I will give you a clue. It is from south London. It is the only steep hill facing directly towards the city and it is the only road where this applies. A small prize will be given for those who can recognise the road.
We went to visit to friends in East Dulwich near the Horniman Museum, which so far as I’m concerned is a gem of educational value unparalleled in south London. My wife worked with one of the friends in the Science Photo Library and they parted company in the mid-90s when the friend left. The friend worked in London and had seen my wife on West Dulwich station and only recognised her vaguely. A second time she saw her and this is extraordinary because my wife seldom visits the station. Still, she had a feeling of recollection but it was not strong enough to cause her to speak. The third time she saw my wife and the feeling was stronger but again she said nothing. However, they both alighted at Victoria station and the friend found herself next to my wife on the down escalator to the Circle line and this time a voice within her said, ‘you really must speak’ and then they recognised each other and have been friends ever since. The point with synchronicity is that it defies all reason.
Our friend’s husband is a local historian and writer and knows the rich history of East Dulwich which was the Hamstead of its day. Luminaries include John Ruskin who actually lived in Herne Hill, Enid Blyton who lived in Lordship Lane, Boris Karloff who lived in Forest Hill Road, Phyllis Pearsall the mapmaker lived in Court Lane, C S Forrester lived in Underhill Road, Anne Shelton the singer lived in court Lane, Alexander Parkes the scientist lived in Park Hall Road and so on.
In the evening I met my friend of 50 years, Greg, in a trendy Chinese restaurant on the Finchley Road. There were seven of us in the party graciously paid for by the host. It is quite a rare experience to meet someone who has known you for 50 years. I remember our first meeting which was when I was working for the Post Office over Christmas as a student. A voice spoke to me through the grill. We discovered that we had things in common.
It is fascinating that these events can be recalled in great detail when I cannot even remember the name of someone I was introduced to yesterday. I realised at the meal how much I value having dialogues with cosmopolitan people who are aware of the world situation. It is easy to be a big fish in a small pond but what if the other inhabitants of the pond do not recognise you or relate to you for who you are. That is the situation which pertains where I live in Somerset. However, the friendship offered is of a different order, homely and traditional if restricted. I know that the whole of life is a compromise so I am not complaining.