Odyssey Grande floor tiles. #ptclimited #tiling #floortiling #NWLondon
It looks like the suburbs, but then everywhere does. This is the interwar dream of retreat: monochrome gables, mirrored semis, gardens rising in terraces up the hill. The boy can see buses going by from his bedroom window, bound for Golders Green and Brent Cross. Nevertheless, the new place passes the pepper test: never live further than 10 minutes from where you can obtain a fresh red capsicum at 11pm. These days, a takeaway is more likely.
The previous owner clears the garage, and takes the satellite dishes down from the front of the house. A loop of co-ax still coils into the room where a previous tenant lined the walls with pictures of Coptic popes. The man from next door rings on the bell to discuss the area’s fluctuating fortunes, patterns of behaviour related to ethnicity, and the comings and goings of rodents. He lends us a parking permit for event days at Wembley stadium.
You can see the stadium, arch and bowl below, from the short walk to the park where we once met Ken Livingstone. There’s a memorial to the victims of concentration camps, and a new cafe in a former stable: my in-laws discuss the viability of its business model. A disused train line bisects the park, rails on which nothing runs.
The clanking of trains has been replaced by the background roar of the north circular. We turn it on and off with battered double glazing. The parade of shops is brutally truncated by the dual carriageway, the orbital hems in this little corner of London. Beyond lies the reservoir, the garden centre, other postcodes.