On my longest trip for a year – 6 stops down the Northern Line to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead to pick up meds for my daughter – who was injured at work in an accident that wasn’t her fault. Burnt Oak is mostly shuttered in pallid Spring sunlight. An extraordinary number of dusty hairdressers all closed for business – one claiming to do modern styles illustrated by a row of Brylcreemed heads that are anything but. The Co-op Funeral Services Office however, is discretely open. Always an essential shop.
I’d forgotten how awful the Metro – London’s free morning newspaper – is. You can actually feel your brain rotting as you read it. Its boosterish headline “Book your table now!” – followed by the opening lines “Cheers! The race is on to book your table outdoors for next Monday…” seems eager to repeat last year’s “Eat out to help out”fiasco, for the same short term commerciual considerations; pushing everyone to go out and mix and mingle and, above all, spend as much money as possible – as the cheerful complement to the scowling dark side of the same line in the Daily Mail; “Call this Freedom?”
The letters page is probably the worst. Even the ones that don’t start with “So…”, all seem to have been written by Henry Root. I got to wondering whether they were actually written by readers or knocked up in the Metro’s offices as an exercise in parody or satire. Five letters from indignant suburban readers upset by litter left by some young people after parties in parks and convinced – therefore – that this invalidates concern over climate breakdown; because this is also something expressed by young people – because they must be the same people – because they are young- and they have no respect for their elders. Hrumph! The smell of people finding ways not to think about real problems while boosting their own self righteousness is overwhelming.
Down the hill, someone has put tulip pot plants on the top of street posts. The effect is exhilarating. The opposite of dumping litter.
At the top of the hill in Silver Jubilee Park, where you can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles, a huge murder of crows wanders about self importantly amongst themselves, like so many lawyers or Catholic clerics taking care of business, while a few of their number keep watch from the tree above. They seem to be planning something.
The emaciated Santa that has been left dangling for months on a house in Kingsbury Road as though trying to beat COVID regulations by getting in, has finally been taken down. It must be Spring.