diamond geezer

 Thursday, October 17, 2019

I've been out visiting several places across London over the last couple of days. Before I write about them properly, here are some of the other things I saw along the journey.

1) I see Autumn is happening.

2) I see a lot of these artificial topiary globes hanging outside front doors. They seem to be the exterior flourish of choice for homeowners who can't be bothered with the hassle of hanging baskets. I wondered why they were so popular, but I see Argos sell them for £15 a pair so I guess garden centres flog them on the cheap too. I have a theory that the proportion of houses with topiary balls in any particular street tells you a lot about the economic standing of its residents. Enfield barely scraped 1%. BestMate's cul-de-sac hits 15%.

3) Charles Holden designed, or had a hand in the design of, over 40 tube stations. I sometimes think it's a shame I don't live near enough to use one on a regular basis.

4) Who knew there was a corner of London called Frog's Bottom? I stumbled across it thanks to a noticeboard outside the Jolly Farmers near Enfield, referring to the point where Slades Hill dips to cross the Salmon's Brook. The microsuburb alongside is sometimes known as World's End, but the pub goes heavy on the Frog's Bottom location for branding purposes.

5) The piazza outside Woolwich's Crossrail station has finally been opened up, apart from a low hoarding across the front of the main entrance. I thought those might be fishy designs scraped into the concrete, but they have tails at both ends so it must just be some kind of repeating pattern. For those of you who fret about these things, the station name - Woolwich - has been written in lower case rather than being entirely capitals.

6) At a Travellers site in Croydon I spotted a man in a blue hoodie coaxing a horse, plus half a dozen unattached carts scattered across the pavement. A few minutes later his pony and trap combo was speeding off up the street behind a stream of cars and a delivery lorry. Nighttime revels on this industrial estate must be somewhat epic.

7) This phoenix was part of the coat of arms of the former Hanwell Urban District Council, which was absorbed by the Municipal Borough of Ealing in 1926. Always check the pavement, because it might have a modern reminder of local heritage embedded in it.

8) I had ten minutes to wait for my tram so acquainted myself with the full complexity of when to tap in and/or out. Always touch in on the platform before boarding, especially at Wimbledon or Elmers End even if you've only just touched in through the ticket barriers, otherwise you might be walloped with a maximum fare. "Please retain your card for inspection when you alight." Never touch out after alighting, except at Wimbledon where you should touch out at the barriers if exiting the station, touch the card reader on platform 9 if changing to National Rail or touch the card reader on platforms 1-4 if changing to the tube. Simple.

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