From Polly's Story
Writing the Swallowcliffe Hall books has made me think about the impact a place can have on a person: the importance of the familiar sights we see every day, and the effect our surroundings can have on our state of mind. I've lived within the same four or five mile area of South London for nearly thirty years, with a couple of exciting years' time out in Johannesburg, and most of the time I walk about with my head in the air, thinking random thoughts instead of noticing or appreciating. So here is a tribute to a few of the things that I love about the place I live, in no particular order:
The flowerbed in the pavement outside the tapas bar, which has been painstakingly decorated with beer bottle tops.
The trees in the park where I walk my dog, and the Georgian house at the top of the hill in the middle.
Bumping into people I know when nipping out to the shops or for a takeaway coffee.
The communal piano outside the station that's free for anyone to use.
The farmers' market on Sundays where you can buy meat, fish, organic veg, street food and all kinds of other interesting things. Last week there were petting lambs for spring! And rabbits!
The fact I can jump on a bus and be up at the South Bank in 30 minutes, or travel through London to St Pancras station in the north by train in the same amount of time (and maybe one day even hop on the Eurostar to Paris). London is my oyster...
|The statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras station|
“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the ploughs in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a colour that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”
So what do you like about the place where you live?