More Marvin Gaye, more nearly gentrified London, if West Norwood can be called that.
I took the train from Hampton Wick to Tulse Hill via Wimbledon and strolled down the A215, which is a bit like strolling out from Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter into Smethwick.
I couldn’t get my bearings at all. Where is this place ?, who do people support (Palace ?), is there a mobility scooter shop ? etc. etc.
A run of fried chicken shops was interrupted by the impressive cemetery and St Luke’s, the point at which gentrification officially starts.
Suddenly remembering to eat, I popped in Patty King for some saltfish and ackee and the views.
So what brings me to West Norwood ? Sadly, not Doom Bar at the formerly Courage Horns Tavern.
No, it’s another gastropub.
Well, it would normally be an Antic, but the Great North Wood is just an Enterprise Inn that fulfils the function of an Antic for a deprived community (fear not, there are many more Antics to come).
Plenty of drinkers at 3pm on a Thursday; some of them on laptops, some in Hi-Vis, few on the ales.
I lie, one chap did join me on the By the Horns, after considering it with the sort of suspicion usually reserved for a 11.2% Black Sour. It was very NBSS 3.25, which is fine. Shame about the dimpled mug. Anyone telling me beer tastes best in a dimpled mug will be blocked.
So we had Marvin Gaye’s 1971 classic, we had a complete showing of the Portsmouth v Cardiff 2008 FA Cup Final* ((why ?), and we had the soundtrack of a baby hollering its lungs out and being ignored by its Prosecco-sipping mum. Dads shared conspiratorial looks. I nearly picked it up myself but apparently that sort of intervention is frowned upon in London.
So I set off across the terraces to Streatham.
When I reached the brown Sunbeam, I knew I’d arrived.
*Yes, that really happened.