Two black women get off the bus, one of them carrying a folded-up buggy. The other is simultaneously cradling a baby and holding the hand of a beautiful little black girl. From inside the bus comes a raised voice. The bus driver is a thin white woman, short bleached hair, deep creases down either side of her mouth.
Where's your tickets? I don't expect you can find them now, can you? No. Funny that, isn't it? Can't find your tickets. Because I remember you two from when you got on. I was driving the other way, and I remember you. I don't know whether you remember me, but I remember you all right.
The beautiful little black girl, holding her Mum's hand with both of her own, twists herself dreamily to the left, then to the right, staring at the bus driver.
You never got on here. You got on two stops further back. That's called over-travelling. Your ticket isn't valid all the way to here, it's only valid to two stops back. Don't laugh. It's not funny. It's a ten pound fine if you're caught. It's a serious offence. Everybody else has to pay. Everybody else pays the proper amount. If you cheat the system, it's not fair on other people, is it?
Ah, go to hell.
The two black women march off with their children. An old lady, who has been waiting at the bus stop, climbs on board.
They pretend they can't understand you, don't they? When you catch them out, they pretend they can't understand you. They can understand all right when it suits them. When it comes to claiming benefit, they can understand all right then.
Where to, love?
When they want to understand, they can understand all right. If anyone wants to give them a handout, they can understand that all right. If they're claiming the social, or getting treatment on the NHS, or getting themselves a house, in front of somebody else who's lived here all their life.
No, I'm not saying that. I don't subscribe to that point of view. That isn't what I'm saying. But if somebody wants to come on this bus, I don't care what colour they are, they should pay the proper fare, same as everyone else. Where to, darling?
A Gothic tower squashed between other buildings. A pointed door at its base. In the doorway, crouching in the shadows, a man in a scruffy raincoat. Grey beard, long wisps of straggly grey hair. A lick of flame between his hands. What's he doing? Holding a lighter beneath something in a tin? Melting something? Wax? Cannabis resin? Perhaps just lighting a hand-rolled cigarette.
A dark-suited man just inside the church, who vanishes, leaving it empty.
This is a bit like the Tardis.
You seem to think everything's like the Tardis. You said that about the entrance to the crypt at St Martin's-in-the-Fields.
Yes, but this is much bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside, isn't it?
Yes, that's true. And much more octagonal.
Rhythmic space, smooth walls, pastel colours. Highlights in gold leaf.
It's wierd, isn't it? You can't quite get your bearings. In a normal church you get a very definite sense of which way is the length of the building and which way is the width.
I agree. What makes this especially confusing is that there seem to be two altars, standing next to each other.
Or rather, one altar and two altar pieces. This one here must be the main one - the one with the texts on it - because it's opposite the door.
It looks much more English to me than the other one, as well.
Yes. Well, the text is in English, of course. This seems to be more or less the standard English Restoration style of altar piece, doesn't it? A kind of triptych made out of the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Creed.
Whereas this one on the left is smothered with pictures. And in style it looks almost Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox or something. Incredibly rich decoration. I wonder how old it is, and what on earth it's doing here?
However, leaving the two altarpieces on one side, and this nice octagonal shape, I'd say this was another example of insipid Gothic Revivalism.
I like the ceiling, though.
In a dome of blue, a many-flamed gold sun and a smattering of stars.
Yes, all right, I'll let you have the ceiling. The ceiling's quite nice. But it's all so restrained, isn't it? Real Gothic architecture's much more ballsy.
Here's a leaflet.
Oh, well done. Does it say anything about that altar piece?
Wait a minute... Yes, here we are. It's Romanian Orthodox. It's called an iconostasis, and it was brought here in 1966 from a Romanian monastery. It doesn't say how old it is. But apparently this church is the home of the Romanian Orthodox Church in London.
So it's Anglican and Romanian Orthodox both at the same time?
I suppose it must be. And according to this leaflet, it's also got a famous clock. But that's on the outside.
Shall we go and have a look at it? I think I'm about finished in here.
Wait a minute. Do you want to try this door? I can't open it. It seems to be locked.
I'll give it a try. No, it's locked all right.
I thought perhaps it was just me being stupid.
We don't want to be stuck in here all afternoon. There was another chap here when we came in, wasn't there?
I thought he went out.
No, I think he retired into a corner somewhere. Ah, there he is. Can you help us? We seem to be locked in.
Oh, I'm sorry. Didn't you want to stay here the night?
Well, no, not really, not if it's all the same with you.
No offence. It's a very nice church and everything, but we've got homes to go to.
Unlike some. I just slid the bolt across to prevent anyone else getting in from outside. It's this one up here. There you go. You're free.
Thank you very much. What a relief.
The same wild-haired man in the porch, on his knees, with his tin, and orange lick of flame. What's in the tin? Is it melted wax? He looks up. Pale blue eyes.
This is the clock.
What's special about it?
Um, let's see what the leaflet says. It's old. 1671. It's the first public clock in London to have a minute hand. And those giants strike the hours and quarters and turn their heads.
They look a bit gay, with their hands on their hips.
They do, don't they? I suppose they must strike those two bells with their clubs.
That might be worth seeing.
But we'd have to wait almost fifteen minutes. We must have missed it striking while we were inside.
Bugger. What a shame. I don't think it's worth standing here all that time, do you?
No, probably not.
What do you think that old wierdo in the porch was up to?
I don't know. He seemed to be either trying to melt something or light something.
I wonder if he's one of the Romanian Orthodox people.
I suppose we could go back and ask him.
He's probably some kind of nutcase. He'd probably knife us both and then eat our livers.
Perhaps he's the reason why the other chap bolted the door.