It's foggy today in London. It happens every now and then, mainly in autumn and spring. Once upon a time, my parents tell me, there could be a pea-souper most days, caused by pollution and industry as well as weather, and there is no doubt that quite a few Londoners raised in the fifties suffer lung problems in their twilight years as a result.
But I digress. The rules are tougher now and heavy industry has broadly gone, certainly from central London. Instead, London's contemporary mists are a ghostly white and hang around lazily, obscuring objects any distance away. The Shard is more of a greenhouse. St Paul's has lost it's gothic dome. And dogs bark at you from hidden alleyways between garages.
At least, that's what happened today. Bloody thing. It's owner was walking it unleashed, and it had quickly secreted itself in a little nook, probably lured by an enticing aroma from a fellow canine (you know how it is). Then, as I walked along reading an SMS message on my Blackberry, the terror began: "Woof, woof, woof, woof, WOOF!"
It's possible, of course, that I surprised it. It certainly surprised me. My Blackberry flew into the air and luckily landed on a clump of grass preventing any real damage. (It's no fun damaging your Blackberry; I spilled wood varnish on one I used to own, and while there's no doubt it was shinier and more water-resistant, it was never really the same. Exactly what it says on the tin.)
I was left with my heart racing, over-dramatically fearing a full-on assault from a pack of wild hyenas or some other panting, drooling horror. But, having got it out of its system, the stealthy doggy ambusher mooched off to exploit the foggy cover and scare some other unsuspecting victim half to death.
I gathered up my Blackberry and tried to compose myself, eventually pulling myself together and continuing my journey unscathed. I tried not to eye the possible fog-bound ambush points suspiciously, but a terrifying near-death experience like mine (well, perhaps I exaggerate) is bound to unsettle you.
The fog cleared up by around mid morning and it became a beautiful spring like day. The dog probably doesn't even remember. Or maybe it was just saying hello. I don't know. Let's hope we get bright spring-like mornings from now on though. Who knows how much this has damaged me psychologically? If there is any more fog, I suggest you keep your distance, in case I come over to you and lick your face.