Sitting on a commuter train from London Bridge last autumn on my way to visit family, I was musing about how, sometimes, I find myself coming full circle. It might be a book I am re-reading and find it is set in a place I know well now but which was completely unknown to me originally, or as in this case, a place where I once lived, which was familiar to me on an everyday basis but which I have long left behind.
As we passed through the familiar stations, I was transported back through the years to a younger version of myself, a girl new to London who regularly travelled on this commuter line in another life. A life I rarely even think about now as the present is so all-consuming.
The next day, I was curious to revisit the life I had so many years ago, to bridge the gap between the girl I was then, and the woman I am today. I would never wish to revisit my early twenties, sometimes a painful and disconnected time of life, when family and childhood are left behind and the life you will build for yourself is still in the future, but still it was interesting to be back in the place where I made that transition and reflect on that transient and unsettled time.
|Autumn Trees in Dulwich Village|
I stopped off at Gail’s Bakery, sitting outside in the autumn sunshine and watching the world go by, sipping a cappuccino and eating a delicious fruit scone, amused by the woman telling her daughter regretfully that they didn’t have almond milk, only soya!
Walking back through the village, I passed the newly refurbished Crown and Greyhound pub, once my local and always known as ‘The Dog’. Almost unrecognisable now as the scene of so many informal social gatherings, including my first date with my first husband.