New Cross in the rain


It rained for the first time all week, proper, gloomy London rain, the kind that rolls down the back of your neck and ruins your day. Fortunately, I had my Helly Hansen storm jacket stored at the parental archive, and that comes with a hood to keep the water off. Unfortunately, I also had the little one strapped to my chest, so I had to detach the hood in order to shelter her delicate head from the rain.

I woke up very early today with a very loud cough, so I stole away from the rest of my family and drank paracetamol-laced drinks, before going back to bed and waking up far later than intended. However, I had slept through my cold – the first step to recovery.

We took a train up to Charing Cross and went down to meet a friend at Fleet Street, but he was buried under an avalanche of work so instead we hung out at Starbucks in order to get a Wifi signal and talk to a lady just back from Abu Dhabi.

We were meeting a friend over in New Cross in the afternoon, but I didn’t have her number saved; it was only in a message on Facebook. Annoyingly, the Windows Phone Facebook app doesn’t cache messages, so without a data connection on the bus we couldn’t get in contact with her. The 172 bus from Aldwych down to New Cross takes about 40 minutes, which was a long time to worry about whether we’d fail to make our rendezvous or not. Still, eventually we made it.

New Cross hasn’t been gentrified yet. There are still lots of shady looking people hanging around the station, and the shops are all grim 24 hour convenience stores or pharmacies, except for The London Particular, a small cafe that feeds and waters the shock troops of gentrification. (I sense it will take a while to do this; it feels like New Cross has had at least two decades of hipsters from Goldsmiths and is still the rough old place it was when I visited in the 90s. But you never know.)

The creeping tide of gentrification is slowly approaching the station

The London Particular has a fairly large kitchen and a very small area to sit and eat: I think that’s a good ratio for a cafe. We had a delicious roast mushroom and goat cheese sandwich, or rather I had that, because my wife hates mushrooms, and she got something with bacon. Both of these vanished before my friend arrived, which was a good excuse to eat cake while we caught up on events.

My friend is now a doctor, lecturing at Goldsmiths, which is a progression from when I first met her, when she was studying at Goldsmiths and we got so drunk that the next day I was still suffering flashbacks to Amaretto at lunchtime. No booze today: I need to set a good example for our child. Besides which, it feels unfair to get drunk in front of my wife, and we have experienced the intestinal consequences far too often of baby sucking on a caffeinated or mildly alcoholic boob and then wreaking havoc on her surroundings. Best not to stimulate too much.

Anyway, our child was happy and cute all the afternoon, until we got her home and she raged until we’d given her a few litres of milk. We had to pack today for Canada, and although that should just have been a simple matter of putting everything back into the suitcases that we had brought from Singapore, it has been much more difficult. At the same time, I’m worried that we’ll arrive in Halifax and discover I have no underpants. But perhaps that’s just a common fear every man must have.


One response to “New Cross in the rain”

  1. Can’t believe your week’s gone so quickly. It’s like having someone tour the whole of South London for you so you don’t have to.

    My family hates mushrooms. But I think they are among the most magical and unusual food in existence. Mind you I think everything that is quick to cook is a miracle.

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