In amongst reading and drinking coffee yesterday I did actually plan a walk for a friend from the British Library in King's Cross (once an area known as Battlebridge but changed after someone plonked a statue of George IV on the crossroads of Euston, Pentonville and Gray's Inn Roads) to the British Museum in Holborn (former home of the library). She teaches English Language A-Level and needed a walk that would take in some historical place names and a church for explaining some point or another.
I have walked children from one side of Paris to the other, much to their utter amazement, but you do have to realise that youngsters these days just do not get about on foot. A real shame. Anyway, not knowing how long the walk would take I thought I would put it into practice.
After walking up the road to buy some electricity, and being intimidated by the men in the shop – they make me feel very uneasy -, something in my brain was telling me I didn't want to go to King's Cross but Bermondsey. No idea why but I went with it. As far as my travelcard allows on the Jubilee Line.
Once I'd packed my bag (Ed Glinert, notebook and pens, mini A to Z, camera, phone, keys, ham and mustard granary rolls, apple and banana), I was ready to go. Following a near altercation with a French girl who was emptying her voluminous handbag onto the barriers into an attempt to find her ticket (no-one else could get through), I hopped on board the District Line.
On exiting Bermondsey station I swung right and took a look at the shops. Jimmy's barbers. Payless Food and Wine. William Hills on one corner; Ladrookes on the other. The Castellano Ristorante adding a touch of class. On the other side of a set of metal barriers was a newly-created artscape (we get them all the time on the A13. Total waste of money). Swirling stainless-steel benches, shiny metal bins with mushroom shaped hats. Three coloured gravel swept into moving shapes and sprayed into shape (it didn't matter how hard you kicked it it didn't give). A couple of trees in front of the Kotechas Store, the Bermondsey Tandoori Balti House and the grilled windows of the Millpond Tenants and Residents Association Hall.
The war memorial to the Bermondsey dead surrounded by brightly coloured posters advertising the forthcoming Armistice services.
A man walked past wearing a bright blue bow tie.
Heading for the river path I caught a glimpse of the Angel pub. A statue on a bench made me jump. Dr Salter. Local hero. He'd made it his life's work to improve the health of an incredibly impoverished area and has been remembered for it.
He is waving goodbye to his daughter Joyce and her cat. Someone had wrapped pink ribbon round the cat's ears. Looks a little evil to me but then I have never been a lover of cats.
I stood and listened. Hum of the boats on the river. Lapping water. A muffled generator. Clanking dustcart. Seagulls cawing. Metal chipping away at stone.
The water was stronger further round the bend. I watched as three small boats clung together as the waves surged around them in the wake of the city cruisers. Through the gaps in the willow trees the Old Justice was peeking through.