24th January 2017: Day 5 - The Road Never Travelled (Before)
Today I decided go to a London Borough I’d never visited before - Sutton - which is London but not and Surrey but not.
It didn’t start well. I set off from my flat in Central Croydon to get the 407 bus from in front of the library. The bus stand said the buses ran every 10 -12 minutes which is okay except it was around 30 minutes later that the bus shambled its way towards me. The old me would have complained to the driver, while mentally composing a never to be sent letter to the bus company but the new me was too appreciative of the chance to sit down out of the cold. Besides, the day was far too beautiful to moan so I just let it go and sat back to enjoy the ride. I was familiar with the earlier part of the route having walked through Reeves Corner in Croydon a few weeks ago en route to collecting a package from the Post Office depot and there was a part of Purley Way that I had never seen before- It’s still the main road but more residential. As we said goodbye to Croydon Borough and hello to Sutton it became clear that we weren’t in a conventional London Borough. There was green space along the main road and you would be forgiven for thinking we were in the country. We came to Carshalton Village which really is a village; it’s picturesque, has a river and ducks swimming and feeding and the Honeywood Museum. I kind of wish I got off the bus and spent some time there but I didn’t want to risk another half hour wait for a bus so I contented myself with a glimpse as we continued to Sutton Town Centre.
Sutton Town Centre is like any other town centre. Banks, discount stores, café chains etc. But to my surprise, as I walked along, I noticed a park off on some side road. I saw it as the bus was approaching the town centre but didn't realise it was more or less in the town centre. It wasn’t very big and there weren’t many people there, probably because it was so cold, but what set it apart for me was the fountain that sat to one side of the park. And not only was there a fountain, it was working and the water was running through it. If my feet weren’t cold (from waiting for the bus – no don’t moan) I would have thought I was enjoying a spring afternoon but I wasn’t so I left and made my way back to the bus stop- I wasn’t sure how long I would have to wait. As it happened not very long.
As we rode back to Croydon I thought about the journey I had taken, and about how life journeys can be like that; the start is delayed by circumstances beyond your control and you either allow that delay or setback to ruin the rest of the journey or you shrug it off and move forward. By doing that you can appreciate the beauty along the way. Sometimes your focus on the destination means you choose not to stop and take in all that beauty on offer, or the circumstances (in this case my cold feet) mean you can’t stay as long as you’d like, but at least you have those reference points that you can return to when you need to.
The ride back was pretty uneventful, except for the man who smelt of urine in the seat behind me but that’s life isn’t it? Sometimes you just have to live with the smell of someone else’s urine, if only for a little while.
This is probably not the most exciting thing I’ve never done but I’m really glad I did it and expanded my immediate environment just that little bit.