26 Oct 2014
There is nothing fun about the crush of people on the underground. We were changing from the Piccadilly to the Jubilee in Green Park, on Sunday during ‘ Planned Engineering Works’. The airless tunnel was stifling, as we were funnelled from one platform to the next. There was a busker in there and I don’t know how he could stand it. We promised ourselves to remember this, the next time we dream about moving back. I can’t go back to this everyday.
“Think about your commute” David says quietly. We were sandwiched between fellow commuters on the tube. He held the yellow rail on the ceiling above my head, while my arm reached around someone to grab a pole, their bag pressed into my side. I pictured myself on the sparkling harbour, sitting in the air-conditioned ferry watching seagulls skim over the surface. “Morning has bro-ken…” He sang quietly in my ear a soft lullaby. Yes. It’s quite a different experience. I think I may have one of the best commutes in the world, back in Sydney.
At Canada Water things improved dramatically as we changed to a shiny new Overland train and glided smoothly into our final destination.
Rebecca had invited us for a Sunday Lunch at her place, in Chaumert Square, a picturesque garden lane, lined with quaint cottages. Every year we were invited to her Christmas party and enjoyed them immensely. We always met interesting people; a sculptor, an explorer of the Sudan, radio drama producers, directors, and actors.
Today it’s a small gathering, with her spritely Mother and two friends from the square, along with David and I. And Loulou, the cat who draped herself delicately on the back of an armchair. I considered stealing her away in my handbag.
I have always loved the interior decor of Rebecca’s house: books, fresh flowers, black and white photographs, porcelain, crystal and artwork on every surface. It feels luxurious, creative and welcoming. Framed in ornate timber, is a check made out to Rebecca for ‘one million pounds’ from a grateful producer with a sence of humour.
Lunch was delicious, served in three courses with accompanying wine. Rebecca is such a wonderful cook and hostess. One Christmas she gave us a handmade recipe book of her favourite cakes.
One of the cottages in the Square is up for sale. It belongs to Hugh, whom we met at Rebecca’s Christmas parties. He has lived for 50 years in the square but due to failing health has decided to sell his beloved home in the city. Rebecca is looking out for Hugh and is helping where she can. There had been an open day yesterday and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a look at this cosy quintessentially English property. Rebecca assured us it was okay to visit considering it was dressed for inspection. The little cottage is filled with the story of Hugh’s personality and adventurous life.