I can taste the City in my mouth, it’s gritty as well as tasting of fuel (a non-specific: diesel/petrol mix). It’s taking longer to navigate home too. London seems to have turned overnight into one big building site / road work, at every turn there’s a road block requiring a diverting turn. I just want to get home! It’s been one of those days but in a conscious effort to not instantly categorise bad stuff as bad I’m looking for the positives.
They’re not that hard to find as I am forced to explore the back streets behind and around Westminster Abbey, Tufton street and others that I don’t quite turn up have curious shop fronts or just mysterious doors that look like they were last opened in Dickensian times. These dark little streets, even the more grandly titled Great Smith St. were not made for the growling, choking traffic that is squeezing down them like angry toothpaste, threatening to squash the traffic jam cheating cyclists that swarm between the opposing lines of traffic.
These discoveries have changed my commute into one more interesting than the norm, nevertheless I am relieved to turn back onto Millbank, even its bludgeoning crosswind/headwind punch that always hits me as I cross the roundabout at Lambeth Bridge, at last heading homeward. Back on track and buzzing along (that’s my mudguard rubbing on my rear wheel), (it’s my commuting bike – mudguards are allowed) but the campaign to dig up all of London’s roads has another diversions store for me. The tail end of the Kings Road as it heads out to Putney via Parsons Green is closed so I have to take the next left, onto the Fulham Road, past Stamford Bridge,via Fulham Broadway before I meet my usual commute at Putney.
Fulham is less than 5 miles from home but I don’t know it well. I’ve only really known it through the eyes of a drunken twenty-something, late at night, but I could even be mistaking it for Clapham as I navigate a series of blurred flashbacks and artificially created memories. Fulham is an enticing mix of Poundland and the bohemian, expensive looking housing in close proximity to the high street action. You don’t need to venture far from home in Fulham to have fun and/or spend money. I don’t know why I didn’t live here in that twenty-something era. Maybe it was the limited transport links which mattered when I didn’t cycle to work. Conclusion: life could be more fun with a bicycle.