This post is thankfully concerned with ordinary day to day life in SW London rather than with the woes of the wider world. Quite apart from Wimbledon Tennis which always creates a vivacious atmosphere in SW19/20 at this time of year for a couple of weeks, there is the fascination of chance meetings with other people. For example yesterday for some reason Vauxhall station was closed - the first time that I can recall the whole station being closed in London's rush hour other than during industrial action in all the time I have been commuting from work by SWTrains or before that British Railways. The trains ran even when in the times of the old British Railways, a huge fire engulfed part of the next station down the line - Clapham Junction - trains simply in the case of the one I was on at least, did not stop at that station although a neighbour on the next following train told me that her journey home took several hours rather than the usual few minutes as her train was rerouted for miles through branch lines and underground railway tracks.
In any event I took the bus from Vauxhall Station to Wimbledon Station. A man also bemused by the closure of Vauxhall train station sat next to me. He was from Australia and hoping to get to the tennis that evening. As the conversation developed I thought that his willingness to talk to a total stranger was a refreshing change from the usual English reticence to converse with people who one meets purely by chance. However such reticence may be more apt in an overcrowded island like GB and certainly in London, than in places where there is more room and where there are fewer people. In any event he told me that when he retires (he looked about 60 years old) his intention would be to live in the country either here in a village or in Australia.
I gathered from him that a major problem in Australia at present is a shortage of drinking water. Most people apparently live around the coast there with the hinterland being far less populated. The Australian climate can be terrific though the heat away from coastal regions can also be over powering. I speculated that the drinking water shortage might be tackled by building more desalination plants and converting sea water into fresh drinking water. Neither of us knew if that was a realistic solution but assumed that there are huge practical or costs difficulties as otherwise that would have been done.
Australian people seem in any event to be much more relaxed about life than many in the UK and what might have been a tedious bus journey home proved in fact to be an interesting experience.