In living memory, though not my own, the greater part of the City of London was a dense collection of narrow lanes containing a variety of buildings that were useful to a wide range of people. Mixed-use development before the phrase had been uttered. Banking was present in the City – the Rothschilds' have operated from this site at New Court for 200 years – but now banking is omnipresent.
And omnipotent. My approach is observed closely. Not quietly by CCTV, for my own protection, but aggressively by large men in long coats (for the protection of others). No mind, as I can enjoy the architecture regardless, and particularly the rather fine painting that has been generously hung behind glass facing St Swithins Lane. I notice an imperfection in the ramp adjacent to the façade, and crouch down to take a closer look. Its sharp metallic edge has been concealed with a waspish plastic cover. I take a photograph with my phone.
Large shoes and the hem of a coat appear beside me alongside the defect. I am moved on after a curt exchange, having missed the chance to take a closer look at the painting, which no longer seems so generously placed.
It was a small detail, but it bothered me.