Wednesday, 1 June 2016
I get off at Kew Gardens tube station and straight away I realise that I will have a longer distance to cover to Richmond Park. Whereas last night it seemed like a good idea to get off a stop before I was meant to in order to enjoy the sudden burst of spring sunshine on this May Bank Holiday, now that decision looks a bit rushed. Still, the hazy, scanty, beams of light dappling this remote corner of southwest London are reason enough to make me regret my sudden, unnecessary and uncalled for moan.
I leave the station and make my way up North Road, a street so Hitchcockian that the great director could have shot The Birds here and most people would have found it hard to tell it apart from bleak Bodega Bay in California where the movie was actually filmed. It is not the absence of habitation that brings to mind the cinematic vehicle that launched Tippi Hedren’s career but the dearth of human life around me as I set off for Richmond Park. As I find out later North Road has neither ascent nor descent; its flatness extending for about a quarter of a mile. I am reminded of Radiohead’s Street Spirit as rows of trees on both sides of the street are “bearing down on me/I can feel their blue hands touching me/All these things into position/All these things we’ll one day swallow whole/And fade out again and fade out.”
Fade out and fade back in is what the sun seems to be doing today. It is a peculiar spring day with warmth and cold both having a say in how the weather has shaped up so far. On the pavement a battle between light and shade is fought. The evanescent sun contributes to that. Blossoms are still few and far between but noticeable. Once in a while a car zooms past, the noise of the engine breaking the stillness of North Road.
As I come to the end of the street I think of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, and its fourth and final stanza: I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence:/Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— /I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference. I have no idea if North Road is the less travelled by, but at least I am glad I got off at Kew Gardens tube station and added these extra few miles to journey. I carry on, a spring in my step now.
Photo taken by the blog author
Next Post: “Saturday Evenings: Stay In, Sit Up and Switch On”, to be published on Saturday 4th June at 6pm (GMT)