Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Sunny Days at the Local Milkbar

Despite a hideous first week at work, I actually got up on Monday morning in the best mood ever to find itself manifest on a Monday morning. I attribute it to both the sunlit bedroom and the residual well being of Sunday. Yet as I stood on the tube, crushed against my fellow travellers for 40 minutes, as I navigated the heaving tides of Victoria station concourse during peak hour and as I settled myself down in my grey office with a view only of chimney stacks and roof tiles, I felt almost Zen-like in my composure, like I was relaxing after a pleasingly strenuous yoga class. It almost felt like I was a solar charged panel, finally lighting up with the sun and radiating the stored energy. I was so high on the weather I tried to find a park in the concrete jungle of Victoria for lunch and thought I had hit pay dirt when I spotted a strip of green on the street map. Alas I had forgotten we were on the border of Belgravia and my little park was a luscious private garden that was only open for residents, so I left, dejected, to eat lunch al-desko.

Browning Road is a lovely road - it is a quiet heritage listed street, with sections of cobblestones, a pub, a hairdressers and the cutest tiny cottages with narrow flower-filled cottage gardens. There are a lot of children playing on bikes and with dolls, and they are surprisingly enterprising. On our window sill is a tiny seedling from one of the trees in the street, cultivated and then sold by the streets' children. Today they had Nesquik, about five pints of milk, a huge bag of lollipops, a toy milkshake maker and a toy cash register. 25p got you a cup of frothed Nesquik and a lollipop. It was just what I needed after a nightmare journey on the tube and so I stood in the street with three other backpackers, making small talk with the young businessmen and enjoying my cool milk drink. The proprietor of the Browning Road Milk Bar advised me that I would be able to get milkshakes all week, lemonade on Sunday. I have to say that the thought of a milkshake under the tree each day certainly had an appeal.