I was wandering around yesterday on my way home from work trying to figure out where I could buy myself a paper that wasn’t the Evening Standard for the journey home. Kew Bridge station and its environs are never going to feature in one of the top ten lists of shopping districts in London. There’s the corner shop, which sells sweets, alcohol and mobile phone topups but which doesn’t sully its hands with newspapers. There’s the scary looking pub to end all scary looking pubs. There are two derelict shops which have been hidden behind a large billboard for decades and which have only recently emerged, but their facades suggest that if you did dare look past the grime on the windows that you’d see prices in shillings and pence. There’s the mysterious blue monolith that has appeared on the station platform, which will probably get a blog entry of its own once I’ve figured out what it’s for. And that’s it. Not even any purple people handing out trashy freebies. London’s odd that way. A few hundred yards away, across the river, there are million-pound houses and shops selling designer wallpaper, but this side of the river is all dereliction and decay, empty office blocks that have been turned into flats, an empty lot growing buddleia and a last few remnants of light industry clinging on in the shadow of the motorway. And no shops. Kew Bridge isn’t even a place, it’s just the bit between somewhere and somewhere else, the area time forgot. Which may go some way to explaining why the local area map and bus route information that’s proudly displayed on the platform is actually of Chiswick.
So that’s it, the last working day of the year and a whole new year of commuting adventures to look forward to in 2007. May all your trains be long ones, and all your carriages be quiet ones and may engineering works not blight your plans for this weekend or any other*.
*I can dream, can’t I?