09 September, 2006

Around London V

Not such an epic hike this time, and nowhere near as geographically varied as any of the legs I've completed to date. This was very much a sojourn through suburbia. But that, as it turned out, was no bad thing, especially when it included the genteel middle class boroughs of Croydon and Bromley.

I found myself in a part of the country best known to me through Sherlock Holmes stories: names like Norwood, Copper Beeches and Reigate were all around, while many of the streets had a quaint, otherworldy air that could have had you mistakenly thinking you were ambling through the late 19th century. To continue to sleuth associations, at one point in Balham I went past the building used as the main location for ITV's Poirot series.

Plus there was a whole slew of hills: Herne Hill, Biggin Hill, Fox Hill and Tulse Hill, all of which keep bringing me up above the horizon and affording fabulous views in all directions. The latter, of course, kept reminding me of Carter's reliably pun-laboured song '24 Hours From Tulse Hill'. And just after I'd got 'The Only Living Boy In New Cross' out of my head from last time.

At one point I was crossing a street in Streatham (SW16), looked to my right, and far away at the end of the road was, somewhat unbelievably, Wembley Stadium (NW10) which is only a mile or so from my flat.

I also saw a Muslim man reciting his daily prayers on a mat in the middle of Norbury Recreation Ground. His calm nonchalence and personal devotion, provoking not one iota of reaction from anybody passing by, was somehow deeply reassuring.

Day 5: Crystal Palace - Wimbledon
Miles Added: 9
Total Miles Completed: 51.25
Total Miles Outstanding: 26.75


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