Monday, September 28, 2009

Kingston to Norfolk

Kingston to Norwich, Saturday 26th September, 2009

It’s taken us two hours to get from Kingston, where Panos and Michelle live, to Stratford where we’re due to catch the express train to Norwich, East England. The Jubilee line is down forcing us to catch the DLR from Canary wharf. I’ve never been to Canary wharf before, the key banking and business district in London, from what I caught as I rather gumpily made my way through was a rather soulless glass and steel square, cordoned by canals. Catching the DLR was more interesting. One elderly white woman got on with hair dyed a flaming pink and purple. Two pretty, fat ladies got on and sat opposite, one white, one black, each with fussily painted nails and huge forearms that brushed cat hair off their black trousers. At Stratford, a young man dressed as a gorilla walked by with his family. Stratford is home to all the new Olympic 2012 development, so the area looks a little like a wasteland of cranes and spiny structural shapes emerging from the ground. You pass brick buildings, 10 stories high, with generous windows and open plan offices that look simultaneously bright and derelict.

The express train to Norwich is quiet and empty. The English countryside, glorious. Picture perfect. The sunlight at 1:29 in the afternoon softly washes in through the windows, it’s so diffuse, totally unlike NZ’s bright interplay of sudden drama. The trees are all beginning to turn and I think about Robin Hood, and the forests of Nottingham. I’m yet to see a fox, although Sam’s seen two. I also want to see robin redbreasts.

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