27 September 2013


At first I thought it was the foxes. Things being shifted slightly, a shuffling sound. Then I realised it was the sound of the of a broom, a big one. A single blackbird was singing, a train, a plane, the traffic rumbling away. Eventually I peeped out of the window and saw him turning the corner with his hi-viz jacket. The man who sweeps the streets before the sun comes up, who leaves order behind, had already moved on.

I snuck back to bed for a few minutes, heard the milkman leaving the milk. I thought about next door's  builders having their Macdonalds somewhere on the road between here and Billericay. And the morning last week when my neighbour and I rushed out in our PJs as the bin-men arrived early. "They've changed our schedule, love. We'll be getting here by seven from now on" he said smirking at us with our bare feet and shoulders.

I do wish I was a morning person.

20 September 2013

i spy

The end of summer came up us all too quickly, before I had even had time to tell of the wonderful times we had when the sun was shining and cotton frocks were de rigueur for staying cool. But there are stories still to be told, beginning with the wonderful windy, rainy weather today in Peckham with my old friend and local guide, Mr B.

All praise to the glorious Overground that takes us beyond Surrey Docks (as was, Quays as is) to Peckham Rye. And what riches Peckham offers over and above the now ├▒defunct Higgins and Jones department store of my childhood. We started at Frank's Cafe at the top of a largely uninhabited car park, up the mildly pissy stairwells, then the ramps and ridged concrete floors housing installations, to the breezy top floor, exposed to the south westerly winds and rain, the slapping of ribbons, and spectacular views across London. At the rooftop cafe we ate  corn and bacon chowder, creamy and sharp (creme fraiche, celeriac and whey the cook said), all this with the wind blowing fiercely and thwacking against the hefty plastic ribbons holding down the protective tarp. Mr B said it was like being on the deck of a ship, and he was right. Except there was a garden too.

Back on dry - well, dampish - land, we took the tour around the streets of Peckham. Green suburban roads; the South London Gallery; the London Wildlife Trust Centre for Wildlife gardening that was closed because of shortage of staff; the Peckham Library, choc a bloc with people, and a view down the line of the filled-in Surrey Canal reaching past the allotments; fish and boiling fowl, plantain and peppers; and an  even more extensive choice of bargain-price nail bars than we have around here - a waste of money on me,  but the idea of once, just once, having sparkly nails, albeit on crooked fingers, was tempting.

The richness of re-explored territory, a new perspective on a rainy day - totally exhilarating.

More tales to come.