Monthly Archives: August 2007

A quiet street

Buckingham Place is a fairly quiet London street approximately 50 metres long. It is normally only used by through traffic when a brewer’s delivery lorry is making a delivery in Wilfred Street, preventing vehicles from taking their normal route into Westminster. The terraced houses have probably all been converted into offices, although it is possible that people still live on their uppermost storey. There are parking bays on the western side of the street. Even with parked cars, there is still room for two-way traffic. Just.

Four tall plane trees grace the street, one at the southern end. At 7.15 every morning they bear witness to a slightly unusual event. An oriental man, possibly Chinese, crosses Palace Street, heading towards Buckingham Place. He is in his late twenties, dressed in a T-shirt and beige baggy shorts. He has brown sandals on his feet and a dull orange carrier bag over his right shoulder, from which a tuft of some fur-like material protrudes. He stops in the centre of the southern end of the road, where he is bound to be run over by any vehicle turning into this narrow street. He lights a cigarette and then carefully, slowly, places the shoulder bag on the floor.

He dips his right hand into the shoulder bag, and carefully extracts a dog. About the size of a fox terrier, it is some sort of cross between a Pekingese and another indeterminate breed. Pointy snout, fairly long hair, and frankly looking rather unsure of itself. He attaches a blue lead to its collar and drags the unwilling animal forward. Slowly they walk the length of the street, still in the centre of the road. The dog stops to relieve itself once, twice. It’s a female.

Reaching the end of the street, the man stops and the dog gratefully sits down. Carefully the man picks her up with his right hand and cradles her under his arm. Turning around, he slowly strolls back to his starting point, thoughtfully puffing on his cigarette. He reaches the southern end of the street again and stops. Gently he places the dog on the road surface again, turns around, and once again drags the reluctant animal northwards.

Upon reaching the northern end of the street again, the dog again sinks to its haunches. Carefully he picks it up again in his right hand and cradles it under his arm. Again he turns around and strolls slowly back to his starting point, still carefully maintaining an equal distance from either pavement. He reaches the southern end of the street and puts the dog down once more. He then lowers the carrier bag and again conceals the animal within its depths, only the ears being visible. Walking briskly away he crosses Palace Street and returns from whence he came.

(Update: I think this is known as “Fang Shui”)