Tag Archives: tooting bec

When I’m old and you’re dead

I love my *busband, of course I do. But I found myself thinking the other day, ‘When I’m old and you’re dead I’ll live in Tooting Bec again.’ I sometimes imagine conversations with him when he’s away, but I would never say this to him out loud.

Tooting Bec has this power in my head. I think of it as a magic place. I used to stick stickers on the posters, and believe its streets were paved with tigers, and shiny balloons ,and nomad puppets, not to mention the muffins and the magic number 5. The place felt cluttered with all this magical nonsense, and that meant a lot to me at the time. I still can’t bring myself to write, ‘there is no magic of Tooting Bec.’

I suppose I mythologized the place because it was my home at an important time in my life. I lived in Tootng Bec when I left my parter of 13 years, when I struck out on my own for the very first time. I reinvented myself there,  and found out I was someone I liked. It was hard work and it took tube station magic, home made stickers and a daily blog to do it. But I was happy for a little while with that. Life was even quite exciting. I was the heroine of my Tooting Bec blog adventures.

And now…?

Now I live in Kent, and perhaps I need to reinvent myself again. I can’t really have changed that much from the character who starred in those magical adventures in that ordinary (or extraordinary?) zone 3 London suburb. But I don’t feel I recognise that magic-seeking heroine any more.

Maybe this new blog will help me find her again?

I started my first ever blog years ago, as a way to persuade myself to leave my partner, then I quit that blog and started another to sort my life out when I’d left him. Now here I am, happily living with a busband I love, someone who doesn’t even like blogs, someone who wanted us to leave Tooting Bec…

My last Tooting Bec adventure was the birth of my little boy. He was born at home (he arrived in a rush) delivered by his dad on the landing floor outside our bathroom, with help from the 999 operator – although at one point the phone was dropped on his newborn head. Our little boy was born at 22B, just off the Upper Tooting Road. I could tell you all the magical significance of all that, only I don’t know if I should believe it anymore.

I know I want to.

I left Tooting Bec a week after our baby was born. I started my new life in Kent with my son, my daughter, my busband. There was no more blog-fuelled silliness, and I don’t know why it was, but there was no more magic.

Sometimes I feel lost with these people I care about so much, and I’m starting to suspect I care too little for myself. I realise that I’m no longer a hero with adventures to share, and I now feel very ordinary indeed.

I don’t want to wait until I’m old, and my beloved busband’s dead to find magic again. I want to be a hero now, wherever I am, and whether I write about it or not.

I left Tooting Bec but I have to try to find the magic again. Before I’m old and dead.




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Middle class graffiti

I went to London today to visit my *busband who’s working there at the moment. I used to live in Tooting Bec and London was my home for 14 years. I still miss the buzz of having so much choice in every aspect of life. I miss the shops, the museums, the theatres and cinemas, and music and clubs. Even though I rarely went out (I’m a mum) it felt like there were loads of opportunities for having a good time and just knowing that was a very cheery thought. As well as the restaurants and bars I could hardly ever visit, I discovered there were loads of great takeaways, and off-licences open 24 hours a day! London had plenty to offer the stuck-at-home people too. It is a something-for-everyone kind of place.

We left London because we wanted to buy a house. So now here we are in Kent where we find peace and quiet, no scary crime, a beach, and a 4 bedroomed house with a big garden, all this for less than you’d pay for a central London bedsit over a 24 hour chicken takeaway. 

l still miss London a lot. I miss silly things. Today I noticed all the adverts for books, perfumes, films… It feels as like just walking down a street makes you aware of culture, makes you a part of the zeitgeist. And people in London seem thinner, more interesting, and so much better dressed! How can they afford to spend so much on clothes when they pay so much for housing?

When I lived in London I used to stick home-made stickers on the tube station posters on my way to work each day. I thought about this today when I went up and down tube station escalators with my one year old. He would have loved to see my colourful stickers of bees, monkeys, and whatever else was in my head when I got busy with my daughter’s sticker-making machine.

On the train home to Kent I noticed loads of graffiti by the side of the railway line. It made me smile to think that my paper tube-station stickers were a kind of graffiti too, a safer, tidier, more disposable form of the art. I’d never think of painting on a building with a spray can but I used to love sticking my sticky pictures on those posters beside the escalators. My little stickers were perhaps my middle class graffiti.

So now I live in Kent and there are no tube stations, no escalators,  hardly even any posters. I don’t make my stickers any more.

I miss that too.

I won’t draw on the walls beside the railway line. I’ll accept that living here means I have no voice, less opportunity, and that it means I have no right to rebel.


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