South London FTW

It’s pre-move limbo time. In front of me I’ve got my enormous checklist of things you’re supposed to do before moving into a new house, and I’ll get round to opening my eyes at some point when the fear subsides. How does one actually deal with things which require a proof of residence in a place where you don’t actually live?

Anyway the upheaval has made me step back and think about what I’m going to be sad about when I leave my little corner of Putney, which in turn gave me an idea for a rather inward-looking blog entry. This is what I’m going to miss:

  • Commons. Barnes, Putney and Wimbledon commons are all within easy walking distance, and they have a relaxed charm that parks, with their mown grass and gates and fences never quite manage.
  • Richmond Park. There are so many good things about Richmond Park and I’ve always appreciated my luck in being so close by. Without it I’d be a less fit and ambitious cyclist, for sure. But it offers everything you could want from open space in a city – solitude, wildlife, views, grass, woodland, lakes, hills, everything. I know I’ll only be about 5 miles away even after the move but it makes a big difference.
  • The river. I’ll still be close-ish in Shepherds Bush – and indeed I discovered the other day that our new house pretty much is built on top of the now-subterranean Stamford Brook. Here’s a map of the area in 1840 – the house is more or less in the south-west corner of the central Brick Field where it meets the Brook (and here’s a modern map for cross reference – the Askew/Becklow triangle is the most recognisable area):

  • Sorry, getting sidetracked. Yes, I’m going to miss the river because at the moment I cross it a dozen or so times a week, commuting to work and heading to B’s, and every time without fail I gaze along it and it makes me happy. Like Richmond Park, it’ll suddenly be something I organise trips to, not something I assume into the fabric of my life.
  • Overground rail travel. South West Trains get a lot of stick but having their service 5 minutes from my doorstep has been a revelation. I can get pretty much anywhere via Vauxhall, Clapham Junction or Waterloo; it’s quick, reliable, I almost always get a seat, and while the stretch of south London it bisects is pretty ugly, it’s all above ground. Most importantly, it’s not the sodding District Line. Unlike where I’m moving to.
  • The views outside my window. You’d think overlooking the South Circular would be a minus, but there’s a bus stop just outside so there are always comings and goings. There’s also the daily throng of euros who come to gawp at the Le Bon house next door. It’s lively and I like it. Out back, there’s a bit of green, some treetops in the distance, some nondescript council houses, but there’s also this:
  • And I’m going to miss being a staunch soldier for the south of the river gang. For some reason I consider much of west London as honorary SOTR, so it won’t really feel different, but I won’t be able to argue for the south to rise again with any conviction from now on. P.S. north London sucks baws.
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  1. It’s always good to leave a period of your life appreciating what was great about it. Lovely blog entry x

    • Victor Frankenstein
    • April 13th, 2011

    Pleasantly surprising, Mr. B.
    You never appreciate things/people/places in life as when they’re no longer there to take for granted.

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