Some observations from Keston Common

During reading week Mr. Transport and I trundled through south London’s suburbs, dreary under the muted light of fat, grey clouds, to Keston Common. Descending the steps towards the ponds, Mr. Transport and I noticed that a sluiceway guiding the River Ravensbourne from its brimming source up at Caeser’s Well, was carving its own slow tributary and puddling at the foot of the steps, as if to protest its containment.

Mr. Transport has lovely knees

At the ponds Mr. Transport noticed some dark silt slipping up onto the sand, as if under the lip of a wave on a minuscule shore. We stayed here a while, straining our eyes to spot fish and listening to two teenagers teetering nearby on the edge of the pond, hopping like excited rabbits from one foot to another, daring each other to jump. The ponds are now local fishing haunts where people can reel in carp and rudd, but up until WWI they were local baths known for their health giving qualities.

the silt

Stopping briefly to buy an ice cream that tasted like feet, we walked towards the prettiest pond, not least because of the presence of several mandarin ducks, of which Mr. Transport said, ‘they are so neatly coloured in.’ To me, they looked like fireworks someone had pressed pause on, neat fronds of orange splaying into a deep, metalic, wine purple chest, and pixelated beige wings.

'perfectly coloured in'

Having muddied my butt from straddling a small bridge whilst trying to film the river flowing out beneath some tree boughs we trod on toward the heathland replete with sprigs of heather and other thorny flora and fauna that are suited to the poor soil. Crossing the car park on the way up to the heath, we saw a grandfather with a ruddy face and trousers matted with mud from the sodden glade, changing out of his welly boots, and enthusiastically — and forgive me for using this word, it is the only appropriate one — bopping to some terrible house music blaring from his daughter’s car. He was a smarter man that us, I thought, kicking my boots to dislodge the dirt and scraping mud off my arse with the car’s ice scraper.

I’ll upload the film later in the week, but here’s a still I’m proud of.



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