Sunday, 7 July 2013

Holy Crap

I'm so bad at this.

Seriously, I have been back in the UK for over a week now.

That means I didn't once blog whilst out in Turkey and it then took me like five days to remember and another two to actually get round to writing anything. Sigh. It'll probably be another two days before I have something worth clicking "Publish" over.

I don't even know what I'm writing now, a ramble on the inadequacies of my commitment skills?

It's very strange, returning from adventures and suddenly being somewhere familiar. It becomes like a form of time travel, oh! I have been here previously, in that other age before I had climbed the Acropolis at Athens or drunk coffee in Istanbul. There is something about seeing places, spaces, objects, cultures that haven't changed since the last time you've seen them that really forces you on an introspective spirit journey.

Or it does if you, like me, are the type of person who prefers over-contemplating that which need not be dwelt upon to anything resembling real work.

There's a road very close to the house I grew up in, St John's Road, it wasn't the high street in Waterloo (our little town) but it was the second street, South Road and St John's Road where the roads that held the shops, the bakers, the cobblers and the rest. South Road has an Iceland and Boots, there used to be a Woolworths and Sayers, it's where all the pubs, clubs and restaurants are. St John's Road is more charity shops and optimistic 'antiques'; less trendy and more traditional, many of the shops have been there since before I was born.

There are no traffic lights or bus stops on St John's Road, it doesn't need them, but there is a level crossing for the railway. The train station is actually on South Road but as the central hub of the town it was deemed worthy of an artificial hill creating a bridge across the rails so the traffic could flow unhindered. The memories of standing at the level crossing waiting for the train to pass before the barrier would rise and we could go on and explore the shops we only sometimes went to are what stand out of my visits to St John's, the impatient waiting and the explosive power of trains thundering past.

When I was nine I joined a Cub Scout pack that held it's meetings just off St John's Road, this led to me spending more time in that distant area three blocks away from home in a different direction to the parks and marina which were my usual haunt. But Cubs didn't start until 6pm, the shops would all be closed, unlike Woolworths and Clintons they mostly didn't have automatic metal rollers that shuttered down to obscure the entire shop front. Instead the shop keepers would imprison their wares behind metal grills they carried out and hung up by hand, fiddling with latches and heavy padlocks.

It had been years since I last walked down St John's Road and it has changed: the garish neon pink of the costume shop has faded to a sun worn pastel; the pet shop has moved away from bunnies and other small fluffs to concentrate on the more financially satisfying sales of reptiles and tortoises. When I was a child I felt like I was stepping back in time because the shops were family run, sold sweets in paper bags and never had adverts on the TV. Now I feel like I'm stepping back in time because it takes me back to being nine years old.

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