Checked the Sally Army shop in Forest Rd E17 and smelt the corridor to the furniture hall. What a whiff of grandma’s polished airless room. Loved it. Bought a packet of fat chips from the last chip shop standing, almost, and wended my way across the road to sit on William Morris’ back step. He’s a socialist; he won’t mind.
The William Morris garden is fantastic and a real bee magnet. I saw it being laid out eighteen or so months ago when I attended the heritage sessions with Ellie Mortimer. Today it’s an ordered blanket of flowers and grasses as tall as a toddler. The circular beds behind the house itself are back in full yellow glory. Across the way the Warner maisonettes are dolled up now as they’ve been made fashionable and desirable with their wrought iron balconies and French windows on the first floor.
Just polished off my chips and something cast a shadow on my lap. A walking human being looked at me and sat down. It had no breasts but wore a white broderie -anglaise pee-stained knee-length skirt and petticoat. I sneaked a peek to see grey stubble and long greasy hair swung around a bald patch then that lank stuff was hooked up unto a half-hearted French Roll. I saw a prominent Adam’s Apple and knew I was in male company. Of all the seats in the park, he chose mine.
He fiddled with a purse, a lady’s change purse. I felt bad as he looked hard up if not weird and I could have easily shared my chips with him. He crossed his legs like a lady and swigged from a fizzy drink bottle. I thought that people must shun him all the time because of the way he is and so perhaps never talked to anyone all day. I started a conversation of pleasantries and out of his mouth came a high woman’s voice. Who was confused then?
A child went by on roller skates, done up in all her crash helmet, knee pads, elbow protectors and pink leggings: She never disguised her surprise as she passed staring at the bearded skirted one.
I remarked to my bench-mate that there were never any aeroplanes overhead. He smiled and I moved on to another bench.
The Lloyd Park shuts these days at 10pm. There’s a car park at a £1 an hour and £3 for four hours; £6 all day up until 5pm and then whether it gets locked I don’t know yet. It was only four years ago it was all free. Someone’s gotta pay for the blooms. There are ducks and sand-pits, art exhibitions and a roller park and pear trees dropping their fruit for anyone to scrump.