Round in circles in Peckham
Saturday 24th October
After last week’s sore hands, I didn’t want to help plant bulbs at Russell Square, but instead cycled to Rectory Road station, digging rubble out of the grass bank. Toyin was there but went home sick, leaving myself, Clair and Alex P with the glasses (who’s name I couldn’t remember on Wednesday). They weren't impressed with my mangled, plastic England Athletics bottle, and the fact that the water in it was several days old. There was a lot of rubble under the grass, and I dug out one or two huge paving stones. Disappointedly, I was unable to go for a coffee with Claire and Alex, as I had to get over to Hackney. For a short time I thought I could spend fifteen minutes with them at a small café next to the station, but it was a plant shop!
I used my bike phone-holder to look at CityMapper to get to Ruskin Park, very directly using the new cycle paths through the City. I was fifteen minutes early and was very thirsty – I’ve been avoiding having too many drinks so I don’t get “caught short – so went in a local café, FCB, and bought their last vegan roll. In the park, I met stalwarts Sophie, as well as Chris and Jess, who I still find hard to talk to. Chris surprisingly didn’t say anything to me. I’m going to overtake Jess in the listings soon. Chris E also turned up, so when it was suggested we split into two groups of four, I thought I’d better leave the stalwarts as a foursome while I worked with three local girls I hadn’t met before, Effie who was organising the task, as well as Emily and Laura. It was a bit odd, we were pulling out all the grass from an area.
We walked across the park to take the tools back, I spoke briefly to Sophie while we got our bikes, then I cycled round the outside of the park trying to find the Ladies’, before realising it was next to where we’d been gardening! I met Jack at Denmark Hill station and we walked through the quite posh back streets to Peckham, where Jack had looked up a vegan café. First he needed tomatoes for his bad stomach, but the market stall holders wouldn’t let me buy just four, they wanted us to buy a whole bowl which must have contained about fifteen. And all the stalls offered the same stock; no-one sold cherry tomatoes. Eventually we found a man who was prepared to let us have just a few, and he refused to let me give him £1.
According to CityMapper, the Jamaican café Jack had spotted was accessible through the alley that leads to the Bussey Building, but we couldn’t find it. Eventually we did a circuit round, and realised it was actually in a parallel arcade, but most of the shops in there were shuttered (and most of the others were black people’s hairdressers and beauty shops). So we headed up to the grotty indoor market – where Jack got his watch screen mended - and headed for another vegan place which was just packing away, but we took their last two meals and went out to the park to eat them. This turned out to be the park where I litter-picked with Flavia in January. All the benches seemed to be full, but we spotted one at the end of the park, and got there before anyone else sat down.
We also had a coffee in Rye Lane near the Bussey Building, where lads were playing basketball at one end.
The train home was slow, due to track repairs at Blackfriars. Twice saw girls in over-knee boots, and another who’s mini-skirt flapped up. In Peckham, one girl with a huge slit in her long skirt was permanently showing her knickers, from one side. And another braless girl wore a stretch crop-top which was so tight you could make out every detail of her nipples. Rye Lane has been closed to motor traffic, which is remarkable as it was a main road – they’ve only got walking and cycle lanes. I even recently saw a video of some lads playing cricket there after the pubs closed early.