I work a nine-day fortnight, with every other Friday off. When I came to this arrangement I thought that I would use the free day for chores and writing, and waiting in for people to come and fix things. I do use it for all of those things, but I also use it to get my hair cut, because I have to get Koto the genius hairdresser to cut my hair. I have crap hair: it is not straight or curly, it’s quite thin, and it’s going grey. Only Koto can give me a haircut that doesn’t look awful within a week. So every few free Fridays, I take myself off on the train and go and visit her in Bromley.
I never used to like Bromley. If you lived in Beckenham, Bromley was the place you went to at weekends because it had a slightly better range of shops, and a McDonald’s, and pubs where you wouldn’t bump into your parents’ friends who knew you were fourteen. Tell someone you’re from Bromley, and they look at you sympathetically. The beloved and I had a drink recently with a friend who introduced us to her new-ish boyfriend, who lives in Bromley, and we spent most of the evening commiserating with one another. Bromley isn’t a place, it’s the punchline to a joke.
But, you know what? Bromley’s kind of OK. The high street is mainly pedestrianised, so market stalls have sprung up, and in the sunshine today it looked like somewhere you might want to go and have a look at:
The introduction of PAYG to South Eastern trains didn’t make my journey as easy as it should have done. I forgot to touch in at Herne Hill, so when I got to Bromley South, where there are barriers, I asked the guard if I could buy a paper return ticket to Herne Hill, which would both retrospectively cover the journey I’d just made and allow me to get back again later. Although it wasn’t strictly within the rules, she could see that it was the simplest solution, and fortunately was not of the breed of train guard who lives for being able to charge people a fine for being idiots. So I queued up and bought my return ticket, forgetting that I’d already arranged to go and see my parents after visiting Koto, so I wouldn’t be making the return journey by train. So I queued up and paid for a journey I’d already made, and a journey I was never going to make. These are the ways I fill my time.
I have a hen weekend to go to tomorrow. There will be games. I will post photos next week, if I survive the experience.