As usual for a London trip, Jackie drove me to Southampton Parkway where I boarded a train for Waterloo. I then travelled by tube to Paddington and walked to Safe Store at Paddington Green to buy ten more storage boxes for another book-packing session at Sutherland Place.
Walking through Paddington Basin I reflected on the huge residential developments that have emerged from the sunken waste ground that I knew in the ’70s and ’80s. At that time the only residents were travellers and their dogs in their caravans and more permanent denizens occupying narrow-boats moored along the canal side.
Today colourful deck-chairs glowed in the sunshine. Most were empty during the morning. Some were placed conveniently for spectators to watch the impromptu games of table tennis for which the wherewithal was situated beside the water. I have seen such tables in Paris and in Soho as reported when meandering through it on 17th October last year (click here to see post).
I left the basin via Hermitage Street for which the sign was almost obscured by the ubiquitous buddleia that will take root anywhere.
The splendid hanging baskets high above Harrow Road almost rivalled those with which Jackie has surrounded our flat.
The original building of the Children’s Hospital once serving the public on the Green now appears to be partitioned into residential apartments. The Green itself is the only recognisable feature of the scene depicted by R. Sayer in the eighteenth century.
Coming away from the store with my flat-packed boxes strapped with material designed to cut into your hand, I set off to walk to Sutherland Place. After about ten minutes I thought better of it and hailed a taxi.
The final move has been fixed for 2nd September, well clear of the Notting Hill Carnival. Margaret, who has continued working in the flat which is now to be re-let, helped me today, as she has done on the previous occasions. After this I am on my own, and will pack up the rest of the books and other items during the preceding weekend. She is to arrange for someone to hand me the keys for this. Brian has obtained a relaxation of parking restrictions for the removal van, but Michael has suggested that what is needed is a suspension of the bays outside the house, otherwise we are leaving it to chance that no-one will occupy them. I will need to enquire about this.
Today’s packing over, I walked to Queensway and travelled by underground to Waterloo.
Buying my ticket at Waterloo was an interesting process. The monthly return with my aged concessions taken into consideration amounted to £23.15. I slipped a £20 note under the teller’s protective glass screen and said ‘the rest is coming’, as I pulled a handful of coins out of my trousers pocket. A cursory examination told me I was about 20p short, so I proffered a £10 note and asked the man if the 15p would be helpful. ‘You’ve got enough there’, he said, pointing to my coins. ‘No, I haven’t’, I replied. Giving me a somewhat withering look, he said: ‘Put your money down there’, pointing to the trough under the grill. I decided to humour him, and did so. He picked up each piece, sorted them into denominations, and discovered there was not enough there. I was rather more amused than were the people in the queue backing up behind me.
Jackie picked me up at Southampton and drove me to The Firs where she was in the process of cooking for us all.
Having finished early, I took a brief sojourn in Kensington Gardens, through which I have run many a mile. Londoners and visitors were basking in the afternoon sunshine. Some sat on the grass. Others walked or cycled. Boris’s Bikes were much in demand, and judging by the wobbling progress of some of their riders I thought it a good thing they were not travelling along Bayswater Road.
Jackie’s meal was a delicious chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice, followed by apple and blackberry pie and lemon tart. This was shared by the same family members as yesterday. I drank red wine and the others, except for Andy, had rose.
The bright white plate peering through the trees against an inky sky that greeted us on our return to Castle Malwood Lodge was a full moon complete with etched in face.