So, I’m getting to travel down to Tunbridge Wells a few times a week at the moment. Yes, I know what you’re thinking… I am not necessarily the most TW of people, and I do occasionally wonder what it would be like to move there…but the dearth of ethnicities other than blonde caucasian tends to stop me in my tracks. I’m about as “ethnic” as it gets, so how on earth would my mixed-race family fit in here?!. Now there’s a scary thought.
The 17.39 back to Charing Cross (via Waterloo East) is, unsurprisingly, my favourite part of those working days. Not only because it takes me back home, but also because it’s taking me back to a town that’s become home over the last 20 years or so.
I love seeing the landscape change from the grazing sheep and rolling green ‘garden of England’ countryside , to the metropolis and grey, scraggy skyline that starts to become visible as the train edges closer and closer to London.
Home sweet home. The throngs of selfish commuters that are all vying for the quickest and most comfortable way home out of the City. Whilst others may scoff, to me it’s just the most comforting and familiar of sites.
And I once arrive home at Wimbledon station, by no means the edgiest of London’s ‘burbs, I sigh in relief to see faces that look more like my own, jostling past me, not to mention the different smells that greet me from the Japanese noodle bar around the corner, and the Bangladeshi curry place I pass on my way home. The throng of urban life. Even those tedious school kids at the bus stop, cocky, confident and oh so ‘street’ are a welcome sight!
London has changed so much in the last 20 years, and so have the immigrants that continue to flock to it. Wimbledon still attracts the wealthy, but now instead of the Western Europeans it used to attract, a wealthy South East Asian community has taken residence, as well as the ubiquitous Russian delegation.
London will just absorb them all and make them its own, in a way that no other place that I know of can do, and in the way it did with me nearly 20 years ago. New York and it’s ‘melting pot’ I’m going to leave to the New Yorkers, and as for Paris…the less said the better…
So there you go, that’s my little postcard from the big smoke, together with one of my favourite views as I come back in the evenings: