Vern's Verbal Vibe

Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and purveyor of folk 'n' roll: spirit-filled sad songs made better.

February 10, 2006

Clapham Calling?

Had an amazing London dream last night—or should I say, this morning. My sleep is all messed up again. Anyway, I go into a tube station to purchase a Visitor Travelcard for Zones 1-6. The attendant is a dapper, polite, and very helpful gent, a true service-with-a-smile type. He wishes me a wonderful time in London. I walk away feeling great and hop on the tube. It might be the Central Line; I'm not sure. In any case, this part of the line runs outdoors. It's a brilliant, sky-blue day, and as I take in row upon row of terraces and mansion flats on the surrounding streets, I smile, let out a big sigh, and think, "Oh, yeah. It's so good to be back. I love it here." The train stops at the next station, then pulls out. Right away, a block of smart-looking properties catches my eye. For some reason, I can see street signs as well. Two come into view: Crescent Lane and Crescent Walk.

The dream goes on, but I'll stop there, because here's the fun part: when I awoke, I searched the index of my London street atlas for Crescent Lane. Yep, there's one in SW4. Wonder where that is? I turn to page 150 and am blown away, for just east of Clapham Common sit Crescent Lane and Crescent Grove (I was off by one word), side by side, a block from the tube station. Okay, it's the Northern Line and I don't think this section runs outdoors, but still ...

So, it's off to The New London Property Guide 04/05 to get the scoop on the area and, if possible, the streets themselves: "Past Crescent Lane lies Clapham's premier street, the gated Regency enclave of Crescent Grove. The fine stucco crescent faces a row of grand semi-detached villas with linked coach houses: £1.5 million will buy you villa plus coach house. In the Lane itself, nine flats and four townhouses set round a gated court are sold bar one house (3-bed, £600,000)."

Does my future dream home await me in Crescent Lane or Grove? I don't know, but next time I'm in London, first order of business is to take the Northern Line to Clapham Common and check out, ah, Clapham's premier street.

Here's another mildly cosmic tidbit. When I first bought that street atlas, I thumbed through the index to see if any of the streets I lived on here existed in a parallel universe across the pond. (I tend to do weird stuff like that with maps.) I discovered that Jarvis (my then-current street) and Westbury (my former street) not only existed in London—they met. Whoa! So, on my first visit to the capital, I caught the District Line to Barking, found the intersection, and took pictures. It wasn't the greatest area, but still, the experience tickled me pink and provided the first inkling that London Town and I share some kind of mojo. The dance continues.


Blogger megg said...

Hello, I just came here from Jamie's site. I love your love of London! I got to live there for a year (but not in the nice bit!) and I loved the city - being on the tube is so liberating (unless it's during 6pm rush hour!!) We're going to go up there soonish, so I'll keep my eyes open for you!

8:51 am  
Blogger vern said...

Thanks so much, and thanks for stopping by!

2:12 am  

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