House at Pooh Corner

House at Pooh Corner
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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Holiday (summer) 2013 - I fell in love, a bit

We went to London.

The smallest of Us has never been to London. 

We wanted to acquaint him with Things British.

Not just general stuff like red phone boxes, London buses & London tourist things but experiences that were once very commonplace to us.

Commonplace, Then, to Us but, Now, to Him might as well relate to daily life on Planet Zog.

We are talking about things like:
* Tube mice,
* Churchyards & gravestones (when people do WHAT?, they get WHAT?! .... WHERE??!!)

* A typical SW London 'burb street, with bushes of lavender or buddlia spewing out onto the pavement

* The Tube - whilst not UNlike HK's MTR or Singapore's MRT, is also VERY!

* Greggs pastries (UK expats, did YOU know they do a Greggs' cafe now? I didn't get the memo)

* Commuters reading on the Tube, newspapers left on the seats

* The stinkiness of some areas of the Underground, some stairwells & .............. ewwwwwwwwwww, those same phone boxes we were gushing bout earlier (in fact, he never noticed this bit.  I did.  I don't miss THAT bit)

When we lived in our ground floor flat, in a Victorian conversion terrace, there were sounds.  Unique sounds I now realise.

I'll give you a fr'instance ...... close your eyes.

You are watching tv, in the 'front room' (which, when you were a student, was actually likely to be a housemate's bedroom).  The window faces on to the street, right?

Early evening, the waves of returning fellow street dwellers start to wash down your road.  Their appearance & progress down your street runs approximately 6 minutes behind each arrival of SW Trains at the nearby station.

The talking and/or the clipping footsteps alert you.

*laughter* "yeah, mate. I'll see you there."
Clip, clip, clip .........

There they go.

Further away.
"I know! This holiday is going to be suuuuuuuuuch a laugh, darling. And I sooooooooo need it. Honestly, she is such a bitch."


Pub Chucking-Out time - same story.  More laughing. Replace *clipping* with *shuffling*. Possibly stronger language.

Back in The Day - hearing GuyUpStairs moving around, presumably sorting out a spot of supper & settling down for the night, made me feel safe.

In these houses, without ever actually exchanging more than a "hello", as you step over the evergrowing but invisible (?) drift of freebie papers & pizza/curry takeaway menus that get shoved through the communal postbox, you know when this Utter Stranger has a bath, flushes the loo or if he is watching News at Ten.

And then, in the morning, you can hear GUS's alarm go off.  You know when he is up out of his pit & moving to his bathroom & his kitchen.  GUS's place is the exact mirror copy of us down here.

I knew when this stranger, who slept about 12 feet above us, was late for work, had a late night, was away for the weekend, had friends round but never a girlfriend.

Our few days revisiting London has also reminded me how much I dislike London public transport in the warm weather, but that horribly hot stuffy conditions on a Bus or train also brings the most glorious smells & sounds of a London garden in the summer.

Just these few days I have remembered the smell of cut grass that so many love (or the Pollen-Challenged hate), the sound of everyone having their windows open whilst watching a huge sporting event like the LionsTour or Wimbledon, the smells of BBQs, laughing & the psssssshhhhht of cans being pssssssshhhhhhhht'd.

Love it.

I fell in love again with London again this July.  It felt rich & full of substance & history (one cannot say this about where we live now).  It made me nostalgic for the Old Days - Student & Post-student times.

But then, when the sun shines everything is lovable.

As an aside, I should say, I didn't come here for sunshine.  I don't frigging need more sunshine.  I wanted moody, morose, cosy gloom.  With gorgeous boots. And hats.

Heatwave. Shmeatwave.

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