This evening I feel nostalgic, and I remember a time when I was a young teenager, and me and my sister had gone walking in the snow, up from our home in Hammersmith (or maybe the one in Shepherds Bush, I can’t remember exactly, but I think it was Hammersmith), up Kensington High Street to Kensington Gardens, with everything covered in thick snow.
There is a pond in Kensington gardens called The Round Pond, and at that time it had been drained. In the process of draining they found the stone sceptre that had disappeared years ago, from the statue of Queen Victoria that is in the grounds of Kensington Palace.
We walked in the thick snow, to the middle of the pond, which was like a shallow, white, powdery crater. It was very cold, and very quiet, and quite otherworldly, with the snow crunching under our feet, as we went out into the pond bed, in the middle of a transformed Kensington Gardens. We found the wreck of an old, wooden toy boat, quite beautifully made, no mast, but its hull intact, and we took it home with us, like recovered treasure.
We had lots of adventures like that at that time, and the snow turned Hammersmith and West Kensington into a wonderland, where arches acted as portals to other times and worlds, and newly discovered little streets were actually far, far from 1972, or whichever year it was we set out from home that morning.
One time we came home on the train to Hammersmith, and we stepped onto the platform, and without speaking we looked this way and that, at the indicator, and the stairs and the platforms, because we both suddenly saw we had come in to a platform from a direction that was impossible, except by some kind of magic. Except that it was just that we had both, simultaneously, seen things exactly the same way, for us to think that the impossible had happened. We laughed, because the shared liberation from mundane reality, the enchantment, was so synchronous, that for a moment, it had happened.
But especially I remember the time me and my sister linked arms and walked out to the middle of the round pond.