in the City of London (which is the main financial district) the building and the surrounds are buzzing with wealthy bankers, financiers and insurers.
Contrast that wealth with the poverty (I suspect) of those who live under its shadow, on the estate you can see at the end of the road, just in front of the tower.
This afternoon I had to pop out to the corner shop; we had no tomato puree.
On my way I saw a 55 (ish) year-old woman struggling with two stuffed Ikea bags, opening a front door entrance to flats above the shopping parade.
Her bags were brimming with standard Ikea starting out fare. You know the things you buy when you first move into a rented flat. Plates, candle holders, glasses, place mats, bathroom mats, laundry basket...
I could only guess her circumstances, but I imagined the worst and felt January at the sight of this wretched woman moving into her shitty little flat with the dirty communal entrance and kicked in door.
Divorced, rehoused. Struggling, alone.
Her only comfort the drunken treat offered by the bottle of wine she was also carrying. An evening's escape before the shitty reality of her life in a makeshift flat or bedsit has to be faced again and again and again.
With only a twist of fate separating her from the rest of us...