The rain is being thrown against the windows tonight, but this morning was glorious, and a windy day meant even the heaviest washing on the line dried thoroughly.
Celia and I set off from the Elysian fields of sunny Walworth to visit the not so deep south where Denmark Hill meets Herne Hill. There are roads leading off the main road that we only ever seem to see from the bus. Time for some initial explorations. En route we passed the site of a newly demolished house. It reminded us of bombsites. This fireplace was presumably blocked up and the grate left undisturbed for decades until the house was pulled down. It looks like the sticks that had been placed in it for a fire that was never lit were also immured. My guess is it will end up in an antique shop somewhere and fetch a tidy sum.
It would be ironic if the purchaser were one of those incomers who have just realised that south east London’s grittiness suddenly flavour of the month.
I needed the loo, so we diverted to the newest local library. My preoccupation with my bladder may explain why I didn’t photograph the exterior. There are some historic items in the foyer, including this one celebrating the number of local men who signed up to fight in the First world war. It was hours later before I thought to wonder if my great uncles were among them.
The library is small but well stocked. I only borrowed one book, but may have to go back for Jeannette Winterson’s Gap in Time.
Back on track, we climbed Denmark Hill, wondering when the new helipad at King’s will be finished, and then turned off the main drag into a wide street that could have been in deepest suburbia.
It was very quiet. We gazed at the houses, tried to work out which bits had been added or restored, admired flowering magnolias. As a neighbourhood it makes our own seem irredeemably urban. I was quite ready to move in. In fact I found a house, three in fact, a little terrace . Not a big one, but I have a weakness for round windows. Fortunately none of them was for sale so I haven’t had to swallow my disappointment at not being able to afford one.
My eye was caught by a building a littel distance away that was made of warm red brick. We went to investigate. A library.
But not for much longer. Lambeth is taking the axe to its libraries, and this is one that is due to close at the end of March. I have a feeling future generations will reinvent this wheel and we shall see a resurgence in libraries if we live long enough, because once they have gone, people will slowly wake up to their need. It would be nice if this lovely Grade II listed building could one day resume its original function.
I’m off east again tomorrow, not sure if there’ll much opportunity for posting or reading, but hopefully I shall get some pictures of the countryside in spring mode.