Thursday 20 March

A troubled sleep imagining noises beyond those emanating from next door, where Miss Jordan tends her soldier fiancé’s most recent wounds. Superstitious about losing my rationality, the mind nevertheless races through a full police line-up of the less approachable Egyptian gods, each straining to represent our apparently unearthly neighbours. Such unnaturalness above the warehouse where, while not exactly wrapped in cotton wool, we consider ourselves somewhat removed from the hurly-burly of the town. Even out on the street excessive spirits can more-often-than-not be explained by excessive spirits; my accusers may have me as a self-automating onanist but at least there is method in my well-oiled madness (twice a night; thrice at weekends).

The logic of the 7-a-side footerball pitch brings welcome relief and from the pot (my steely grasp of accounting sees me collecting the lads’ three shillings each week) I am able to treat my well-balanced, if occasionally limping, comrades to some beers at the nearby Hulman Head. However, relocating to the Old New York Bar we encounter workmates far drunker than is usual of a Thursday. The market is in freefall, they inform us, giggling down champagne. To catch up on my sleep I have no choice but to join them.

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