Tuesday, February 20, 2007

hidden railway, elastic bands, cafe noises

I have always known that the main line London to Hastings railway passes near our house. But it is easy to forget, because it runs in a tunnel, deep under the little park called the Grove, and emerges on the other side in a deep cutting. You can look down on the railway if you take the un-made road that leads off the top of Mount Sion, opposite the entrance to the Grove. On one side are the back gardens of some old houses in Claremont Road, and on the other several houses perched on top of the cutting, with sloping gardens and the track some way below them. Today, on a short stroll, we remind ourselves of the railway's existence, and it still comes as surprise that it should be there, only two or three hundred meters from our front door.

Are we alone in these parts in having postmen who shed elastic bands? You see the bands, usually in pairs, discarded on the pavments, as the posties separate the packets of sorted letters before delivery. It is one of those features of everyday life, which we take for granted and could one day even become nostalgic about.

The sound of bacon and egg frying in my favorite cafe and the hiss of the steaming water-boiler.
A young man comes in and orders "an all-day breakfast" plus an extra egg and an extra sausage. He sits himself at one of the tables and contemplates his mobile phone, and then, as an afterthought, adds hash browns to his order.

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